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  • Writer's pictureLJ VP LAFIURA

Student Media Hall of Fame’s Zac Vierra: A forward-thinker

The Student Media Hall of Fame has recently inducted Zac Vierra (’13). The fledgling movement seeks to pay homage to the student-leaders who have made great contributions to WLAS, the 1851 Chronicle, and Lasell Community Television. In his time, Vierra served as the co-editor-in-chief of the 1851 Chronicle and propelled the organization into the new age of digital journalism.

Growing up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Vierra had a deep love for sports throughout his life. He began his career in journalism with his high school newspaper and posted different sports-related content to the then-fledgling venture, Facebook. Vierra did not receive much of his formal journalism training until he arrived on campus in 2009 and joined the 1851 Chronicle. 

As a first-year, Vierra got his first experience pitching and covering impactful breaking news. Coming back from a break, he got a tip on instances of theft within Woodland Hall.

“It was a huge breaking news story on campus that a bunch of people on campus got their stuff stolen,” Vierra said. “Kind of showing the power of journalism, that putting this out there and interviewing people at the school, they ended up going through the cameras and got those people caught.”

Vierra became increasingly involved in the 1851 Chronicle from the moment he stepped on campus, as well as with the club rugby team. Vierra accepted more responsibility within the organization as well, starting with a place on the crime beat during his sophomore year. This involved regularly reading the Campus Police crime log, and searching for any occurances of consequence and impact newsworthy for inclusion within the paper.

Vierra also spent time as the sports editor before assuming the organization’s top role.

The time Vierra spent with Professor Emerita Marie Franklin was among the most important and influential he had. 

“I met her at the first-ever tour I had,” Vierra said. “She’s been a huge mentor to me not just professionally, but personally. She is still a very close friend.”

Franklin consistently pushed Vierra’s work to be at its very best. Vierra recalled doing an honors component project with Franklin shortly after his return from his time abroad studying in Rome, Italy. 

“[Rome] was the best time of my life and I was really slacking on stuff,” Vierra said. “She taught me that if you’re going to do anything you need to put full effort into it and just because we have a good relationship and you know me doesn’t mean I’m going to accept your bad work.”

The early last decade was a time of great change and insecurity for the journalism industry as Vierra himself described. The growth of websites and online information dissemination platforms such as Facebook and Twitter meant that the industry and what it meant to be a journalist was amid an irreversible shift. Under Vierra’s leadership, the 1851 Chronicle stood at the forefront of this transformation, pushing their website and expanding the paper into more digital exclusive, and multimedia content.

Since graduating, Vierra has delved into the digital world he introduced the 1851 Chronicle. Leaving directly from school, Vierra spent two years in baseball media relations with the Helena Brewers and Juniper Hammerheads. This led him to work in social media for the New York Mets and eventually Major League Baseball where he manages their social media accounts, and has curated content for other baseball teams in the past. He continues to be a kind and supportive presence for all Lasers who reach out, especially members of the 1851 Chronicle.

The Student Media Hall of Fame is proud to induct an alumni who pushed their organization into new frontiers within its industry.

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