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Emerald Media Group’s board of directors selected Ryan Nguyen as the next editor-in-chief of the Daily Emerald, starting in Fall 2020. (Sarah Northrop/Emerald)

The Emerald’s senior news reporter Ryan Nguyen said he was on the second floor of the Knight Library, after 8 p.m., when he got the phone call that he was going to be the next Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Emerald. He had the phone out, Nguyen said, while working on his final history project. “I didn’t want to miss the call.”

Emerald Media Group’s board of directors selected Ryan Nguyen as the next editor-in-chief of the Daily Emerald, starting in Fall 2020.

Nguyen began working for the Daily Emerald in September 2017, his freshman year. “Even though I was majoring in econ,” he said, “I wanted to work at the newspaper.”

“I remember when I was first applying and the job description of the Emerald news reporter was something like, ‘the foot soldiers,’” Nguyen said, “and it gave off the impression that the news reporters are the ones who are down on the ground and really doing the dirty work of the newsroom, which is really true. I think being a news reporter for so long has given me not only the reporting experience for answering ethical questions as editor-in-chief, but also the perspective of what it’s like starting out at the Emerald.”

Together, Nguyen and current Emerald Editor-in-Chief Michael Tobin reported on a story uncovering misconduct at a UO fraternity in 2018. Tobin said that Nguyen was the one who obtained the documents detailing the instances of derogatory language, and, when it came time to write the story, Nguyen was “super serious and ready to get down to business.” 

“I think that Ryan’s greatest strength is that he thinks so much about the community and that he thinks so much about others,” Tobin said. “He’s so community-oriented that he’s considering so many things that people aren’t thinking about.”

Nguyen was the Emerald’s podcast editor his sophomore year. During his time on the podcast desk, he worked closely with the current podcast editor, Sararosa Davies. “He was encouraging,” Davies said, “he was organized, he was innovative. He did a really good job of making the desk really robust in a lot of ways.”

Davies said that, during Nguyen’s time as podcast editor, Nguyen hired five people onto the classically small desk. “He knows how to guide people,” she said, “especially one-on-one, in the way he can give you critiques and you don’t take it in a bad way.”

While podcast editor, Nguyen said, “I think it was just learning how to manage people and how to balance good quality product while also remembering that you’re working with people who are unpaid and are doing this out of passion.” 

It was a lesson in priorities, he said. “What kind of experience do I want people to have?”

“Ryan is an editor-in-chief of the people,” Davies said. “He’s a friendly person. He understands, from his news background, so many different things about campus and he’s interested in so many different things about campus and about UO. Now, people can expect him to be someone who pushes the administration and pushes students, but in a really good way.”

“I just think that what I really want to bring to the table is that spirit of innovation that the Emerald has always really had,” Nguyen said. He said that when he graduates and leaves the Emerald, he wants to leave the Emerald a better place, with continual gradual improvement and educated risks. “We’re a college newspaper,” he said. “We should be willing to take risks like that.”

“You have someone who is going to be editor-in-chief who is a fantastic listener,” Tobin said, “who cares about your wellbeing and knows how to get the information that matters to you.”

Nguyen said, simply, “The Emerald has been around for over 100 years and we’re sure as hell not stopping now.”