Letters from the editors

Gabby Leitner & Kevin Kirkpatrick, Former Executive Editors

Former executive editors of the NI share some of their experiences while in the office


Former Executive Editor ’18

The Northern Iowan played a critical role in helping me find community at UNI. My best, most fond memories all took place in the NI office, at events, or at lunches with Michele Smith, our business manager at the time. I made so many great friends and connections during those four years.

Whether I was taking photos, laying out pages, or managing staff, it rarely felt like actual work. And while I’m not directly working in the journalism field, my love of working within a college setting broadly inspired me to pursue a master’s in student affairs.

I started as the Art Director in 2018 and served as the executive editor during the 2019-2020 school year.

Additionally, working in student journalism helped me develop so many transferable skills that I don’t think I would have had I not worked at the NI.



Former Executive Editor ’07

Being involved in student journalism helped me get valuable experience and helped open professional opportunities for me as I pursued a career in communications.

The stories I wrote for the NI gave me clips that I could share with hiring managers during internship and job interviews.

Talking with UNI leaders and students for stories helped me develop soft skills needed to succeed in job interviews.

The experiences I had managing, collaborating, and delegating tasks to other students as Executive Editor gave me real world examples to share during job interviews.

The NI will always have a special place in my heart. It’s where I got my start as a journalist and I don’t know if I’d be where I am today without the valuable skills I learned at the NI.

I was on the NI staff from 2005-2008. I started as a sports writer, then served as Executive Editor in 2007 and 2008.

Today, I’m the senior public relations specialist for UnityPoint Health corporate in West Des Moines, Iowa.