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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, June 22, 2024

Outgoing Editor-in-Chief Scott Girard bids us adieu

Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the greatest people at this university. I am lucky I stumbled into this place, and any of you who get the chance to join the staff at this paper during your time here should jump at the chance.

Day after day, they made this 121-year-old institution, and me, look good. Did it always turn out how we planned? Far from it. There were disagreements, miscommunications and mistakes. But that’s the most beautiful thing about what this newspaper offers: a chance to learn.

We learn how to write a story, shoot a photograph, design a page and even interview Bo Ryan. We learn how to work respectfully with others, how to handle conflict and how to think big. Some of us even learn how to shotgun a beer.

For 10, 20, 30, 40 or more hours a week, without pay, these people sit in a dark, windowless office and make a newspaper. The only rewards are what sits on the newsstand the next day (and even then we have about 24 hours before that disappears from campus) and watching a new, young writer grow into an experienced reporter or photographer. It’s an absolutely unbelievable, inspiring process to witness everyday.

Class takes a backseat for the staff here. So does sleep. The paper often comes first, second and third.

This year, we were lucky to have the opportunity to cover the following: a presidential election, two visits from the sitting president, a third consecutive trip to the Rose Bowl for the Badgers, the search for and selection of a new chancellor, the changes in the Mifflin Street Block Party and the Revelry festival that came with it, a sit-in at the chancellor’s office and even the state’s new wolf hunt.

That’s a list some reporters don’t see in their entire career, and we got it all in a single year as student journalists. At every turn, we had successes, and we made mistakes. But each time, we learned and grew from the decisions we made and the deadlines we missed.

I will likely never again work in an office in which we all sing Backstreet Boys at one in the morning while waiting for that last story to come in, or where the question “Is an animal cracker a cracker or a cookie?” becomes a heated, year-long debate (for the record, it’s a cracker). But that’s what makes this paper, and this setting, so amazing. We all have fun while putting out an award-winning product day after day.

And every morning, we learned from the stories we missed that The Badger Herald got, or from the stories they missed that we had. That competition made us better every day, and I’m sure it did the same for them. It’s a unique opportunity to compete for student readers on a college campus. We were the only campus in the country with two daily, independent student newspapers. While that will no longer be true, I know the competition will continue online and in print.

As I just mentioned, this paper and journalism on this campus are entering one of the most important times in its long history. But, Abby Becker, our incoming editor in chief, and Mara Jezior, our incoming managing editor, could not be more suited to meet the challenge. I could not be happier with them at the helm of this paper next year, and cannot wait to look back as a proud alumnus and see their successes.

Thank you to all of the students, faculty and community members who read this paper throughout the year. Whether on a daily basis or even if this is your first Daily Cardinal, we appreciate your readership and enjoyed hearing from you whenever you had feedback for us.

And, finally, thank you to this staff for the opportunity to learn from each and every one of you every day and have a fantastic time while doing it. There is no way to truly explain what you all taught me about journalism, teamwork and life in general. I will miss the Thursday nights in the office and the debates over whether to run an article or not. But know that you all are a part of my life forever. You kept me coming back to the office every day, in a good mood at that, and nothing that we did this year happens without your insane work ethic and passion for this paper. It was an honor and a privilege to be your editor-in-chief.

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