Editor-in-Chief graduates, heads into the unknown

Mikayla Finnerty accomplished several goals, including making the Evergreen a home.



After graduation, Mikayla will spend three weeks on the Storytelling in Greece and Bulgaria program.

PUNEET BSANTI, Deputy news editor

When Mikayla Finnerty was elected editor-in-chief in December 2022, her heart dropped. 

To fight her nervous feeling she knew what she had to do: plan the entire semester so that the Daily Evergreen could succeed and survive during her tenure. Now comes the end of her reign and Mikayla can graduate and rest knowing she accomplished several of her goals to help the newspaper thrive. 

Finnerty is graduating May 6 with a Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism. She first became interested in journalism when she joined her high school’s newspaper and worked on the website, social media posts and podcast. 

“I just became really interested in journalism. I’ve always had kind of an interest in blogging and writing,” she said. “They always say you either have a math brain or writing brain, I was definitely a writing brain, so I wanted to kind of utilize those skills.”

Finnerty did Running Start and decided to go to WSU two years ago because of her awarded Regents scholarship and the Daily Evergreen. During her first semester, she was a reporter and later on became the social media manager for the paper. During the fall 2022 semester, she was chosen to be the managing editor.

“When I was a social media editor, I kind of felt on my own and I’ve always had, I wouldn’t say control issues, but I just like having control over the things I surround myself with,” she said. “So becoming managing editor was really nice for me because it wasn’t like I was in charge. It was more like I was helping Sandi [Kobiesa] at the time.” 

Finnerty said toward the end of her tenure as managing editor, many of her colleagues pushed her to run for the editor-in-chief position. When she was elected, she did not expect it. Once she got past her shock, she planned the entire semester out on what she needed to accomplish as editor-in-chief. 

“But it was really just kind of throwing myself into it and relying on myself and knowing that I could accomplish it. Basically, Sandi told me, she was like ‘As long as you don’t let the Evergreen sink into a hole you’ll be fine,’” Finnerty said. 

Through her time as editor-in-chief, Finnerty managed her team during breaking news coverages involving Moscow and Pullman, checked in with her editors during stressful weeks one-on-one and was the mastermind behind the first-ever magazine edition of the Daily Evergreen. 

However, her main goal was to make the newsroom feel like a home. 

“I think that I have achieved that. Every Wednesday, it’s almost like a little party in here and we get through the day. I can kind of see that shift from what it was after COVID with everyone just kind of getting comfortable with other people again,” she said. 

Reianna, who raised Mikayla as a single mother, said she is floored by how much her daughter accomplished in just two years at WSU.

“She’s accomplished so many of her goals that she set for herself early on in high school. So she’s just basically just checking everything off. When she got over to WSU, she got there early because she wanted to make sure she was settled and whatnot. So she got there two months before anyone else did,” Reianna said. “But she just knew what she wanted to do. She went for it. She never strayed away from the path.” 

Aside from the Daily Evergreen, Mikayla is a social media manager for FaVs News, was part of the Religion Reporting Project and Rural Reporting Plunge and does freelance photography 

Reianna said she likes to check in on Mikayla and look at all the work she has done, whether it is in social media, photography or writing. 

“She started doing all of this when I think she was still in eighth grade. She just showed interest in blogging, she had all these great plans and I just was just like, ‘Wow, this girl’s gonna go far.’ I mean, she’s always been so driven in this area,” she said. 

Reianna said she knew Mikayla would go into journalism when she was chosen by the Boys and Girls Clubs to give actor Chris Pratt his lifetime membership award. Finnerty was nervous and had to make a piece of artwork she had to give to the actor. 

“She’s like, ‘I don’t know if I want to do this,’” she said. “And so she went up there and you could not even tell she was nervous. She was talking like a full-on news reporter. She was very articulate and didn’t mess up any of her words. She looked like she was out doing interviews. So that’s when I knew for sure that’s what she was going to do. She’s just a natural at it.” 

Finnerty said she is curious to see what Mikayla does post-graduation because “There’s something up her sleeve, always.” 

Tracy Simmons, a scholarly assistant professor at the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication and editor of FaVs News, said she hired Mikayla for the social media intern position because she was “persistent” and Simmons was impressed.

“I had several students apply and this was last summer and Mikayla had a very high recommendation from professor Rebecca Cooney. She had a pretty impressive resume and she was also very persistent with following up, seeing if I needed any more information about the position and so forth,” she said. 

Simmons said Mikayla would always make suggestions on what to implement so their social media presence improved. 

“So she’s not just posting things, she’s actually being creative about it. She’s brought a lot to us visually, especially on Instagram, which I really appreciate,” she said. 

Simmons said she also noticed that after Mikayla participated in the Religion Reporting Project, she became interested in writing more religion stories. 

“She’s starting to suggest stuff for FaVs like, ‘Hey, this is going on in the Catholic church right now should we post it.’ So I think that’s really cool that she’s starting to identify some of these religion news ideas,” she said. 

As Mikayla concludes her journey with the Evergreen, she feels could not have done her job as editor-in-chief without her team.

“I’m genuinely really proud of my team. I wouldn’t say that it was all me because it was definitely the team that I was with and them understanding and just rolling with the punches and anything that I kind of threw at them,” she said. 

Mikayla said she is the type of person who is very hard on herself when things do not go the way she expected it to. But through this experience, she learned that despite the tough days, it is OK if not everything works out.

“It’s OK to fail sometimes. It’s just a revelation that I’ve been trying to get to. This semester has really helped me get to that point of being okay with things not always working out,” she said.

After graduation, Mikayla will spend three weeks on the Storytelling in Greece and Bulgaria program, where she will experience reporting and doing social media in different countries. After that, she will go home and spend time enjoying her adolescence. 

“I was really the type of person that was like ‘I want to be out of high school. I want to get out of college as soon as I can.’ It’s why I joined Running Start and now that it’s over I kind of want to focus on myself, but there’s a lot of things that I see myself doing,” she said. “Who knows where I’ll end up?”