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Hard-hitting journalism is still a calling for former Willistonian editor Ellie Wolfe ’19

For Ellie Wolfe ’19, asking questions and following leads (or being “really nosy and listening to people,” as she jokes) can have a huge impact. A two-year Editor-in-Chief of The Willistonian, Wolfe is now a senior and the Editor-in-Chief of The Bates Student at Bates College, where she is a history major. This summer, she is interning at the Boston Globe as a metro desk reporter, then headed to graduate school for journalism at Northwestern University.

As a journalist, Wolfe wants to be on the front lines of education journalism, covering issues like race and class equity in public schools. She already has a track record with this. A 2021 story she wrote—about alleged abuse at the hands of a Bates campus officer—led to the officer being placed on leave, as well as a new no-baton policy for campus safety officers. The story, born of Wolfe’s care and persistence, ended up on the nightly news in Maine.

Wolfe’s determination has resulted in other stories picked up by major news sources, including The Chronicle of Higher Education, which ran her piece reporting on an exodus of staff and faculty, as well as one about a Bates football coach who left suddenly and then sued for racial discrimination. Wolfe sees her work at Bates as part of a larger responsibility. “The more stories we publish that are bringing things to light on campus, the more students trust us,” she says.

Now in charge of a staff of 25, Wolfe does less writing (“mostly editing and being stressed out”), and has fond memories of her formative years at Williston. She especially credits former Willistonian advisor Adrienne (Stolarz) Mantegna ’94 for sparking her love of journalism. “She was the greatest, life-changing-est, most amazing teacher ever that I could’ve had at that time,” Wolfe says. “She said I should consider signing up for journalism. I said, ‘Yeah, maybe.’” In a meeting on the first day of tenth grade with former Academic Dean Greg Tuleja, Wolfe realized Mantegna had signed her up for journalism “without my really realizing it.” She then proceeded to take the class for the next nine trimesters, becoming Co-Editor-in-Chief her junior year and Editor-in-Chief senior year.

While Wolfe acknowledges the difficulty of making a career in the newspaper field, she is undeterred. “I just know I’d be really unsatisfied with anything else,” she says. “I love to write and read and talk to people. It’s not worth it to spend my life doing something boring.”