RSS Alum and Harvard Journalist Nate Press Shares Lessons Learned and Hopes for the Future with Mane Event Staff

When Nate Press graduated Rodeph Sholom School as an 8th grader in 2010, he was excited for the new realm of possibilities that lied ahead for him at Dalton. One of his first steps? Joining The Daltonian, the school newspaper.
Nate graduated from Dalton in 2014 as Editor-in-Chief of the school’s newspaper, and went on to Harvard University where he immediately joined The Harvard Crimson.
“I wrote for The Daltonian and write for The Crimson mainly because I wanted to feel more connected to my high school and college communities,” Nate said.
“Going out on news assignments was the first – and still the best – way I learned about what Dalton had to offer; it connected me to teachers, administrators and extra-curricular activities that I would never have been exposed to otherwise.  It also gave me a sense of ‘civic pride’ for my school—especially as Editor-in-Chief, I felt like the newspaper held an important place in promoting open dialogue in school about controversial or complex issues. The same was true of college--I joined The Crimson because I wanted to be exposed to a broader segment of the Harvard community,” he said.
Press’s favorite thing about being part of an editorial team is “that the decisions I’ve been a part of have had real effects on the kinds of issues that are being discussed on campus on a day-to-day basis.”  The ability to prioritize certain issues – whether through news coverage or editorials – and then watch discussion around them grow is one of the things that interest Nate most about journalism.
Nate shared anecdotes and lessons learned through his journalism experience with the staff of RSS’s Mane Event in March. Looking back on his time here – a time before a student run newspaper existed – he mused on how RSS helped him to become curious about the world.
“RSS informed so much about how I approach the world today.  Of course, there was the focus on Jewish values, being a leader and a mensch – but what I think was most special about it was the way it engaged me with the city and outside community,” Nate said.
“I can remember projects, field trips and class trips that took on issues of poverty and prejudice – the 7th grade trip to the South stands out – more directly and honestly than anywhere I've been since. RSS taught me to look at the world with Jewish values; to constantly question, consider the less fortunate, and evaluate how community and public service can be used most effectively,” he said.
To the budding journalists here at RSS, Nate left with some words of wisdom, focused on the merits of persistence.  “Journalism is not an easy or transactional task, and requires a lot of pushing—actively building relationships with sources, bugging them for quotes, and hunting for pitches – you need to take proactive initiative,” he said.
Nate also highly recommended exposure to investigative news writing as a way to build experience with long-form pieces. “Writing many breaking or short articles is great, but there is nothing I've found more rewarding than doing extensive research and reporting over a longer time period on more complex topics.  The skills you learn from investigative reporting – source development, attention to detail, comprehensiveness – translate into every other kind of journalism,” he said.
Lastly, Nate shared some of his goals and hopes for the future. “I learned a ton at RSS that has continued to shape who I am today. The applicability of Jewish values to daily life is one important example – another is the importance of civic and public service. RSS did a tremendous job showing how meaningful civic engagement can be and how important it is to be politically educated,” Nate said.
“One of my career goals is to spend some time in public service in Washington, and something like that would not have been on my radar if not for the emphasis RSS placed on civic duties, from voting to public speaking, and engagement with the NYC community.”

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