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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

Episode 149: An In The Know farewell with Maddie Roth and Alex Steil

Producer Kaylie Sirovy sat with The Daily’s Editor-in-Chief, Alex Steil, and Managing Editor, Maddie Roth, to discuss the past year and what they hope for the incoming Daily leadership.

KAYLIE SIROVY: You’re the oldest aren’t you? Yeah.

ALEX STEIL: If you couldn’t tell by everything about me.

SIROVY: You do give older sibling vibes. Okay.

STEIL: As long as I’m not being told that I’m the youngest. I’m okay with that.

SIROVY: What’s wrong with being the youngest, Alex? 

STEIL: Because if you have the vibe of a youngest, you know what that’s supposed to mean.

SIROVY: I was an amazing younger, younger sibling. 

STEIL: Yeah, because I had to ask if you were a youngest. Like, you don’t act like you’re a youngest child. 

MADDIE ROTH: Oh, does that mean that I act like I’m the youngest? 

STEIL: No. 

ROTH: Okay phew.

STEIL:  But like, you know when you can tell when someone’s a, someone’s a youngest?

SIROVY: When they just act kind of spoiled?

STEIL: Yeah. 

SIROVY: Okay, yeah. I do know what you mean about that. 

STEIL: That’s when it’s like.

SIROVY: Yeah. 

STEIL: Ugh. 

SIROVY: I knew I was spoiled, but I never acted like that. I never tried, I never tried to. Okay, I was the only daughter, the only granddaughter, the only girl grandchild.

ROTH: Me too.

SIROVY: So I got a lot of stuff. But I was picked on by Alex and sometimes my cousins and sometimes Tyler. 

ROTH: Is your brother’s name?

STEIL: I forgot about that.

ROTH: There’s too many Alex’s. They need to get — yeah.

SIROVY: I know too many Alex’s, it’s crazy. There’s like four different Alex’s in my phone. And then I have Alexis on there, and so when I type in Alex.

STEIL: Yeah, I listen to Vivaldi on the way here. 

SIROVY: That’s so funny.

ROTH: I listen to Thot S–t by Megan Thee Stallion. 

SIROVY: I listen to Hozier. 

STEIL: Three different vibes. Two more and we’ve got a full food pyramid. 

SIROVY: Hey everybody, it’s Kaylie Sirovy from the Minnesota Daily and you’re listening to In the Know, the podcast dedicated to the University of Minnesota. With me in the studio today are my current bosses, the editor-in-chief, Alex, and managing editor, Maddie. Thank you for being with me today. 

STEIL: Thanks for having us. 

ROTH: Yeah, thanks. 

SIROVY: We are just going to be talking about their past year as my boss, as these big bosses of The Daily. First question, what has been the most rewarding aspect of your time here?

STEIL: How do you even choose? Like, there have been so many good things that have come out of this that like choosing a specific one is tough cause it’s like, one of the big things for me was like we now have a community it feels like at The Daily, like, people actually know each other they care about each other. 

My first year I remember there was a quote kind of like at an “end of year review” and someone said, not being in the office, not knowing your coworkers feels like you don’t actually know anyone, you’re just working in a vacuum, and it doesn’t feel like that anymore. And that’s been one of the things, honestly, I’m the most proud of us doing.

Because The Daily is actually a community. It’s like actually a place where people want to be. But, externally, in terms of like actual news production and like what we’re actually providing in terms of a service for the university community, I feel like we’ve just stepped up the quality of our news. And I don’t even know how to kind of elaborate on that, but it just feels like there’s a bigger variety of what we’re actually trying to promote instead of just, “oh, we want all these light, fluffy pieces,” or “we just want these hard hitting pieces,” or “we want just human explainer pieces.” 

We’re varying it up and we’re kind of prioritizing different types of news, different types of journalism. Whenever I tell people on campus that I work at The Daily, they’re always like, “oh yeah, this year’s been really good. Like, I can tell a difference in what we’re, in what you are doing differently.” Again, you being The Daily, and I think that’s been one of the, probably the most rewarding thing for me. 

ROTH: I think to add on to that, it’s been really cool to see people like, start in the summer, and have them maybe not be as strong and I mean that in the nicest way, but then working with them, the staff that we’ve had and just seeing the exponential growth that people have had.

And I mean, if we look back, like, even for you, Kaylie, like looking back on the summer and seeing where you are now, it’s just been the most incredible thing to watch these people grow into really strong journalists, and it’s just been an honor to be able to watch them and help them and be there for them.

SIROVY: Yeah, I had no idea what I was doing when I started.

ROTH: And now you’re an icon. 

SIROVY: Thank you. 

STEIL: Wasn’t it two podcasts that you had under your belt before you got this job? 

SIROVY: Yeah, it was two. 

STEIL: Or offered the job? 

SIROVY: It was two. 

STEIL:  Yeah. 

SIROVY: Yep, one I did, Alberto helped me with a lot of the first one, and then the second one was mostly me. That was fun. Shout out to Alberto. I miss him. 

STEIL: I remember it was the EIC application night and I think either I was waiting to present or waiting to hear the result and we were sitting at, in the front of the office right around that circle table and Alberto walks in. I’m like, what the heck are you doing here? It’s like 9:30 on a Thursday night. He’s like, “oh, Kaylie and I are gonna go record our podcast.” And it was your first one.

SIROVY: Yeah, that’s the only time that he had. That he could cause he was busy. He was a senior. He was a busy man. And so yeah, we were in here at like 9 o’clock at night. 

STEIL: Yep. Yep.

SIROVY: He was great though.

STEIL: I miss him. 

SIROVY: I miss him, too. What do you think are your, some of your best pieces that we’ve put out? 

ROTH: Like our favorite from our staff? 

SIROVY: Yeah. 

ROTH: That’s tough. 

SIROVY: Some, you can just name a few. 

ROTH: I think, I’ll start, I think my favorite is, has been the investigative pieces, just because Alex and I were very blessed to have two very strong reporters work with us. And like, we started this together and it was like crazy and we didn’t know if it was gonna work and we had so many conversations about it and we just got very lucky. They like, there are so many times we’ve talked to them and been like we don’t really know what we’re doing, but just bear with us and then they’ve had to put up with mom and dad so many times. 

But they’ve been incredible and they’ve done some pretty tough stuff and gotten to, like, and turned them into crazy things. Like, I think Hannah and Alex’s double byline with the gun safety on campus, that was crazy. That was really good. And so, I think for me, those pieces in general, I don’t think I can pick a favorite because everybody is crazy talented here. But I think those have been really great to see come to life.

SIROVY: Mm hmm. 

STEIL: I am going to pick a few favorites, but I think the point about having an investigative desk is that it feels like it’s actually made the culture of our newsroom want to do these bigger pieces. Because last year a lot of the things that we were doing were just 700 word stories, publish it, it’s a news story, that’s it. But this year now that we have an investigative desk where people want to look into an issue or feature a person, write a longer story. We’ve had just, again, kind of a bigger variety of what we’re putting out. 

So the reaction piece, quote unquote, to the shooting threat, with Alex Lassiter and Hannah Ward was phenomenal. I mean, we, there was a quote, and I think this is a reason that I liked it so much is, we got a play by play of what the university president was doing the day that this was going on. And that’s, I mean, what journalism is supposed to be, is like, understanding what your leaders are doing. It’s supposed to be understanding the world around you, and I thought that was a really good example of that. 

We wrote a piece about a family who lost a daughter to suicide on a bridge on campus. And this wasn’t an investigative piece, but two reporters, I sent the editor the story idea and said, “this is a tough ask, it’s going to be a big story, it’s your desk, you have the people that can handle it,” and they knocked it out of the park. I think, hands down, it was one of the, it was, it was the best story we wrote this year, or put out this year, and no offense to podcast, but I thought that by far was the best piece. 

 I’m still pretty proud that we beat the Star Tribune and breaking the news of who the university president was. That was pretty cool. And that’s just stuff from this semester. Like, I thought Grace Henrie’s, the two pieces she did about Identity, last year were really good, about the Israel-Palestine, a week or two after the whole conflict started and kind of what students on campus were thinking, I thought that was fantastic. Over the summer, Henry Hagen did a fantastic piece on the tuition decline. Excuse me, the enrollment decline and the tuition increase and kind of what that meant for the university. And our former city editor did a great breaking news piece on the conclusion of the Department of Justice’s investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department. And that was kind of our first real attempt at a breaking news story this year. And I think we knocked that one out of the park too. And those are just, what’s coming to mind. That doesn’t mean that was everything good because I mean, some of the sports feature sports features that we’ve done this year about Al Nolen from our sports editor, McKenna Wucherer I think from Alex Karwowski, and I’m forgetting the player’s name, but Eitan did a great feature piece on a hockey player. And I can’t, I can’t remember the name. 

ROTH: He did a piece with hockey players exploring their faith and he went through a lot to get that piece done. 

STEIL: That one too.

 ROTH: And it was incredible. Is that the one you’re talking about? 

STEIL: No, but Eitan’s great. So there’s actually two. And I mean, there’s just so many to choose from that I think kind of really the point that Maddie was saying was that we just have a great staff this year. Where, sure we can pick our favorite pieces, but everything was really good this year. Again, I feel like the quality of what we’ve been doing has just been raised. 

ROTH: And I think we are just so proud. Like, we feel the same in this sentiment in terms of like, we’re just so proud of everybody because it’s, it’s not really us. Like we’re behind the scenes doing some of these little things, but it’s everybody else that is doing this and we’re just kind of there to make sure things don’t fall apart. 

SIROVY: Yeah, I’m very proud of my desk this year. Oh my gosh, let’s talk about Atlanta. Okay, so for those who don’t know we went the editors that’s, how many of us were there? 

ROTH: 12? 

SIROVY: 12? 

STEIL: I can’t remember 

ROTH: 11? 

SIROVY: Somewhere around there.

STEIL: You, me, Liv, Henry, Devlin, Kaylie, Cole, Spencer.

ROTH: Noah. 

STEIL: Amirah. Noah. I’m visualizing our hiring tracker on our head and Theo. Yeah, and Charlie. So it’s 12 people.

SIROVY: Yeah, it was a conference I believe was the name of it and we all went to Atlanta and we got to meet a whole bunch of other reporters from other universities and we spent a whole week there over, it was over Halloween too, and we went to the Georgia Aquarium, we went to Waffle House.

STEIL: Twice.

SIROVY: Multiple times, yeah. We went to the Coca Cola Museum, even though we were there for work, it was still a grand old time. 

ROTH: Maddie got to meet George. 

SIROVY: George was, is a whale shark, but I don’t think that’s his actual name. 

ROTH: And the love of my life. People can say that his name isn’t George, but I swear to God his name is George. 

SIROVY: On the little sign, it did not say George.

ROTH: Yeah, I’m wondering if I was like, when I was a kid, if like they had a different whale shark and his name was George because I swear, like this is, his name was George. 

SIROVY: It was still really fun.

ROTH: Yeah, I cried. 

STEIL: It was pretty cool.

SIROVY: What was your guys’ favorite memories of that trip? 

ROTH: George.

SIROVY: I could of guessed, I could of guessed.

ROTH: Literally George. But I can, okay, I can talk about another one that, um, wasn’t George because I think everybody knows if they read the newsletters, how excited I was to meet George. And that literally was the best moment of my life. I just remember looking back at Alex and like crying because he knew how important it was. And yeah, that was a, that was a moment, but my second favorite one was Alex’s yellow suit because that was just the most iconic thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

SIROVY: And not too many people got it. I’m sorry to say, but.

STEIL: Yeah, because the so, just to give a little more context, I wore a yellow suit at a journalism conference with a press badge that said yellow press. And for anyone that’s listening that doesn’t know, yellow press/yellow journalism is just liars that pretend to be news. And I figured, I’m at a journalism convention. It’s the only place that people will understand that joke. But yeah, more people thought I was Curious George, like the man in the yellow hat, rather than an actual journalist, or yellow journalist.

SIROVY: I would love to have been Curious George. 

STEIL: Okay, next Halloween I’ll buy another yellow suit. I already gave it away to Goodwill. 

SIROVY: No, you need the, the, then you need his little hat. 

STEIL: I can find one of those. If I can find a yellow suit on Amazon for 20 bucks. 

SIROVY: That’s fair. 

STEIL: A yellow hat is not going to be. 

ROTH: You gave the suit away?

STEIL: When am I ever going to need a yellow suit again? 

ROTH: Oh, that’s disappointing. 

SIROVY: You gave the suit away? 

STEIL: Yeah, someone in Minnetonka Goodwill is going to be going crazy with a yellow suit. 

SIROVY: I bet it’s still there. 

STEIL: Honestly. I wouldn’t blame him. I would not buy that. 

SIROVY: My favorite probably was the aquarium or bowling.

STEIL: That was a good night. 

SIROVY: I had a great old time at bowling. 

STEIL: And we were treated to such good food too. 

SIROVY: Yeah, on The Daily. 

STEIL: It was awesome. 

SIROVY: Shout out to Charlie. 

STEIL: Thank you, Mr. Weaver. 

SIROVY: Thank you, Mr. Weaver. 

ROTH: What was your favorite memory? 

STEIL: Atlanta was a time. That was.

ROTH: It really was.

SIROVY: A lot happened.

STEIL: That was a big week. 

SIROVY: I missed a lot of school.

SIROVY: Okay, what was a really funny moment then? 

STEIL: Probably when we were hanging out in the lobby. Charlie, Cole, and me hadn’t slept. We were going on day two of an all nighter and we were waiting to get into this hotel room and we got there maybe at noon. We were waiting for everyone else to show up. They get there, a good number of people. I think there were still three coming later that night. And we’re all sitting just in this lobby. 

I get with two couches and a table, everyone is crowded around. People are sitting on the floor in between the legs of other people. We’ve been there now for three, four hours. Charlie, Cole, and I are just zonked. I mean, we are, Charlie is falling asleep in the chair. Cole is just, it looks like he’s high, just like zoning out. And somehow I’m not. 

But, everyone’s just like, “oh, we want to go to our hotel room.” And I go to the hotel desk. And I’m like, what’s up with these three rooms? Like, you’re getting ready for a conference. They were supposed to be ready three hours ago. “Oh, yeah, they were ready when you got here.” So then I went to the group and I’m like, “hey, we can go up.”

SIROVY: I didn’t know that. 

STEIL: And Charlie was like, when were they ready? Like, when we got here? 

SIROVY: Who went up to the desk first? 

STEIL: Charlie. Well, it was all three of us. Cole, Charlie, me, when we got there. But that was probably one of the funniest memories, just because everyone was already so tired from travel. That we were just so ready to sit in a bed. And also probably just any of the nights after we had finished the conference. 

And, most of the time it was all of us just in a room hanging out. Any other parts where we were just hanging out as a group, as it like, as a unit of people that just liked being around each other. I thought that was really nice. That was such a long answer. 

SIROVY: You can have as long as answers as you like. Alright, what was the hardest part about this job? Hands down, what was the hardest part? 

STEIL: Managing people. 

ROTH: Yeah. 

SIROVY: Yeah.

STEIL: I knew it was gonna be a part of it. Don’t get me wrong, like I certainly understood that being in charge of a 65 person newsroom. 65 give or take depending on where we’re at in the semester. I knew that managing people was going to be a challenge. But there were so many curveballs this year. Oh my goodness. We’ll just leave it there. But yeah. There’s going to be, at a Daily reunion 20 years from now? 

SIROVY: I’m excited. 

STEIL: Tea is gonna be spilled.

ROTH: I don’t know if people realize how many late night car rides Alex and I went on just to like — .

STEIL: At least three.

ROTH: More than three.

SIROVY: Bare minimum three. 

ROTH: Just to like vent and it wasn’t even like it was never against anybody because like people are human and s–t happens, but we are the only people in these positions that know what this is about. And so like, I can’t go talk to Theo about it because that would be against like our policy. And so it’s like, I have to sit here with him and be like, “oh, this is so frustrating. This is so hard.” 

I think that was, there was just a lot of frustration with certain things and that was just always hard to get through. But I think what I’m very grateful for is having him, because he’s the only person, I said this like a year ago, I’ll say it again, he’s the only person I could have done this job with. And I love him deeply for it. So, yeah, at least I had my best friend to vent to the whole time, so thanks bestie.

SIROVY: He did a little thumbs up so after your year, you guys been through a lot. You’ve done a lot of good. You’ve been through a lot of challenging parts. What would you have as advice for the incoming editor-in-chief and managing editor?

STEIL: It’s the one time that you are gonna be in charge of something where you can be as creative, as inventive as you want. To Spencer and Amelia, they’ve already said that they’re going to have essentially a day of Daily decisions, where they’re just going to sit down in the third floor conference room, which we haven’t used since the summer, and they’re just going to meet and talk about everything that they want to do, like, to get an itinerary of stuff that they want to do for the year coming up, which I think is super cool. 

And they gave me a little hint of what they’re hoping to go towards and things that they want to do. A lot of what they had already said in their presentations and stuff like that, presentations to be EIC. But I think one of the things that makes me most excited is they don’t just want to refine what Maddie and I have done. They don’t want to just make things better. They want to figure out ways that The Daily can be more of a service for the readers. They want to come up with ways where the daily can be more a part of the university community. 

And a lot of the ideas they have are really creative. And I think that’s just really cool that they want to do something with this. Like they want to leave their mark on The Daily. And from what I can tell, it’s not that they want to have a different organization by the time they’re done. They don’t want to have it be, you know, the Minnesota nightly, you know, something like that, something just totally silly, but they want to have a better Minnesota Daily by the time they’re done. And honestly, I mean, any advice I give them, they already know because they’re strong leaders, they’re strong journalists, and they’re just really fucking good at what they do.

ROTH: I think the only advice that I would give is make sure you really like each other because you spend an ungodly amount of time together I think.

SIROVY: On average, can I ask how many, how many hours would you guys spend with each other? Like during a day or during a week? Cause I don’t know. 

ROTH: Too many.

SIROVY: You guys say.

 ROTH: Way too many.

STEIL: I mean, it’s gotten a lot less this semester now that we’re just kind of wrapping up or like we’re wrapping things up. We don’t need to meet every single day.

 SIROVY: But you would? 

ROTH: Yeah, like, we wouldn’t meet every day, but I remember, I vividly remember Alex telling me in June, like, we weren’t even working in May, and he would be like, “Maddie, I’ve texted you every day.” And like, it was just always something.

STEIL: And that was true through December 8. Like, at least December 8. 

ROTH: Holy. 

SIROVY: Oh my God.

STEIL: Like, I think our first day of publishing was May 28. Give or take. 

SIROVY: Somewhere around there.

STEIL: Maybe it was the 27. I don’t know. Whatever Memorial Day was, of 2023. At least, that early, through at least December 8th, we talked, in some capacity, every single day.

ROTH: And we still kind of do, to this day, because like, it’s always, hey, this thing is happening. And we both need to know about it because we can’t, I mean, we can’t successfully run a paper if we don’t know what’s going on because one of us, like, I think the thing that I’ve loved so much about us is we are literally the exact opposite from each other. 

And so Alex is really organized. I’m not. And so he’s always really helpful at like, making sure I know what’s happening, but a lot of times, like, I’m, okay, don’t hate me for this, but I think I’m a little bit more creative than you are. Just a little bit. 

STEIL: Interesting take. Okay.

ROTH: Okay. But I, like, cause there’s a lot of times where I’ll, we like, I’ll say, like, talk to this person. Like, I tell our editors or our reporters, like, talk to this person cause I just know so many people. I’m a lot more emotional in terms of like, just, I don’t know, like being, there for people and relating to them. And that’s not anything against Alex because he’s really good at making decisions. 

SIROVY: Yeah.

ROTH: Like there are so many times where we’ve been in tough situations. And Alex will respond, like, to an email and cc me on it on, like, a tough thing. And I’m just amazed at how good he is at talking to people and how good he is at problem solving. And, like, I am just in awe of you. I think you’re incredible at everything you do most of the time.

SIROVY: We all make mistakes. We all make mistakes. 

ROTH: And I think.

STEIL: Except me. 

ROTH: Yeah, Alex doesn’t make mistakes. Alex is perfect. I just want to tell people like who are listening. I got a yin and yang tattoo for Alex a little bit ago because that’s what we are and no matter what happens with him and I after all of this like we started The Daily together. We started our freshman year.

SIROVY: You started your freshman year?

STEIL: I’ve been a Daily writer longer than I’ve been a Gopher.

SIROVY: That’s awesome. I didn’t know that. 

STEIL: It’s gonna be really weird come May 5, and I’m not gonna be with The Daily. 

ROTH: Yeah. 

STEIL: It’s gonna be weird.

ROTH: To wrap up my point really quick, but yeah, we’ve been here the longest with each other and I just, it’s been a blessing that I’ve been able to do this, that we’ve been able to do this together. And I just, I literally just could not have imagined doing this with anybody else because we are mom and dad, we’re yin and yang. 

SIROVY: You are mom and dad. 

ROTH: Yeah, it’s been a time. 

STEIL: It’s been a year. 

SIROVY: It’s been a great time. I couldn’t have asked for more better bosses when I first started here. 

STEIL: We love you, Kaylie. 

ROTH: We do love you. 

SIROVY: Being an editor when you’ve only put out two stories was a nightmare. 

STEIL: I can’t even imagine it.

SIROVY: It was a strange experience. Let me tell you, but it was super helpful because I could come to you guys with anything and you guys were always so understanding of what I didn’t know and you guys were so willing to put my ideas out there and it was just super nice. And I’ve made a lot of friends here, so it’s a great time. 

STEIL: Now the trick is you just gotta make sure you keep those friends at The Daily. 

SIROVY:  I think. 

STEIL: I think you’ll be okay. 

SIROVY: I see everyone at The Daily as either a friend or a potential friend. 

STEIL: That’s so sweet. 

ROTH: That’s a good way to think of it, yeah.

SIROVY: I don’t interact with a lot of other desks. I don’t see a lot of other reporters, but anyone who works here, I’m like, “okay, if I come talk to them, they’re a friend.” 

STEIL: That’s good. I love that.

SIROVY: Because I just weirdly think we’re all so funny here. Okay, what has been the funniest moment at The Daily? One that had you laughing on the ground because we’ve had moments.

STEIL: That’s tough man, dude, there’s a lot of good ones in there.

SIROVY: I know there are moments where I was like crying from laughing, mostly at weekaheads. 

STEIL: Yeah.

SIROVY: You can take a minute.

ROTH: Probably when, did you put on the M0 suit? 

SIROVY: The Mo suit. 

ROTH: Spencer did, but did you? 

STEIL: Spencer did.

SIROVY: You also put it on. 

STEIL: I did when we were doing the campus career day. Or not career day, but the campus club day for freshmen. 

SIROVY: Yes! 

STEIL: And I never actually made it to the stadium.

SIROVY: Cause it was hot out, it was a hot day.

STEIL: It was like 95 degrees, and this thing is made of felt. 

SIROVY: It was in the stadium. 

STEIL: It’s at least a thousand and five years old. I mean, it is just heavier than. 

SIROVY: Cause we told you to go get it and you were like, I’m so excited to go put it on and you were gone for like 30 minutes. 

STEIL: And then I came back without the suit because, so our office is right next to Huntington bank. And for when everyone was a freshman, you know, you do the club thing where you’re walking around Huntington bank. And I go to our office, I put on the suit. I ride down the elevator, and I’m halfway through the parking lot, and I am dizzy. 

I mean, like, I am not there. I’m like, this is not going to be good for another three and a half hours, as long as I was scheduled. So then I went back to the office and put it down, and I get back, and everyone’s, “where in the world is the suit?” You were just gone for 30 minutes, with the one purpose, to get the suit. 

SIROVY: You were determined. 

STEIL: Yeah. And I’m like, you guys, I was about to pass out. 

SIROVY: Would have been a great experience for the freshman to like, be like, that could be your boss. 

STEIL: That would have been a crazy headline: “Minnesota Daily editor passes out during club fair trying to promote The Daily.” Like, could you just imagine walking through the parking lot and there’s just a red Minnesota M.O. just not moving? That would have been crazy. 

SIROVY: That would have been funny. The picture would have been hilarious. 

STEIL: Oh, that would have been the featured image of the year.

SIROVY: Yeah, I forgot about that. 

STEIL: Yeah, I don’t know. I mean there’s so many good memories. 

ROTH: Yeah.

STEIL: Where it’s just like it’s more I remember how the people around us made us feel. Like, I’m not gonna remember every single ridiculous thing that Spencer said, but I’m gonna remember that Spencer said some pretty ridiculous things. And that’s what I think are the funniest moments. Just, no moment in particular, just everything about the people. 

ROTH: Yeah, we’ve had some comedic people here. And I think. 

SIROVY: Especially on the opinions desk. 

ROTH: Yeah, Alex’s list of quotes. Oh, yeah. 

SIROVY: Oh, yeah, we got to talk about the quote book.

ROTH: Like the craziest thing.

SIROVY:  What was the last one in there? 

STEIL: I don’t know. You keep going. I’ll pull this up. 

ROTH:  And I just, I, like, it’s so funny because so many of them are just like out of context. 

SIROVY: Horribly out of context. 

ROTH: Yeah. And just like, I think my favorite one is, the one that sticks out the most, is when I was telling Alex about my best friend, shout out to Jacob, love of my life, and, he was talking about like relationship problems and I was telling Alex about it. 

SIROVY: He remembers. 

ROTH: And I just go, he had a quarter life crisis in a Bubba Gump’s because Jacob and I were at Bubba Gump’s in Mall of America and he’s just like, sobbing over this guy who just broke up with him and I was telling Alex about it and I just thought it was funny so.

STEIL: Yeah. So over the course of the year, we’ve been putting together, as Maddie said, this list of just things that people say, and I just pulled it up. And there are 159 quotes.

SIROVY: That’s crazy.

STEIL: From whenever the Beyoncé concert was. That was the first day that we started. Around then, maybe that wasn’t the first day, because there was one about Charlie. The first one we have is from Charlie during an OP meeting, and he says, “is anyone grossed out from bodily stuff? Like organs?” 

SIROVY: I remember that from the Kahoot. 

STEIL: Yeah, and then, yeah, I mean, so there’s 159 quotes on there and I’ve stopped recording them because Amelia is going to take it over for next year, so she started keeping track. 

SIROVY: We’ve all got something in there. 

STEIL: Yeah. And Amelia, because she took it over for next year, she also created a Kahoot for our last staff meeting. It turns out you can only have a hundred questions on a Kahoot which is so sad. She compiled like the best quotes from this list. And just because, for the people that were there for the context, the people that remember what was going on, that was amazing. 

Like just to know when Spencer said, “space is cool and we should fund it.” Like it was at weekaheads. So he was talking about what a story that someone was going to write was. And the context was, well, not the context, that was the context. What Spencer said was like, “so, this columnist’s column is essentially, I don’t know even how to put this, space is cool and we should fund it.” And that was the full thing. 

And Maddie and I look at each other and we just start laughing. The whole room starts, we’re not even there anymore. And we all settle down and we’re like, “so what’s the actual column,” like what is he actually gonna write? And Spencer’s like, “I just told you.” And it’s just moments like that. We’re just looking back on these things where they’re pretty good.

SIROVY: Some of them. 

STEIL: Yeah.

SIROVY: Some of them we can’t say. 

STEIL: Yeah.

SIROVY: But I think those are the best ones. 

STEIL: Like “imagine being a fish,” from Henry. I don’t remember what that one was about.

SIROVY: Imagine being a fish. I remember one of mine was about, I was talking about the Mothman statue. I was like, he’s got an ass. It’s a statue, but he’s got an ass. 

STEIL: Yeah, that was pretty good. 

SIROVY: Because I completely forgot about that conversation, but I can’t believe you wrote that down. I was like, when did you do that? 

ROTH: Yeah.

STEIL: And I feel like that’s one of the funniest parts about the quote list because some people don’t remember or realize that they’re being put down on this list. So like during this Kahoot there was one from our alumni relations director and it’s going to take me too long to find it, but the quote was essentially, he was talking about dating advice to whoever he was talking to and he’s like, “you need to find a man who plays the piano, period. Maybe he’s really hairy.” I have no idea what he’s, I cannot remember what he’s supposed to, what he’s trying to say by that. 

So this quote makes it into the Kahoot. And the answer is shown, and I look right at Wyatt, the Alumni Relations Director, and he is flabbergasted, hands up in the air, in the most contorted, confused face I’ve ever seen from him. And he’s like, “when in the world did I say that?” And I think that’s one of the funniest things about it that people just don’t remember like even your Bubba Gump’s one. It’s your favorite one, but you don’t remember me putting it down. 

ROTH: I don’t so he said one too. There was like a question that was like which pair said this and it was oh it was person a said like “I like both kinds of coke” and person b said diet and.

SIROVY: It was zero.

STEIL: Zero.

ROTH: Zero. And I vividly remember I was sitting next to Maddie Robinson, one of our A&E writers, and I go, “this is not me.” Like I saw my name and I was like, not me. And then it shows Alex and I. And I looked at him and I was like, “when did I even say that?” Cause I just don’t remember it at all. 

STEIL: It was in the Waffle House after the aquarium. 

ROTH: We weren’t even sitting by each other. 

STEIL: Yeah. Yeah. 

SIROVY: He just, he just overheard the conversation and was like, I’m gonna. 

STEIL: Because it was just the booths and you could really only fit two people on each side, across the aisle. When we were at the aquarium. That’s when we were sitting like front to back. And so you were sitting at the other table you had your George plushie, whatever it was.

SIROVY: A lot of us had plushies. 

ROTH: Peaches. Shout out to Peaches.

SIROVY: That’s my stuffie.

 STEIL: Oh, cause Georgia.

SIROVY: Did you just?

STEIL: I never heard the name. So, now I got it though. But anyway, yeah, you were sitting at the other table and I can’t remember what we were, I don’t remember the context. I just remember we were sitting there and And I said “diet and zero.” I didn’t think it was that funny, but people lost it entirely. It’s like, that goes on the quote list that goes on the quote list. So anyway, anyway.

SIROVY: What do you hope people will remember about you?

ROTH: Ugh. Can I start? Okay. 

STEIL: I gotta think, man. 

ROTH: Okay. The first thing that comes to mind is just, this is going to sound kind of selfish, but just bear with me. We took this place, like, out of the pandemic. We really did cause like last year, we kind of started to come out of it a little bit. 

But Alex and I really like revamped this place and there’s been a lot of people who have just yelled at us this year and have said that we’re not doing enough and that we should be doing this better and this better. And it’s like, all right, if I could just take a moment, Alex and I took this place out of the pandemic, started an investigative desk, got a Native American beat reporter, which is partially Hubbard, but partially us, started breaking news, started quick turnaround stories.

SIROVY: Yeah, breaking news is big. 

ROTH: Like we’ve done so much, and I just want people to like, we, like, we have newsletters. Our sports editor and our A&E editor have newsletters, which is, like, I’m not going to take credit for this because I did nothing. I just sat there and Alex said, “we’re going to do this,” we did the in person editing, like, Alex said that, and I went, “cool, let’s do it,” and we did it.

And so it’s pretty much him, and I was just along for the ride. 

But like, I think what’s so frustrating is Alex is the most hard working person I’ve ever met in my life, and to see people be like, “you’re not doing this good enough or you should be doing this better” has been frustrating as hell because Alex has given his blood, sweat and tears into taking this place out of the pandemic. And I just want people to remember us as like okay this isn’t even about me like this is about him like I just want people to remember him because this place would not be nearly as good as it is right now if it wouldn’t have been for everything that Alex did. And so, when I, when people think of the Minnesota Daily, I want them to think of Alex. Because, he is. 

SIROVY: Shout out Alex. Yeah. 

STEIL: That was really sweet, thank you. Thank you. 

SIROVY: What do you hope people remember you by?

STEIL: I think what I want people to remember is that I didn’t do this for myself. Both internally, I feel like my managing style has been pretty hands off. Like, if you have an idea, let’s run with the idea. Even if it wasn’t mine. I mean, granted, I’ve had, I feel like a few ideas that have made this place better, but you know, if there’s a reporter with a really just phenomenal story idea and it wasn’t mine, I’m not going to say no. 

I think what I’m, again, more want people to remember me as like that they were able to do what they wanted to do that they had the support. That they felt like they had the support behind them to do what they wanted to do, but do what they wanted to do. And I think that also probably extends then kind of also externally too. Cause like, one of the things I did over the summer was just meet with a bunch of community members. Community members, other campus newspapers in the Big Ten, Ivy Leagues, or just kind of papers around here. And I’m just like, what are you doing? What’s going well for you? What are weaknesses you see? Something like that. 

So when I bring that up, really the point that I’m trying to think of is like, the news is a service. And that goes for the people that work for the newspaper, but it also goes for the readers that you’re covering, and the readers that are consuming the news. So when it comes to what I want to be remembered, it’s like, I tried to make The Minnesota Daily as much the product of what the community wants and what the organization needed, rather than something that I just kind of imposed. 

SIROVY: That was very well said. 

STEIL: Thank you. It felt very circular and zig-zaggy at the same time, so I’m glad it made sense though. 

SIROVY: What is that supposed to mean? 

STEIL: It makes sense in my head. 

SIROVY: Okay. 

ROTH: Here’s my closing remark. The Daily has been the best thing to ever happen to me. I love this place with my entire heart and soul. I’ve gotten so much out of it, in term, my boyfriend out of it. So that’s pretty cool. 

SIROVY: Shout out Theo. 

ROTH: But I’ve also just met the most incredible people in my entire life. I’ve gotten to run this paper that I love so much with the person I love so much. And it’s just been a blessing and I am so grateful for all of it.

And I am so grateful to you, meaning Alex, because people can’t see what I’m doing right now. 

SIROVY: She’s staring in Alex’s eyes. 

ROTH: And I just want to say thank you. I know this year was crazy for us, but thank you for dealing with me and sticking through it with me. And I just, thanks for picking me because you didn’t have to. And I know there might have been times where you probably regretted it because I regretted saying yes to you a ton. But we did it together. Because that is who we are. And I love you. I will never not love you.

SIROVY: Aww. 

ROTH: So, thank you for everything. 

STEIL: And thank you for putting up with me a whole lot. 

ROTH: Yeah, it was a lot of time. A lot of Alex time.

STEIL: So many texts, so many calls. 

SIROVY: So many texts. 

ROTH: So many tears. So many laughs. 

STEIL: Not like a Spotify wrap, but like an iMessages wrapped. It would be like, Maddie, at like, 100,000 texts. Family would be second, maybe 5,000.

Like it’s, it’s been wild. So thank you also for putting up with me as well. 

SIROVY: Thanks for putting up with us. We were a crazy bunch. 

STEIL: You guys were a rowdy. Oh gosh. It’s, I think the movie is with Pierce Brosnan and it’s like, there’s two step families that marry into one. The movie has been done so many times over. The story is not unique. But like, that kind of feels like what we did this year, where it’s just two families coming together with all their kids. And it’s just like, somehow we got to figure out how to do this, but on a serious thing, I mean, kind of like what Maddie said, The Daily has been hands down the best thing that I’ve ever done. 

I mean, I already said this in the, in the podcast, but I’ve been, um, working at The Daily longer than I’ve, or I’ve been working. Yeah. I’ve been working with The Daily longer than I’ve been in college. Some of the best professional experiences I’ve had have come from this. I can literally say that I’ve been in a motorcade with the vice president of the United States and the first lady because of this. The amount of professional connections that I’ve made from this have been beyond incredible. The amount of things that I’ve gotten to do to demonstrate that I am competent as a, as a leader, as an employee has been phenomenal. I mean, you, you alluded to this, but like, I’ve worked really hard. I’ve tried to work really hard. 

Since May 5 of last year, I have taken six days off. I have done Daily work at a pub in London, on the San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, at the Jefferson Memorial in D. C., the Louvre. Oh, and Atlanta. Well, that one feels like a given because that was a work trip. But like and the only reason I’m bringing that up is like, this job has taught me what it means to care about what you do because I care about this place a lot. I care a lot about the people, more than anything, because, again, like I was saying earlier, the news is about people. Like, you can talk about a decision that the Board of Regents makes, but the reason we care about that decision is because it impacts people.

And one of the things that I’ve been honored to do this past year is work with people to make, to create a service and to help maintain a service for people that I care a lot about. It’s been a joy to, you know, walk around campus and run into people that I know from The Daily or because of The Daily and it kind of just say like, “oh, I’m doing this for you, we as The Daily are doing this for you,” because that’s what the news at the end of the day is supposed to be about. And I’m just really happy that we’ve gotten to do this. Really happy that I’ve gotten the privilege to do this for a full year. And it’s weird to think in, I think 16 days at this point. 

SIROVY: You’re going to be so free. 

STEIL: Yeah. I mean, I want to do the math real quick. Cause I usually get about, I feel like 250 emails is a good average per day.

 SIROVY: Per day? 

STEIL: So I just did the math. Conservatively by the time I’m done, I will have gotten 21,000 emails that I’ve had to go through every single day or, you know, over the course of a year. And I’m so excited to not feel like I’m attached to my email. It’ll be pretty cool. Shout out to my stats professor for not yelling at me for being on my computer. Cause that’s the one always where I feel like I, it feels like whenever an important email comes in, it’s during that 10 to 11 window. And that’s right when my stats class is. So thank you, Georgia. 

But anyway, it’s been wonderful to be at The Daily. And it’ll be weird to not work here anymore. It’ll be weird to be just a Gopher and not a Daily, uh, worker as well. But I’m so proud of what Spencer and Amelia have already said they’re gonna do. And I’m beyond excited to see how they’re gonna do it and what’s gonna be the end result. Because they’re gonna do really good things with this paper. 

SIROVY: I think we’re all excited. 

ROTH: But they’re not gonna be as good as us because we truly are.

SIROVY: You guys will forever hold our heart. 

ROTH: The most iconic, yes. Love them to death, but I don’t know if anybody could ever possibly beat mom and dad. 

ROTH: Yeah. We’ll just be like distant relatives or something. 

STEIL: We’ll come up whenever there’s a family reunion.

SIROVY: The estranged aunt and uncle.

STEIL: I like that.

 SIROVY: As always, we appreciate you listening in and feel free to leave us an email at [email protected] with comments, questions, or concerns. I’m Kaylie. 

STEIL: And this is Alex. 

ROTH: And I’m Maddie. 

SIROVY: And this has been In The Know. 

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  • Wendy Eilers
    Apr 29, 2024 at 5:44 pm

    Oh, just loved the podcast. Alex and Maddie sound like great bosses and wanted to make The Daily the best it could be. I felt they were very sincere and passionate about telling their stories from the past year. I need to read The Daily from cover to cover. Good Luck to Alex and Maddie!!