A Final Love Letter to PantherNOW

We weren't in our final form yet last Halloween. Pictured left to right: Joshua Ceballos, Anna Radinsky, Plant Fred (held by Radinsky) Guido Gonzalez and Alberto Lionarons.

Anna Radinsky / Former Entertainment Director and FIU 2020 Graduate

Dear PantherNOW,

It has been almost three years since we first met. We have been through so much together, which makes me even more sad to say goodbye.

I remember walking into your office for the first time and feeling envious of all the laughter coming from an editorial board meeting before being interviewed to be a news writer. I wanted to be a part of the fun before I even knew that I had a chance.

At that moment, I was a sophomore in college who had just broken up with my high school sweetheart, just switched majors and had just cut off a foot of my hair.

I was unsure of my future, had trouble making new friends and I wasn’t enjoying the repetitiveness of commuting between classes and home every day.

So I stuck to my instincts and applied to student media without knowing anything about journalism. 

I didn’t want to be a talking head on a TV show, didn’t want to be a reporter and didn’t want to be heard on the radio, but for some reason I wanted to see my words in a newspaper. 

All I had was praise from my past that I was a good writer and a passion for correcting others when I saw a misused “their,” “there,” or “they’re.”

I started off writing for news and realized that the job gave me the opportunity to peek into different fields around FIU without ever having to take a bunch of classes or be a member of a club or organization.

Most of the PantherNOW team celebrating at our Thanksgiving Potluck in 2019. Pictured: Joshua Ceballos, Tamica Jean-Charles, Chris Ramirez, Guido Gonzalez, Elizabeth Fernandez, Jesse Fraga, Alberto Lionarons, Anna Radinsky, Gerard Albert III, Victor Jorges, Dalton Tevlin, Francesca Rosario, Cristina Gonzalez, Jordan Coll, Gabriella Pinos, Valentina Palm, Ursula Munoz Schaefer and Robert Jaross.

The job challenged me in ways I didn’t expect. I remember shaking before approaching people to have them be a source in my stories. I used to write a transcript of what I would say to someone before I would call them. One time, I froze up and completely forgot what I wanted to ask when I was interviewing someone.

Being a journalist made me realize for the first time in my life that I had social anxiety and had to seriously deal with it and heal.

Thankfully, I pushed through and wrote over 40 stories for PantherNOW, most of which contain sources that I personally spoke to. 

When I was promoted to Assistant News Director less than a year after I first applied, I produced some of my most favorite stories: the opening of the longest reflexology path on the U.S. east coast at the Biscayne Bay Campus, the Global Indigenous Group marching in freezing weather in Washington D.C., a profile on a student with a visual disability who was studying six different fields and a suicide prevention walk with a powerful backstory. 

My experience with PantherNOW at that point allowed me to write for the Air and Space Smithsonian Magazine in Washington D.C. and the South Florida Media Network. 

Finally, in my senior year I was promoted to Entertainment Director. I managed a team of over 20 writers and photographers and was still able to produce my best and most interesting stories. 

I learned why nuking a hurricane is a bad idea. I wrote a profile on a badass photographer. I wrote my first obituary of an incredible journalism professor and person. I made an audio slideshow on how FIU students celebrate Thanksgiving. I covered an exhibit of photos of Jews taken by Nazis. I wrote an album review of my favorite band, The 1975. 

I was even nominated for a 2020 SPJ Sunshine State Award on my FIU Theatre review of a Shakespearean play that echoed themes from the #MeToo movement. Plus, I was a DJ for FIU’s student-run radio station, The Roar, a few times. 

I honestly did not expect my life to end up with so many things to be so proud of.

A PantherNOW ediorial board meeting after FIU went fully remote due to the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.

I wanted to thank the many people who helped shape me into the writer that I am today. Alfred Soto, Robert Jaross and Francesca Rosario taught me professionalism and keeping an open mind with my stories. Thank you for staying patient through our nonsense. My journalism professors and mentors, Luis Gonzalez Perez, Lorna Veraldi, Kirsti Itameri Kinter, Dan Evans, Chuck Strouse, Mario Diament, Michael Sheerin and Neil Reisner made me feel like I was a part of something bigger and gave me pride to be their student. 

And of course, my coworkers and friends: Gerard Albert III, Valentina Palm, Michelle Marchante, Cristina Gonzalez, Tamica Jean-Charles, Guido Gonzalez, Joshua Ceballos, Victor Jorges, Dalton Tevlin, Gabriella Pinos, Ursula Munoz Schaefer, Anabelle Torres, Zoe Chin, Eduardo Alvarez, Patricia Menendez, Jordan Coll, Elizabeth Ferndandez, Maria Lago, Camille Orquera, Sarah DeMond, Alberto Lionarons, Chris Ramirez, Nayeli Lomeli, Kat Wong, Irina Barneda, Kendra Onorato, Julissa Mederos, Laura Antunez, Imogen Francis and Jesse Fraga. You are all so talented and I can’t wait to see what you’re up to in the future.  

I hope that whoever cares about sharing the truth and producing incredible journalism considers PantherNOW to be a space for the FIU community to turn to.

Thank you for the incredible experience and giving me the confidence to continue on a creative and meaningful path. I’m so glad I walked through those doors and stayed. 


Anna Radinsky

P.S. If you’d like to support hard working student-reporters, please donate to PantherNOW’s foundation account. And if you’re interested in applying to PantherNOW to write, be a photographer or videographer, all you need to be is a student at FIU. All majors are welcome!

1 Comment on "A Final Love Letter to PantherNOW"

  1. So proud of you and your accomplishments! Love. Mom.

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