Cole Pressler: Editor-in-chief
June 10, 2021
Although his time as editor-in-chief was reduced to an online environment, Cole Pressler will forever look back fondly at his time at Lincoln and on The Cardinal Times.
Pressler was always interested in journalism and communication. In elementary and middle school, he dreamed of becoming a broadcaster when he grew up. When he entered high school, his dad, a former sports journalist, encouraged him to join The Cardinal Times. After his first year, Pressler felt a personal responsibility to create a better paper for Lincoln and to see the paper through to his senior year, he said.
He began in the Intro to Mass Communications class his freshman year and quickly went up in rank after transitioning into the Advanced Mass Communications class sophomore year, when he served as the sports editor. Junior year, Pressler became digital editor for the paper, and was chosen as the editor-in-chief his senior year.
“[I didn’t really have a favorite position,] I enjoyed all of it,” he said. “It was really fun being the digital editor, just working on the website and expanding the digital side of the paper, because I got to develop skills that I didn’t previously really associate with journalism. And, of course, I have also greatly enjoyed being editor-in-chief.”
However, being editor-in-chief did not go as expected. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Cardinal Times was not able to create hard copies of the paper. Although it was a rough transition at the beginning, Pressler believes that the staff did a good job conquering the challenge.
“This year’s staff really stepped up. They did a great job taking over their roles with very little to no prior experience,” he said. “It was obviously a very, very hard thing to adapt to because so much of our previous work had to do with focusing on the print issue. [This year] we mostly focused on engagement. I think consistency [with posting on the website and on social media] was the key to transitioning to online.”
In reflecting on his time on the paper, Pressler believes that he has become a better leader, communicator and problem solver.
“I think journalism teaches you a lot of responsibilities, especially The Cardinal Times. We do a really good job with that as a student publication,” he said.
Being on the paper also gave him the opportunity to develop new connections.
“I really just loved the community of The Cardinal Times,” Pressler said. “It took a bit of a hit when we went online, because it was really fun just being with everybody and laughing and getting each other’s advice, but, regardless, I think it was just a great environment to work in. I’ve gotten a lot closer with the people on the paper and strengthened friendships that I previously had.”
His most memorable experience in his time on the staff was attending the JEA/NSPA 2019 National High School Journalism Convention in Anaheim, Calif..
“Having the opportunity to attend [conventions] was something that made the class unique,” Pressler said. “It’s just a really great class to develop life skills that will actually be useful outside of class because, like, not everybody is going to use calculus or literary analysis in their life, but everybody needs interview and critical thinking skills. The things you learn in journalism are very real life skills you can translate to almost every profession and every interaction.”
Pressler is far from done with journalism. In the fall, he plans to attend California Polytechnic State University, where he will major in journalism.
“I’ve known for quite a while that I just want to keep writing. Journalism is a really interesting profession and something that I want to pursue in the future, partially because of The Cardinal Times, partially just because I love reading news and absorbing media,” he said. “I just couldn’t really see myself not doing it.”
Pressler has advice for current and future Cardinal Times staff members:
“Recognize the impact of this publication. A lot of people may not notice when we do our job right, but that doesn’t mean it’s not something we shouldn’t still do,” he said. “Working for a newspaper is challenging, but if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. Journalism is something that can really help you in life, and it’s something that you should stick with regardless of the difficulties.”