Wester, a history major from Charlotte, said her love for the paper and her desire to continue working with the DTH motivated her to run. She began writing for the university desk at the DTH her first year and has since served as its assistant editor and current editor.
“I wanted to see what (the DTH) could do next year because I think it just has infinite potential,” she said. “And I was really excited to get to keep working and hopefully do a good job leading all of these people I love.”
Eric Johnson, a former editor who now works in the University’s Scholarships and Student Aid office, served as a member of the selection committee. He said he was looking for a candidate with a clear understanding of the paper’s values as an independent publication at a public university.
“(I wanted) someone who can bring that sense of dialogue and the ability to be an independent voice, as opposed to part of the university’s overall administrative apparatus — and Jane had a lot of experience, which I think was comforting to a lot of people on the committee,” he said.
The election is open to any student wanting to run, regardless of experience, and candidates are evaluated on the quality of their writing, their performance during a committee interview and the content of their written platform.
For Wester, that platform included promoting diversity at the paper and ensuring everyone feels their voice is heard.
“I’m really hoping to improve our engagement and make sure that we’re reaching out to the community and in dialogue with the community,” she said.
Tyson Leonhardt, a student at UNC’s law school and another at large student member, said he liked Wester’s desire to connect to new audiences, particularly on digital platforms.
“I was looking for the candidate who most understood how students are getting their news now — I feel like so much of it is online and in the digital realm — and I felt like Jane really understood that,” he said.
Wester said she has a lot on her plate before the semester ends.
“I need to hire a team and write three research papers in the next three weeks, which is going to be crazy — but, no, I’m really excited.”