Looking Back on Leadership: Gage Miskimen

Gage Miskimen served as the 2018-19 editor-in-chief of The Daily Iowan, an award-winning newspaper. Miskimen is from Marion, Iowa and graduated this spring with degrees in journalism and mass communications and cinematic arts.

What do you love the most about Iowa?

It might be a little biased, so I’m just going to say I love The Daily Iowan most. That’s been my place, that’s been my community. That’s been where I’ve devoted probably 95% of my time on campus. But also I’ll just miss the campus as well. I think the UI has one of the best looking campuses that I ever visited. And [to] be able to go chill on the Pentacrest or go walk the Iowa river, I’m going to miss those moments too.

Can you talk about your post-graduation plans so far?

Yea, well nothing’s solidified yet. I do know that I will be at a newspaper in Iowa, that’s what I wanna do. Initially, I wanted to work in Washington D.C., but I kind of changed my mind after the Iowa newspaper awards this year. I won first place, best news story and I realized Washington D.C.’s covered. There are enough reporters in Washington D.C., Washington D.C.’s not going anywhere. What needs to happen is we need young journalists to stay in the state and cover the stories that need to be told. So that’s what I wanna do, I wanna be in Iowa for a few more years.

How has being editor-in-chief of The DI prepared you to go into a professional role?

Obviously in some ways what we do at The DI is different than what professional newsrooms do but at the end of the day, it’s kind of the same. We’re all working together as students, we don’t have an advisor telling us what to do. We’re making these editorial decisions on our own and living with the consequences. I’ve learned to work with a variety of different people, and learned how to report and source and throw together good journalism. All these things you get from The DI are relevant to what we’re all going to be doing in the professional world with journalism.

How has your overall experience at Iowa shaped your future?

I think [in] a lot of those journalism and cinematic arts classes you learn perspectives. Which means people are bringing all these different thoughts to the table and hearing different ideas that you may not have thought of initially. I think that holds true for a lot of different college majors and why we come here is to really just [to] hear people and be involved in conversations about bigger ideas. I think what it comes down to is just being able to talk to people who are different from you and come from different places than you. I think that’s the most important thing that you get out of the college experience. You grow as a person.

Do you have a favorite memory here?

Definitely the night that I found out I was going to be the editor-in-chief of The DI next year. That was just a big moment for me. Realizing that I had completed this goal that I’d had since I was an underclassman. Having that come true, and being able to look at the plaque of all the other former editors and knowing that my name would go on that next spot. That was definitely my favorite moment.

And what will you miss most with your current role at The DI?

I’ll definitely miss the people in the newsroom. I’ve made some of my best friends while working at The DI and not having that opportunity to come in the newsroom every day and see them and say ‘what’s up, how’s it going’ and work together. That's gonna be a really hard thing to leave behind.

Any advice for rising seniors?

Definitely don’t be so hard on yourself, enjoy the moment. Be here and work hard, go to classes, be involved in a bunch of student organizations. But honestly, just take a moment and enjoy that too because we’ll all be working probably for the rest of our lives. So take a breather and as cheesy as it is, smell the roses. Just enjoy being on campus, enjoy being a college student as hard as it is sometimes.

Is there anything that you would like to accomplish in the future?

Personally, I hope to do what I’ve already done here, and that’s to work my way up in a newsroom. I’d like to see a lot of different newsrooms in my career and have different responsibilities and roles in each of those. I’d like to be a leader in a huge newsroom, Washington Post or New York Times, or something like that that would be great. It’s fun to be at the bottom again and have that journey and that experience to be like, ‘oh okay, now we’re back in a challenging thing, we’re going to do this again and climb our way back to the top.' So that’s probably what I’m looking forward to the most and what I’m hoping to accomplish.