So Long, Sam: Northrup Leaves Big Shoes to Fill at The Tangerine

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Kyle Riecker (left) and Sam Northrup (right) during the 2019 Raymond Simon Institute awards ceremony. After two years, Northrup will be "retiring" as editor-in-chief of The Tangerine. Source: Raymond Simon Institute

Kyle Riecker, Guest Contributor

Samuel Northrup will graduate with a B.S. in sports journalism from Utica College and vacate The Tangerine’s editor-in-chief position.

His two-year beat as editor-in-chief has not been slow or easy. Northrup led the paper when it covered major events like the March 2018 lockdown that put him and his staff in the national spotlight. The Tangerine covered sensitive campus issues such as racism and allegations of assault.  

During his time at the paper, Northrup earned a reputation as a tenacious reporter. He covered a gamut of topics, from football statistics to white-tailed deer hunting to the progress and funding of the construction management building and everything in between.

Kim Landon, professor emeritus of journalism, said that when Northrup “question-bombed the carefully orchestrated press conference with Senator [Chuck] Schumer and the construction management department,” she knew he was on his way to being a great journalist.

“I loved that he went for the real news that day instead of the manufactured news,” Landon said.

Not every lead Northrup chased came to fruition — and as a Bills fan, he has learned to be extremely patient when waiting for a big score.

When those scores happened though, Northrup’s work caused ripples and sometimes even ripped up newspapers.

His hard-hitting style of journalism boosted readership and maintained The Tangerine’s credibility while failed attempts to censor the paper only reinforced his legacy as editor-in-chief.

In addition to writing and editing, Northrup has a natural eye for design. He’s had a hand in plotting every issue’s layout and often obsessed over details such as whether a line was completely straight or if an image was centered just right.  

He could probably design The Tangerine himself if need be, but seems to have dodged that bullet due to the Postal Service-like reliability of his layout designers.

As for Northrup’s plans for the future, he’s looking forward to a few relaxing weeks over the summer before he dives into the “working world.”  After graduation, he plans on relocating to Massachusetts, where he secured a job at a marketing firm led by an alum of UC’s journalism program.

“Sam is one of the most thorough, thoughtful students I’ve had in my time here at Utica College,” said Brett Orzechowski, assistant professor of journalism and management. “He challenged the thinking of his peers in a respectful manner but was also humble enough to see challenges to his thinking. Sam was always one of the first students to pick up the slack on group projects where holes existed and never shied away from presenting creative ideas when asked. Simply put, he got the job done.”

Northrup isn’t all business, though. Besides his love of sports, he’s a low-key “Deadhead,” having spent many Wednesday nights in the newsroom typing away to Jerry Garcia’s crooning guitar licks.  He’s an avid Star Wars fan and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the films. He can always be counted on for a meaningful conversation on any topic. As he listens, a sly smile spreads across his face which marks an intelligent counterpoint to come. His sense of humor and manner of constructive criticism puts his staff and those around him at ease.

And unlike some previous editors-in-chief– Northrup loves Utica’s signature tomato pie. Mary Christopher, who is the Tangerine’s faculty adviser, is known to drop off a pie or two to the newsroom as a reward for the extra effort it takes to make The Tangerine shine.

According to Christopher, Northrup is one of four people in the 73-year history of the paper who was editor-in-chief for two years in a row. For those counting at home, that’s 48 issues without missing a single week.  

“He has the work ethic of a true journalist and holds his peers to a high standard,” Christopher said. “He can be no-nonsense, but helps the staff whenever needed. Sam’s writing is excellent and so is his editorial judgement. During his two years as editor-in-chief, he truly cared about making The Tangerine a reliable and legitimate source for campus news. Serving the audience is always on his mind.”

Sam, you are a credit to the profession of journalism. I’m grateful to have watched you grow as a writer and editor. I respect that you have the guts to publish the news, however unpopular it may be.  Maybe now is the proper time for me to try to guilt you into staying on for a third year, as you successfully did to me this year. In all seriousness though, the paper isn’t going to be the same without you and you have set the bar incredibly high for your successor. I know that you will pass on your professionalism and grit to the next in line.  Best of luck with your future ventures, and I hope to run into you at SPAC for Dead and Company come June. Enjoy your Wednesday nights while they last, and fare thee well my friend.


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