A farewell to the newspaper that changed me.
I was going to law school, so that meant that I was a political science major—obviously. I loved debate and politics, and that fit the political science major to a tee.
There was never really a doubt in my mind about what my future looked like; it seemed like my passions and a rich career awaited me.
Then, one day, as I was walking back from class, I saw our campus newspaper sitting on the table opened to the opinion section. The article, which I can’t remember the subject of, was something I didn’t agree with.
As the outgoing and opinionated person I am, I wanted to write the counterpoint. I figured that I couldn’t just complain about the story—I needed to put my own evidence out there. After figuring out that the way to write for the newspaper was to take a journalism class, I signed up for JOUR 119 as a second-semester freshman.
That was the beginning of a journey I could have never predicted.
After writing more opinion pieces than I expected, I was offered the job of Opinion Editor, News Editor, and eventually Editor-in-Chief.
What I haven’t mentioned, however, is that the semester I was offered the job of Opinion Editor, I also ran for Senator of Student Affairs. Just a week before I was offered the job for the newspaper, I had lost the only contested seat in SGA.
Devastated, I accepted the position not really knowing AP style as well as I should have, but eager for a job. Little did I know I would find a new passion.
As I rose through the ranks at the newspaper, I learned about how to write better stories, what it takes to be an editor and how not to use the Oxford comma. I even ended up working at the National Journalism Center in Washington D.C. this past summer.
More than anything else I did during my time at the newspaper, I am most proud of the column I started entitled “That’s Debatable”—something I hope is soon resurrected.
You see, after recognizing that opinion story that made me passionate enough to join the paper, I quickly realized that objective truth is hard to come by. Instead, I wanted to create an opinion section that did not lean one way or the other but presented an even field for both sides of the case to be shared.
That is what the news is about. We all have a perspective because we are all human. Certain issues cut us deeper than others. We are more passionate about some things than others. We simply cannot report entirely objectively because of the nature of our humanity. In short, we care.
There’s nothing wrong with that, though. It’s not bad to have bias; it’s bad to be unaware of bias. Acknowledging that there are two, if not significantly more, sides to every story is step one to being the best reporters we can be.
The truth is not subjective, and our goal should be the presentation of facts that point toward it. That does not mean our understanding of the facts leads us to the same conclusions. All we can do is hope we have presented the clearest case we were given.
I want to take a minute now just to thank the people that have walked alongside this journey with me.
First, Kent, thank you for the opportunity to fall in love with the craft of truth-telling. I didn’t know what I was capable of until you pointed it out. Jonathan, thank you for stepping in when things were crazy and we were in a transition period. Your leadership has been much appreciated. Brandon and Olivia, although you worked on the magazine and not the newspaper, I really enjoyed getting to know both of you and our slack vent sessions. Candi, thank you for being the best sports editor even when times were tough.
Megan, thank you for being flexible. As your mentor freshman year, I never knew we would grow to be great friends. You are an inspiration in carrying oneself with elegance and grace. I always knew I could count on you to edit a paper, post something on time or just listen to me complain about my issue of the week. I can think of no one better to eventually hand this paper off to. You are one of the best writers on this team with a drive and passion like no other. Thank you for all you’ve done this year.
To everyone else that works on staff, though times are crazy, it is students that make this paper run—without you, we would have nothing.
I don’t think I ever did end up writing that first op-ed. Instead, I found a new passion, made some friends and learned that God can open doors, but we have to walk through them. I wrote more papers than I ever imagined and grew my craft and leadership skills in ways I never imagined.
I never thought I would be on my school newspaper. But sometimes, when God opens a door, He has done all He can for you. At the end of the day, it is our responsibility to walk through them. I am forever grateful that I walked through this door, and I cannot wait to see what happens next for ZuNews. I hope they continue to walk through the doors God opens for them. With all my love, Godspeed.