FAREWELL: Former Editor-in-Chief says goodbye to her Hilltop Views home


Stephanie Jane Capper / SOJOWB

Martinez working on a project in Antigua, Guatemala while a part of Solution Journalism Without Borders last summer.

To the beloved corner office and the sharp-witted humans who filled the room,


During my summer orientation in 2019, my parents and I took a stroll around St. Edward’s to help acclimate me to campus and to say our goodbyes. I began my work-study job one month before the other freshmen moved in. Nervous about living on an empty, unfamiliar campus, my parents and I made our way into Holy Cross Hall. My mom thought it would be a calming spot to escape the nerves and the dry Austin heat. I found myself peering into the most beautiful room I’d ever seen, stacked high with newspapers: the corner office on the second floor. 

This was the newsroom. 

“Hi! Can I help you?” a friendly voice called from an office behind me.

It belonged to Professor Heath, the same professor who would go on to push my reporting and editing during the next four years. I timidly told her I was interested in joining the newspaper, and how I dreamed of being a journalist one day. 

Around two months later, classes were in full-swing, and Hilltop Views was kicking off its weekly budget meetings. I and my suitemate, friend and current co-copy editor, Audrey Cahak, stepped foot into Moody 209, where we attended our first budget meeting. I had a feeling, just a hunch, that this was where I was meant to be. 

The 2019-2020 Hilltop Views Editors in a Zoom meeting. (Courtesy of Hilltop Views)

Christine Sanchez was the first editor I worked closely with at HV. I was giddy about writing news, and she happily taught me the basics of reporting. She and Gianni Zorilla became the two women who welcomed me, guided me as a writer and an editor and, most importantly, became two of my good friends. To this Latina entering journalism, the sea of majority white men was intimidating. Christine and Gianni taught me how to amplify my voice in meetings and in my writing and were some of my first role models — the first I’d ever met who looked like me. 

To Sammy Jo Cienfuegos, Sierra Rozen, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt San Martin and George Murray: You all made me feel incredibly welcomed as a freshman editor surrounded by your intimidating, brilliant minds. You all guided me as my editors, something I believe every writer longs for and deserves. I hold a special place in my heart for the sleepless production nights, when we’d stay up until 2 a.m. every Monday, filling the vacant hallway with a diverse playlist and delirious laughter from our beloved corner office. 

To our dedicated advisor, Dr. Yowell: You always knew how to reel me back in after falling down research rabbit holes and panicking during the “pandemic paper.” Keeping the newspaper alive during COVID-19 and the following half-normal months felt nearly impossible, but your guidance and redirection always reassured me. When I was overwhelmed by the state of journalism and feeling disheartened, you introduced me to Solutions Journalism and changed my outlook for the better. Bench meetings outside of Holy Cross with you and Elle Bent sparked hope in me for the revival of our paper. 

The 2021-2022 Hilltop Views editors posing in front of Main Building’s red doors.

To Elle: Your enthusiasm to bring life back into the paper with the few students on campus was like a breath of fresh air amidst keeping the paper from drowning. You made things bigger and better. 

I remember meeting Claire Lawrence, our current editor-in-chief, for the first time via Zoom when Christine and I co-edited the news section. We were scoping out interested folks in the virtual waiting room for the Involvement Fair. Claire came to the newspaper with such excitement and was eager to report. It was refreshing to (virtually) meet someone who shares the same dorky outlook about news writing. I had the honor of working with Claire as her news- and chief-editor, and now I have the honor of watching her grow as a leader. With her insightful ideas, she’s led Hilltop Views into a new era, with an even brighter future ahead. 

To Audrey, Sienna, Andrew, Kennady, Chloe and Melissa: Thank you for giving me some wonderful memories to leave the Hilltop with. In each word, design, edit and photo, you each bring abundant life into every page and even more into my life. Thank you for letting me geek out over grammar and AP Style with you.

(left to right) Life & Arts/Photo Editor Kennady Basdekis-Morin, Martinez, Editor-in-Chief Claire Lawrence, and Viewpoints Editor Sienna Wight for the 2022-2023 school year posing while at MediaFest in Washington D.C. last fall. (Courtesy of Hilltop Views)

To our beloved corner office: I’ve watched you change layouts time after time. You’re a haven for many of us, and sometimes you feel like the only possible place to get work done. Other times, you’re the last place I want to be. You’re the home of a lot of tears, much frustration and angrily-pounding keyboards; you’re the home of high-pitched excitement, celebration and growth.

Hilltop Views has challenged me like no other, allowing me the opportunity to report in Guatemala, listen to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein live in Washington D.C. with some of my best friends, and learn from the ingenious minds at Texas Monthly. My hope is that the many bright, creative students who roam this hilltop join your collaborative, welcoming space. But overall, I hope that you do for them what you did for me: invite the curious student with all of her questions into a room of thinkers ready to help her solve them. 

If I only get to have one corner office in this lifetime, I love that it was you. You’re where it all began; it’s only right that you’re where it comes to a close.

Signing off but always reading, 


Nina Martinez