Meet the editors: MacKinley Lutes-Adlhoch, digital editor

Get to know our editorial board through these Q&As

A large portion of our State Press editorial board has been a part of this publication for the better part of the year. As we're winding down to the end of the semester, we have a number of big stories set to publish and, in this field, we find it important to be transparent with our audience.

Because we think our readership has a right to know who's been telling ASU's stories, we're launching a Q&A series with our editorial board, beginning with one of our digital editors, MacKinley Lutes-Adlhoch.

Tell me about where and how you grew up.

I grew up in San Diego, California with my mom. My parents were split up before I was even born, so my mom and I lived in San Diego and my dad, my stepmom and my half brother have lived in Mesa, Arizona my whole life. 

It was interesting growing up because, as a baby, I would be driven to Arizona. My parents would meet in the middle in Yuma at McDonald's to switch me once a month so my dad could have some time. 

And then from the time I was five, I would fly by myself between San Diego and Mesa once a month and couple of times over the summer every year to spend time with my dad for a weekend or two. And then when I was 10, my mom and I moved out to Chandler, Arizona and I have lived here ever since.

How did you become interested in journalism?

My dad went to the Cronkite school and is a sports broadcaster, and he has always said to me and my little brother growing up that, if you find something that you love to do, you'll never work a day in your life. 

So in high school when I was thinking about applying to colleges and what I wanted to do with my life, I sat down and thought, what could I do that wouldn't feel like a job? I love to write and I love to tell stories and there are a lot of different ways I can use a journalism degree to do those things. 

So that's kind of how I ended up here. It's a great school. So why not?

What's your favorite article you've written? Why?

I think my favorite piece I've ever written was a piece I wrote for The State Press in the spring of 2018 for the Community desk, which was then called the Campus Life desk. 

I wrote about a girl, Anya Magnuson, who I'd actually had a couple of classes with. She's studying photojournalism, and she had like a mystery illness that she had been dealing with for a few months that had forced her to take off a semester of school. 

She'd had several brain surgeries and a lot more medical stuff that you can read in the story. It caught my attention because as a photojournalist, she took that opportunity to document her own journey and take really raw photos of what she was dealing with that I thought was such a moving story that really deserved to be told. She's back at school now and totally thriving. 

It was maybe the first time that I felt like I got to tell someone's story who had something like really powerful to say. It wasn't just another assignment. It was very human and I was really proud to be able to tell that story.

What's been your best journalistic experience?

That's a really tough question. What pops into my head is I wrote this profile of an alumna who makes her own jewelry out of these vintage buttons. 

It was just an interesting profile piece. But once the piece was published, she read it and texted me and said that she was nearly in tears because she was so happy with the way that I was able to capture her spirit and her business. 

It's moments like that where you're like, "Oh, this is why I do this." That was really nice and really rewarding and one of the first times that anyone had given me feedback like that.

What drove you to begin working at The State Press?

Freshman year, when I heard about The State Press and that you had to interview and it was a paid job for some, I remember specifically saying, "I'm never going to join The State Press," not for any reason in particular. I think honestly I was just intimidated. 

But after my freshman year, right as The State Press was hiring again for the fall semester, so right for summer started, two of my best friends who are editors with me now, Maya and Kim, decided they wanted to apply and they got positions as part time reporters. 

When fall rolled around, I was in JMC 301, which is a class that forces you to get five written pieces published in order to get a grade in the class. Someone from The State Press came in and gave a little spiel to my class: why you should join, you can get your pieces published here. 

I was living with Kim at the time, (who's still my roommate, actually) and she was a part-time reporter and she was like, "Why not apply?" 

So I joined mid-October of my sophomore year, mostly to get my pieces published, but I loved the environment so much that I wanted to stay. It's been just like a family. It's a great community.

What's the biggest thing you've had to overcome in your life?

That's a tough question. I don't know. Life sucks. Everyone has to deal with really awful things that happened to them or around them. Everyone's dealing with something. Even if their life seems perfect, there's definitely something underneath that's really hard for them. 

I tend to minimize things that have happened to me, probably as a coping mechanism, but also just because I think it puts it in perspective. Your life isn't the worst, everyone's life is the worst. I have dealt with mental health issues. For a lot of my life, that's been a big struggle, depression and anxiety, all the very not-glamorous side effects of that in dealing with them growing up and still now. 

But I'm lucky to have a great support system and lots of people around me who have either dealt with similar issues or take time to understand how to deal with someone with those issues. So while that's been maybe the hardest thing I've had to overcome, it's also been something that's definitely made me a lot stronger. 

We're lucky to be in a time where those things are talked about more openly. I try to talk about it pretty openly. I'd hope that if you're dealing with those things, you know you're not alone.

Which cartoon character would you be and why?

Well this is definitely the hardest question. I would say maybe I'm a combination of the two Adventure Time characters Marceline the Vampire Queen and Tree Trunks

I identify with Marceline's love of dark clothing and I'm a big fan of true crime so I dig the vampire thing. But then also Tree Trunks because she loves to make pies. I identify with that.

Image result for marceline the vampire queen gif



Reach the reporter at japere38@asu.edu or follow @jsphprzz on Twitter.

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