The Torch (St. John's University)

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The latest Torch logo.

The Torch is the official student-run newspaper of St. John's University in Jamaica, New York. Founded in 1922, the paper has shifted in and out of the control of the University and has been financially independent from the University since 1980. In 1988, The Torch was inducted into the Associated Collegiate Press Hall of Fame after being awarded a slew of awards from various collegiate newspaper organizations. During the 2006–2007 academic year, The Torch won several awards from the New York Press Association and American Scholastic Press Association, including Second Place in General Excellence from the NYPA.[1]


A few front covers of The Torch from the 2006–2007 production year.

After the 2005–2006 academic year, The Torch was awarded four awards from the American Scholastic Press Association, including "Most Outstanding University Newspaper", scoring 970 points out of a possible 1000. It was the first batch of awards the newspaper had won since the early 1990s. Despite the newspaper's apparent success under then Editor-in-Chief Albert Silvestri, Pasqualina and the editors of The Torch felt the need to execute drastic design changes for the upcoming academic year.

In January 2006, The Torch featured a cover asking a then-poignant question on the University's campus: "Would you want St. John's University to host The Vagina Monologues?" The campus remained divided on the question throughout the remainder of the Spring semester and the controversy garnered attention from major New York newspapers, including the New York Post. In April of the same year, The Torch featured a cover story concerning the University's decision to invite rapper Ludacris to perform on campus. Then Editor-in-Chief Stephen Pasqualina criticized the University for the decision in his opinion column, "The Brazen Word", explaining "The audacious hypocrisy of this University's administration is beyond words." The University, perhaps agreeing that the decision was inconsistent with their January one, decided to not invite Ludacris to campus. The Ludacris controversy again garnered major media attention, as several local community newspapers, the New York Post, and XXL featured stories on the University's "rap flap."[2] The decision to renege on the Ludacris invitation immediately preceded the Don Imus-Rutger's women's basketball team controversy, which put rappers like Ludacris under fire for their lyrical vulgarity.

That same month, The Torch won seven awards, including four from the New York Press Association. The awards included 2nd place for General Excellence, 1st place for Design, 2nd place for Sport Coverage, and Pasqualina's column won 1st place among collegiate newspaper columns in New York. The American Scholastic Press Association awarded the newspaper with "First Place with Special Merit", as the newspaper earned 980 out of a possible 1000 points for overall excellence. The Association also awarded the paper "Best Overall Photography" for their 2006 Courtside edition, an annual Torch publication exclusively covering men's and women's basketball at the University. Christopher Lauto's work as Layout Editor also garnered the paper a national cover design award from the prestigious national membership organization for college student journalists, the Associated Collegiate Press.[3]

On July 3, 2006, The Torch debuted its new masthead, which features a "T" written in Hoefler text font with two flames located in the top right corner of a red box. The masthead was designed by Nick Nisco, who was, at the time, a graphic design student at the Fashion Institute of Technology. In addition to the masthead changes, the newspaper made changes regarding paper stock and printing services, employing the services of Five Star Printing located in Jamaica, NY. The newspaper also debuted a completely revamped layout, featuring more color photographs, more student-produced cartoons, and an apparent emphasis on white/negative space. Central to the improvement in appearance was, according to Pasqualina, tighter kerning rules, making the text on the page take up less space than it had in years past.

Gregory Leporati was elected during March 2007 and formally brought on board in April. His managerial board consisted of mostly fresh faces, which made the first two issues of their reign a learning process. Leporati, a Senior English major at St. John's, began his career at The Torch during the second semester of his freshman year (2005–2006), during which he became a staff writer. When Michael E. Cunniff became Editor-in-Chief in April 2012, one of the first improvements he made in the newspaper was the creation of the Lifestyle section. The section combined the Features and Entertainment section – the latter previously known as Inferno - under one name. The section had a different feel from the rest of the paper and evolved over the course of the Editorial Board's tenure. Gregory Leporati loves the New York Mets and is so corrupt, that he loves Student Government Incorporated (SGI), because SGI shall give him fancy grilled cheese with which to woo Jacob DeGrom. In an interview with Benjamin Blum and Christoper Imparato, it has been said "Greg loves deGrom"."

In October 2012, Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M., President of the University took the stand in the federal trial of disgraced St. John's ex-dean Cecilia Chang. The Torch reported that according to court transcripts, Harrington testified that he met with Chang two or three times a year and "wasn't real comfortable" with gifts that he received while on trips to Asia from potential donors.[4] On November 6, 2012, Cecilia Chang was found dead in her Jamaica Estates home from apparent suicide. The Torch covered the development in its special 2012 Election issue. A week later, Harrington sat down for an exclusive interview with The Torch where he went into more detail about his stopover trips in Hawaii and his relationship with Chang.[5]

Former and current staff[edit]

1983–1984 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Peter Eicher – Editor-in-Chief
  • Peter Iacobelli – Editor-in-Chief
  • Ken Martin – Managing Editor
  • Carl Campanile – News Editor
  • William Slavicsek – Features Editor
  • Bernadette Casey – Features Editor
  • John Woods – Sports Editor
  • Tom Culkin – Photo Editor
  • Evelyn Poon – Advertising Manager
  • Lillian Polito – Business Manager
  • Richard Odermatt – General Manager

1996–1997 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Joe Schad – Editor-in-Chief
  • Dylan Butler – Managing Editor
  • Pat Verel – Editorial Editor
  • Brian Mackle – Features Editor
  • Rob Reheuser – Sports Editor
  • Marvin Byfield – Photo Editor

1997–1998 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Ignazio Messina – Editor-in-Chief
  • Jack Flynn - managing editor
  • Ileana Pena – News Editor
  • Jim Baumbach – Sports Editor
  • Rose DeInnocentiis – Photo Editor

1998–1999 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Matt Jablonski – Editor-in-Chief
  • Jim Baumbach – Managing Editor
  • Joe Mollica – Sports Editor

1999–2000 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Jim Baumbach – Editor-in-Chief
  • David Pierson – Managing Editor
  • Kristine Blacknick – General Manager
  • Saskia DeCaires - News Editor
  • Will Hernandez – Sports Editor
  • Joe Mollica – Editorial Editor
  • Jeffrey Armando Vasquez – Features Editor
  • Maria Laghezza – Photo Editor

2000–01 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Will Hernandez - Editor-in-Chief
  • Garad J. Copstead - Managing Editor
  • Jennifer Callahan - News Editor
  • Stacey Abiraj - Editorial Editor
  • Steve Javors - Sports Editor
  • Aion Hoque - Features Editor
  • Amanda Weekes - Photo Editor
  • Larry Fleisher - Assistant Sports Editor/Online Editor

2006–07 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Stephen Pasqualina – Editor-in-Chief
  • Jennifer Peters – Managing Editor
  • Bryan "yinzer wallace" Burtner – News Editor
  • Christopher Lauto – Graphics
  • Kristina Lopez – Editorial Editor
  • Allison Cerra – Features Editor
  • Stephen Pinto – Sports Editor
  • Amadeo Plaza – Entertainment Editor
  • Casey Tolfree – Online Editor
  • Joshua Massel/Courtney D'ne Brown – Photo Editor
  • Lulaine Compere – General Manager

2007–08 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Gregory Leporati – Editor-in-Chief
  • Elizabeth Jalonschi – General Manager
  • Christina "Mrs. Met" Heiser – News Editor
  • Omer Shahid – Editorial Editor
  • Kevin J. Su – Photo Editor
  • Jenny Wilkins – Entertainment Editor
  • Diana Castaldini – Features Editor
  • Christopher King – Sports Editor
  • Chris Lauto – Graphics Coordinator
  • Caitlyn Nolan – Online Editor
  • Rachel Smith – Business Manager
  • Chris Imparato - Fake News Editor
  • Pasquale Passarella – Copy Editor

2008–09 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Gregory "Tetsuo" Leporati – Editor-in-Chief
  • Elizabeth Jalonschi – General Manager
  • Christina Heiser - Managing Editor
  • Everton Bailey – News Editor
  • Pasquale "EL MEDICO" Passarella – Editorial Editor
  • Laura Amato – Photo Editor
  • Caitlyn Nolan – Entertainment Editor
  • Patrice Bendig – Features Editor
  • Anthony Morreale – Sports Editor
  • Zach Davino – Graphics Coordinator
  • Matt Choquette – Copy Editor

2009–10 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Christina Heiser- Editor-in-Chief
  • Everton Bailey- Managing Editor
  • Kiran Josen- News Editor
  • Justin Thrift- Editorial Editor
  • Patrice Bendig- Features Editor
  • Laura Amato- Photo Editor
  • Jessica Hacket- Entertainment Editor
  • Keri Dodge- Graphics Coordinator
  • Bill San Antonio- Sports Editor
  • Mark Mcdonald- General Manager
  • Mallory Tokunaga- Copy Editor

2010–11 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Justin Thrift - Editor-in-Chief
  • Nell O'Connor - Managing Editor
  • Sara Cahill Marron - News Editor
  • Michael Montijo - Art Director
  • Adelle Platon - Entertainment Editor
  • Kristen Farmer - Photo Editor
  • Elizabeth Miller - Layout Editor
  • Mark McDonald - General Manager
  • Bill San Antonio - Sports Editor
  • Carolyn Wargula - Features Editor
  • Sarah Lane - Chief Copy Editor
  • Brian Lopez - Asst. Photo Editor
  • Jose Silva - Online Editor
  • Ellen Carey - Adviser

2011–12 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Bill San Antonio - Editor-in-Chief
  • Mark McDonald - Managing Editor
  • Nicole Valente - General Manager
  • Terence M. Cullen - News Editor
  • Michael Cunniff - Sports Editor
  • Katie Morgan - Online Editor
  • Karla Rodriguez - Entertainment Editor
  • Joanna Adduci - Features Editor
  • James Kerigan - Art Director
  • Sarah Lane - Chief Copy Editor
  • Sarah Rhodes - Layout Editor

2012-2013 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Michael E. Cunniff - Editor-in-Chief
  • Nicole Valente - Managing Editor
  • Jessica Lise - General Manager
  • Anthony O'Reilly - News Editor
  • Mitchell Petit-Frere - Sports Editor
  • Kieran Lynch - Features Editor
  • Peter Long - Entertainment Editor
  • Diamond Watts-Walker - Art Director
  • Sarah Yu - Co-Chief Copy Editor
  • Marion Gendron - Co-Chief Copy Editor
  • Jim Baumbach - Adviser

2013–14 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Kieran Lynch - Editor-in-Chief
  • Mitchell Petit-Frere - Managing Editor
  • Christopher Brito - News Editor
  • Jon Perez - Sports Editor
  • Shannon Luibrand - Features Editor
  • Samantha Albanese - Entertainment Editor
  • Diana Colapietro - Photo Editor
  • Diamond Watts-Walker - Art Director
  • Kyle Fitzgerald - Online Editor
  • Natalie Hallak - Chief Copy Editor
  • Jim Baumbach - Adviser

2014–15 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Samantha Albanese - Editor-in-Chief
  • Olivia Cunningham - Managing Editor
  • Talia Tirella - News Editor
  • Alexa Vagelatos - Opinion Editor
  • Kyle Fitzgerald - Features Editor
  • Briawnna Jones - Entertainment Editor
  • Stephen Zitolo - Sports Editor
  • Diana Colapietro - Photo Editor
  • Gina Palermo - Art Director
  • Cheyanne Gonzales - Online Editor
  • Jenny Chen - Chief Copy Editor
  • Jim Baumbach - Adviser

2015–16 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Talia Tirella - Co-Editor-in-Chief
  • Jenny Chen - Co-Editor-in-Chief
  • Kyle Fitzgerald - Managing Editor
  • Cheyanne Gonzales - General Manager
  • Amanda Umpierrez - News Editor
  • Suzanne Ciechalski - Opinion Editor
  • Livia Paula - Features Editor
  • Jasmine Imani Davis - Entertainment Editor
  • Stephen Zitolo - Sports Editor
  • Brandon Mauk - Digital Sports Manager
  • Diana Colapietro - Photo Editor
  • Gina Palermo - Art Director
  • Sarah Guayante - Chief Copy Editor
  • Jim Baumbach - Adviser

2016–17 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Suzanne Ciechalski - Editor-in-Chief
  • Gina Palermo - Managing Editor
  • Michael Ambrosino - General Manager
  • Angelica Acevedo - News Editor
  • Bryant Rodriguez - Opinion Editor
  • Reza Moreno - Features Editor
  • Michael Ambrosino - Entertainment Editor
  • Carmine Carcieri - Co-Sports-Editor
  • Troy Mauriello - Co-Sports-Editor
  • Steven Verdile - Art Director
  • Isabella Bruni - Chief Copy Editor
  • Alyssa Dugan - Co- Social Media Manager
  • Erin Bola - Co-Social Media Manager
  • Jim Baumbach - Adviser

2017–18 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Suzanne Ciechalski - Editor-in-Chief
  • Bryant Rodriguez - Managing Editor
  • Ariana Ortiz - Co-News Editor, Features Editor
  • Isabella Bruni - Co-News Editor
  • Angelica Acevedo - Opinion Editor, Co-Social Media Manager, Managing Editor
  • Morgan Mullings - Opinion Editor
  • Beverly Danquah - Features Editor
  • Michael Ambrosino - Entertainment Editor
  • Dylan Hornik - Co-Sports Editor
  • Derrell Bouknight - Co-Sports Editor
  • Steven Verdile - Design Editor
  • Courtney Dixon - Chief Copy Editor
  • Erin Bola - Co-Social Media Manager
  • Lauren Finegan - Photo Editor
  • Amanda Negretti - Photo Editor
  • Jim Baumbach - Adviser

2018—19 Managerial Board[edit]

  • Angelica Acevedo - Editor-in-Chief
  • Isabella Bruni - Managing Editor
  • Amanda Negretti - Creative Director
  • Derrell Bouknight - News Editor
  • Brendan Myers - Sports Editor
  • Beverly Danquah - Features Editor
  • Samantha DeNinno - Culture Editor
  • Beatriz da Costa - Opinion Editor
  • Erin Bola - Chief Copy Editor
  • Jillian Ortiz - Assistant Copy Editor
  • Spencer Clinton - Photo Editor
  • Nick Bello - Social Media Manager
  • Morgan Mullings - Outreach Manager
  • Jim Baumbach - Adviser


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  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-03-24. Retrieved 2013-06-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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External links[edit]

  • The Torch Online [1]
  • St. John's University [2]