Anyone who knows me knows that I obsessively write down everything in calendars and lists. I tend to know what’s going on, when things are due and am obsessively on time. But three years ago, I wrote down the date of The Daily Cardinal’s fall recruitment meeting wrong in my calendar and showed up at the office desperately wanting to write anything and to find a place to belong. Writing down the meeting date wrong was probably one of the best things that happened to me because I showed up to 2142 Vilas and met some people who convinced me I could belong at The Daily Cardinal.
After a whirlwind three years of basically living in the Cardinal office, I am ending my tenure as editor-in-chief. As a woman of few emotions, I can honestly say I don’t really know how to feel about the fact that Sunday’s news meeting was the last news meeting I will be required to be at. After six semesters of feeling pulled to the Cardinal newsroom at exactly 4 p.m. every day, it will take awhile for me to realize there are other things to do in the afternoon.
But what I do know is that I feel extremely lucky. Despite all the challenges, stressful moments and spilled cups of coffee (of which there were many), I feel lucky that for a brief time I was a part of a 122-year-old institution. For better or for worse, we stand on the shoulders of all the past Cardinal editors before us, and I hope that this year has made them proud to be a part of The Daily Cardinal’s legacy.
On that note, I also hope that managing editor Mara Jezior and I have strengthened the paper and can leave the paper better than it was in the hands of the more than capable incoming Editor-in-Chief Jack Casey and incoming Managing Editor Jonah Beleckis. I am very excited to see how the J-team improves and builds upon what Mara and I worked to accomplish this year. As long as no one holds them back if they decide to yell at people on porches, they’ll be great.
In the fast-paced environment that makes up newspaper culture, it is rare that we can take the time to step back and reflect. Working at a newspaper requires the ability to constantly ask questions and make many decisions under a weight of pressures. In the news industry, we are accustomed to always looking ahead to the next big story, the next big idea and the next innovative project. Why look back on yesterday’s news, when we need to cover today’s news? Despite the instinct to constantly look ahead to what’s next, it is good to reflect on where we’ve been so we can move forward.
The best part about making newspapers and working at The Daily Cardinal is that no matter what happens throughout the course of a night, you know there has to be an issue on stands and content online in the morning. It doesn’t matter how many times you have to change rank, how many sources don’t call back, how many times InDesign crashes or how often you feel the situation is impossible. There comes a moment where you dare the world to throw one more problem at you because you can’t imagine life getting any more difficult. But then you take a deep breath, or in my case, drink another cup of coffee and get to work.
Abby is a junior majoring in journalism and has a penchant for spilling coffee all over herself. Have any advice for her? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.