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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

women’s history month

Sometimes life’s roads are taken by choice; sometimes destiny, but for Kathleen McElroy, Class of 1981, the road she followed was accidental.
McElroy, originally from Houston, Texas, ended up at the New York Times 10 years after studying broadcast journalism at Texas A&M.
“It wasn’t my intention when I was at A&M to end up being at the Times. I wanted to be a sportscaster, but here I am,” she said as she laughed aloud.
Sometimes the love for the game can’t always be followed. Her admiration for sports, however, led her to where she is today.
“I’d wanted to be in sports since I was in the fourth grade; I just had no athletic ability,” she said.
Though sports was her true love and her desire, chasing the dream and covering the Olympics was not the easiest, she said.
“I just worked 19 hours of 24 and you really don’t get to see all the things you want to see. It’s a different thing being a sports fan and working in sports. If you like sports, you will spend time doing things you don’t enjoy more than things you do enjoy,” she said.
She worked at the Times as an on-site editor in the 1996 Atlanta and 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Before her time at the Times, she was a copy editor, along with slot editor for Newsday. She also worked at The National.
“[The National was] in a building and it was 666 Fifth Ave. Maybe being from the south, 666 is not a good sign, but everybody went out on expensive lunches,” McElroy said. “It was a big, expensive, all-star staff and people would go on big expensive lunches and apparently we spent $150M in 18 months and went out of business, so that was fun. It was loony, but it was fun.”
Her road to New York, she described, was full of education from previous co-workers and towns she had worked in.
“I am just so lucky that I have been surrounded by really good, nurturing people so I learned a little bit of something everywhere. You come into a place with a sum of all your other experiences,” she said.
McElroy said every place she has worked she has learned something and taken that knowledge to her next place of employment.
“I don’t think I would have made it here without my work at Bryan, Huntsville and Austin. To be honest, I could have stayed at any of those places. They are all fine publications. The New York Times is a wonderful place and one of the things I love about it is that it’s in New York,” McElroy said.
Her adoration of New York comes from the fact that driving is not a requirement. This stems from the fact that she did not learn drive until she needed to drive cross-country to go to New York.
Since she’s fond of tennis and New York, the U.S. Open being in New York doesn’t hurt her love of the city.
She is deputy editor of web-newsroom operation.
Because there is a consistent need for layoffs in the journalism industry, staying afloat amid the constant ebb in the economy is what McElroy has managed.
“I just feel really fortunate. I think at least at the Times, the people that have left, I think left because they wanted to go into different businesses. I don’t know if there’s a lot an individual can do to make himself more ’employable’ (quote-unquote) in the eyes of his boss,” she said.
Starting out, she became aware there were things she could do to maintain employment, even move up the ladder in the newsroom.
“I like to say that editing is like being an offensive lineman because back in the day every newspaper needed editors. You were definitely needed,” she said.
Having several years of experience behind her and being able to pass the copy editing test, she got the job of editor at the Times and was able to move up.
Being in the media doesn’t deter the way she feels about journalism. She is studying race and media at New York University focusing on the Civil Rights Movement.
“I’m just doing this for fun and I would love to teach one day,” she said.
She said her desire to teach would take her to a college town because she loves the environment.
“I had wonderful teachers, I really did. And I had wonderful colleagues at The Battalion who put up with me. I learned a lot from them. I just really like it. I love college towns. And the decision I made at 17, I don’t regret at 50,” McElroy said.
The decision was A&M over Princeton or the University of Texas. She didn’t apply to many schools, but said A&M was a challenge then and still is.
“One day I shall get my thesis. That will probably be this year,” she said.

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