Maryland Media Inc., The Diamondback’s parent company, named current deputy managing editor Ryan Romano as the newspaper’s editor in chief for the 2018-19 academic year on Thursday.
Romano, a junior journalism major, joined The Diamondback as a copy editor in January 2016, during his freshman year. He became deputy managing editor in April 2017, after working as an assistant online managing editor and opinion columnist.
“I like stuff we publish,” Romano said. “I like the way we write, the way we report. I want us to keep doing that. I want us to not lose a step or anything. I want to make sure everyone around here, everyone who has an interest in what we’re reading, can see it.”
Romano said his experience editing content from multiple desks — diversions, opinion, news and sports — as well as working on the engagement desk helps him better understand The Diamondback’s audience.
Since Romano joined the engagement desk in January 2017, the paper’s email newsletter and Facebook strategy were “revamped” to try and expand its reach — a priority for the junior.
Romano initially planned to graduate in three years, but decided against it over winter break.
“The more I worked with The Diamondback,” Romano said, “the more I learned about it, the more involved I got, I was like, ‘You know what? I don’t really want to leave this place. I want to stick around a little bit.'”
Romano said The Diamondback is his primary focus for now, but he would like to work at a copy desk “out in the real world” eventually.
Current editor in chief and senior journalism major Mina Haq said Romano is uniquely prepared to serve as editor in chief because of the many positions he has held at The Diamondback.
“He has this kind of rare ability to make difficult judgment calls while also having a pretty set-in-stone vision for where The Diamondback should go because of his experience on the engagement desk,” Haq said.
Haq said she was also impressed by Romano’s ability to bring out the best in others. If The Diamondback looks different under his leadership, it will only be a good thing, she said.
MMI Board President Tom Madigan said Romano’s ability to see news in a larger context made him a good fit for editor in chief.
“I like that he’s thinking big picture,” Madigan said, “I like that he’s thinking in broad terms about these things that are not only local stories, campus stories but they echo so many things happening in the country at large right now.”
Madigan also said Romano’s experience with statistics will be an asset as the independent student-run newspaper’s use of data analytics continues to evolve.
Maxwell Breene was appointed as The Mitzpeh’s editor in chief and Kelly Zheng was appointed as the Terrapin Yearbook’s editor in chief, Madigan said. The board also appointed Charles Boulton, Rachel Pollitt and Seth Gleaner to student-at-large seats, he said.
CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story misspelled Kelly Zheng’s name. It has been updated.