Memet Walker is running for Editor-in-chief of The Daily Tar Heel for the 2013-14 school year.
Also running are Nicole Comparato and Chelsey Dulaney.
Memet Walker is neither the typical UNC student nor the typical candidate for editor-in-chief of The Daily Tar Heel.
“I’m a 26-year-old junior, which either makes me really wise or the alternative — which is pretty scary,” he said.
Before coming to UNC, Walker, now a political science major, served in the U.S. Air Force for four years.
But he always knew he wanted to work for The Daily Tar Heel, which he grew up reading in his native Chapel Hill.
“When I was 10 and other kids were playing with footballs, my favorite toy was a typewriter, and those are really hard to throw,” he said.
Walker was a reporter for the State & National Desk last year, and he now writes a satirical column covering topics such as religion and politics.
“You have to have really thick skin, because everyone tells you every week how much you personally suck,” he said.
Walker said his background would give him a fresh perspective on managing the paper.
His main goal is increasing coverage of campus and student life, he said.
“I want more human stories, less about taxes and budgets and committee hearings, and more about kids on this campus.”
Walker said he wants to diversify the paper’s staff.
“If we want different stories, we need people from different walks of life,” he said. “I want a newsroom that looks like the campus.”
The newspaper also needs to capture the pulse of the community, he said.
“I know all these businesses when they close — they were places I worked or my friends worked,” he said. “I know the weirdos in Carrboro like the back of my hand. This place is really a part of who I am.”
Walker said he would create a social media team to increase transparency.
“I want to interact with readers and let them into what we’re doing,” he said. “When we make mistakes and we have a dialogue, things like that are more easily forgiven.”
Charlene Burrows, who served with Walker in the Air Force, said he is a charismatic leader who is a great mentor.
“If he’s working with people younger than him, I could see his personality coming out,” she said.
Managing Editor Elise Young said Walker’s confidence would make him a great leader.
“It’s clear that he would have a lot of opinions to add to the paper if he became editor-in-chief,” she said.
Walker said he will continue to write for the newspaper even if he isn’t selected.
“But maybe some people like the idea that if I become editor, I won’t have a column anymore, so I can offer that.”
Contact the desk editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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