Devil’s Advocate: Farewell from our graduating editors

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Downtown Devil's Executive Editor Sophia Kunthara, Editor-in-Chief Agnel Philip and Managing Editor Sarah Jarvis are graduating this year. (Downtown Devil)
Downtown Devil’s Executive Editor Sophia Kunthara, Editor-in-Chief Agnel Philip and Managing Editor Sarah Jarvis are graduating this year. (Downtown Devil)

The top three editors of Downtown Devil say farewell as they prepare to graduate and pass on their roles for the next school year.

Sarah Jarvis, Managing Editor

For the past four years, I’ve seen Downtown Devil fill a host of roles for students. It’s been a place for us to test our reporting chops, experiment with multimedia, learn from other student journalists and make mistakes.

It’s also been the place where some of our best college friendships have formed, and where many first-time downtowners got the chance to meet the people that make downtown what it is and to explore their new home outside of First Fridays.

We’ve watched our home change quite a bit since we were freshmen, from the construction of several new apartment buildings and a law school, to the shuttering of beloved local businesses and the unfortunate price increase of a particularly beloved macaroni and cheese dish.

It feels strange to be leaving our home now, amid all this change, but I suppose those who came before us have felt the same way.

A few people will always be at the core of my downtown experience — Kim Moody, Ed the Hotdogger, Stacey Champion, John Sagasta, Connor Descheemaker, Wayne Rainey, Sean Sweat and Kimber Lanning, to name several — but I’m glad our readers let us be a part of their lives too. Thank you for letting what started as a dorm room idea from a few young students become a part of the community, and for helping us reflect the successes, struggles and culture of downtown Phoenix in our stories.

Agnel Philip, Editor-in-Chief

Downtown Devil introduced me to journalism. As a freshman, it offered me the chance to do work I would be proud of, from covering community events such as a discussion on race to my first investigation into an obscure tax incentive few had studied before. But beyond the stories, it showed me that good journalism can help shape communities to make them better and more informed places.

I’ve often thought that Downtown Devil is an incredibly ambitious project. We attempt to cover one of the most important communities in the state during a time of immense change with a staff comprised entirely of volunteers. Ideally, a larger publication like The Arizona Republic would have staff entirely dedicated to this community. Instead, we attempt to fill the gap, and despite the occasional slip-up, I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished in that regard. We’ve made the Government Property Lease Excise Tax an important part of the downtown development debate. We’ve covered community events and the arts district from a unique perspective.

My time at the publication has gratified me, challenged me and made me a better person. I am confident that our successors will continue to fill the need for comprehensive downtown coverage. I’m going to miss our staff and this community. Thanks for making the past four years so fulfilling.

Sophia Kunthara, Executive Editor

My first Downtown Devil meeting is engrained in my memory with such clarity because I knew when I left room 256 in the Cronkite building that night that it was an organization I wanted to be a part of. I didn’t see myself pursuing journalism as a career when I started at ASU, and when someone suggested coming to Downtown Devil’s weekly “budget meeting,” I almost didn’t go because I thought it was a meeting about the publication’s finances. I’m glad I went to that meeting that night, and I’m glad I stayed around.

Of everything I’ve done in journalism so far, being part of Downtown Devil is what I’m the most proud of and the experience that has meant the most to me at ASU. It’s where I found my love of reporting and learned my first journalism lessons. It’s where I met some of my closest friends and mentors. And it’s where I realized that good journalism matters, and makes a difference in people’s lives every day.

Downtown Devil is, without a doubt, what I will miss the most when I graduate.

In a lot of ways, I see Downtown Devil reflect downtown Phoenix. Passionate, driven people who want the community to grow and change for the better. People who are willing to try new things and learn from trial and error. Just as downtown Phoenix brims with potential and the people in the community envision what it could be, the staff at Downtown Devil is full of ideas to improve the publication and its coverage, and ready to bring those ideas to life.

Thank you to all of our readers for checking out our coverage every day and supporting our publication. Thank you to downtown Phoenix for showing me how much (hyper) local issues matter, the impact they have and for being my home for the past four years. Thank you to Downtown Devil for showing me what I’m most passionate about and giving me the best memories and people to support me along the way.

Contact us at the Downtown Devil at news@downtowndevil.com

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