[Q&A] Geller finds joy in journalism


Submitted by Mimi Geller

Mimi Geller groups together for a photo with the recipients of Journalist of the Year from other states. “I also had lunch with some of the other state winners, so that was really fun. We just talked about our publications. It was pretty nerdy but cute,” she said.

Mimi Geller has served as Director of RubicOnline for the past two years, then worked as an A&E Editor for the online site before that. She started her publications training in Writing for Publication in 9th grade, and this spring she was honored as the Minnesota Journalist of the Year and as a national finalist in the Journalism Education Association’s JOY scholarship competition.

1. When and why did you start The Rubicon?

When I was in middle school I always liked looking at the covers of The Rubicon issues. I remember in eighth grade saying to myself, “Ok, I’m gonna be on staff.” I signed up for Writing for Publication, got in, but then I actually freaked out because I realized it didn’t give me an art credit, so I only took it the first semester, and then I took painting. I still applied to be on staff, so then I became an online A&E editor. It worked out, but I remember feeling like “Oh my gosh, I’m so behind. I only took one semester of Writing for Publication.” I guess I never really thought about not doing The Rubicon. I never thought about quitting or anything. It was just something I always knew I wanted to do.

2. Why have you continued?

I guess I’ve continued because of the pleasure I get from writing and editing and taking photos. It’s a class where I can do things I’m passionate about like journalism, and I enjoy interviewing people and expanding my portfolio and trying new things. I also really fell in love with making videos, so I wouldn’t wanna stop doing that for The Rubicon.

3. Why did you run for director?

Diane Huang, the previous director, mentored me early on when I was a sophomore, and she encouraged me to apply. She trained me, and I was definitely nervous, but with her guidance, she reaffirmed my confidence in getting the spot and leading the publication even though I was just a junior. It was hard at first, but I got the hang of it after probably my first quarter junior year. It was an easy transition, and all the editors were there to help me. I was never alone.

4. What has your favorite part of being director?

I’ve really learned to see the best in people, and see people get excited about things that I get excited about like fulfill a story assignment or do something new and different that I wouldn’t ever have thought of. It’s definitely rewarding to see your peers and the people that you’ve mentored exceed expectations and exceed anything you could ever fathom. That’s been really enjoyable and inspiring too. I’m inspired every day by the staff.

5. What are some challenges that you’ve faced?

I would say it’s definitely hard to prioritize your other school work and The Rubicon, or doing a balancing act, I guess. Obviously, The Rubicon is my favorite class, so I want to prioritize that, but I don’t want to let my other classes go. That’s been challenging. Especially when I’ve had volleyball and other extracurriculars that I’ve had to deal with, but because of the community that is on The Rubicon, I was never in a bad situation, and I never felt alone. I felt like I had a community that supported me when I needed help, and when I needed edits, and when I needed hugs. They knew I needed to be held accountable for when I did need to finish my stories.

Submitted by Mimi Geller
Mimi Geller with poses with various awards at the spring National High School Journalism Convention. “[The Rubicon is] a class where I can do things I’m passionate about like journalism, and I enjoy interviewing people and expanding my portfolio and trying new things.” she said.
6. How did you get the Journalist of the Year award?

[My adviser] Ms. Campbell suggested I apply for it, so that was back in February. You submit an online portfolio, and there are all these different section requirements: leadership, writing, ethics, policy, design, so I created a representative portfolio of favorite stories that I’ve written for The Rubicon and other publications. I included my resume, some reflections, essays about my leadership style, and things like that. That was kind of an extensive process, and then I also had to submit three teacher recommendations, my transcript, my standardized test scores, my GPA, things like that, and that was all factored in.

7. What was your reaction to winning Minnesota Journalist of the Year?

It was definitely something I wanted, so it was cool to see something I worked hard for, get recognized. I was really honored to represent Minnesota. I think this state does really great student journalism, and to be honored as the state journalist is really cool because I know so many people in this state who do amazing things with journalism, and they’ve been recognized too.

8. What did you do this past weekend in California?

The JEA/NSPA spring  National High School Journalism Convention took place in Anaheim, so I got there, attended the opening ceremony where they announced the state winners as well as some other publication awards… The Rubicon won Pacemaker, so I accepted those awards. Then, I attended some workshops on writing skills, editing skills. I also had lunch with some of the other state winners, so that was really fun. We just talked about our publications. It was pretty nerdy but cute. Then, I went to the closing ceremony, and it was nice.

9. Are you planning on continuing journalism in college and beyond?

Yes, so I will be attending University of Southern California next year, and I’ll be majoring in journalism at the Annenberg School of Journalism and Communication. I definitely won’t be stopping journalism. I’m just pursuing a career. I will probably learn more about broadcast journalism and digital media, so I plan on trying to be on one of the TV stations and working for the daily paper too, so I’m definitely continuing journalism which isn’t always something that people on The Rubicon do, but I do think no matter what people who have been on The Rubicon do, the skills they learn help them in the long run.