I've gone to class on a lot of days when my articles were on the front page of The Daily Cardinal, but nobody read them. And there have been days when I've taken four or five Cardinals off the rack just to see the pile go down.
More than once, I've overheard that for this reason or that reason the Badger Herald is better than the Cardinal. And more than twice I've given serious thought to throwing entire racks full of unread Heralds into the trash; but I'm OK.
I'm OK, but it matters to me that every time in the last three years that I've walked into a lecture hall or classroom I've counted the number of people reading the Cardinal and estimated the larger number of Herald readers.
I still count, and I'm recounting, and it still bothers me sometimes. It still frustrates me, but it's my life, and this is my fourth and final year at The Daily Cardinal. This is the year it all comes down to.
I began working for the Cardinal before I ever went to a class here at UW-Madison. At that time, I didn't know which paper had more readers. I just knew the Herald was bigger, and that didn't mean anything to me at all.
From the start the Cardinal appealed to me, and on the day before classes began in the fall of 1998, I went down to the Cardinal office to write a story that ran in the paper on the first day of my freshman year. I was nervous that day, and my story wasn't much good, but no one read it anyway.
Nevertheless, I put everything I had into that first story. And, I'm still putting everything I can into my stories on the off chance that they might turn one new reader on to the Cardinal, but sometimes I don't know if I can do it.
Really, I don't know what I should be doing, and I don't know what we at the Cardinal should be doing. We try and we think and we make progress, and that's why I write for the Cardinal'but that isn't half the reason.
People ask me all the time why I write for the Cardinal, and I never have much of an answer. I can't answer, because it's not a fair question to me. If I could answer in two sentences, then maybe everyone would understand and everyone would work for the Cardinal, but it's not like that.
I just have a feeling, and it's a good feeling, and a lot of people probably wouldn't agree. A lot of people probably look to things more unequivocal than a feeling, but a feeling is all I can ever really trust.
Ever since my first day here I've had a feeling that something is going to just barely turn out for the best, and I think it's been that way. And, I think it's going to continue to be that way but better, and I really wouldn't want it any other way.