Another year of newspaper. Another 365 days of learning by doing. Another set of unforgettable memories, skin-tingling successes and heartbreaking failures. After four spectacular years of working for the Review, I can say with bittersweet alacrity and conviction that this is my last opinion piece.
As is now tradition for my opinions and editorials, it’s probably expected that I’m going to rant and rave about how pointless Senate is or how asinine the new college tagline is. But I didn’t want my last opinion to be full of chagrin and vitriol. So, instead, this will be a thank you note and memoir wrapped up in one.
With the backdrop of graduation and retiring from editor-in-chief, I’m blessed with that perfect 20-20 hindsight that allows me to see what went right, what went wrong and all the intricacies in between. Don’t get me wrong: I’m far from infallible. Hell, I’ve screwed up more than I would like to admit. And as editor-in-chief of the Review (which runs through nearly 1,300 copies a week, so I know it’s read), my mistakes are broadcasted to the campus at-large (and then to everyone who reads the Review online).
I’ve never been self-conscious, as those close to me can attest, and working for the newspaper has endowed me with a thick skin. Regardless, I accept all responsibility for every mistake made this year. Yes, I have a staff of writers, photographers and editors that work to get the newspaper to you every week, but when it comes right down to it, I’m the last one to see the paper before it goes to print. It makes for rough Thursday nights.
For the first half of this year, we operated in such a way that things got done, but there was never any motivation to do more, no desire to exceed expectations. It was more about the destination than the journey. It only got worse as December drew near. The atmosphere became toxic, and it was no longer a fun place to work. I won’t go into why, but after break, things settled down a bit. I reorganized the staff, added new positions, hired new people and pushed the online version of the Review even harder. It was a different ballgame. And it’s the second semester of this year that I will always remember.
The staff opened up. It became a fun work environment again. I can’t speak for everyone, but I eagerly looked forward to Thursday nights. (Yes, I griped about being awake until some God-awful hour Friday morning, but there was no other place I’d rather be.) People pushed themselves to become better editors, and things just clicked. It was pretty cool. And it showed, too, as a majority of the non-graduating editors decided to re-apply and stay on staff, either in the same capacity or in a different position. I was once told that the greatest legacy an editor can leave behind is a staff for the next year, eager and willing to make the Review better than ever. Only time can tell, but I’m confident that I did that.
I would like to offer the most heartfelt, sincere thank you to the staff that put up with me for nine months. I’m hardly an easy person to be around, but only two editors quit this year (one features and one managing). And when the managing editor quit, leaving me without a managing editor (who is second in command of the newsroom), I have to admit I was seriously dismayed. But lo and behold, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. To take her place was Kelley Hungerford, the incoming editor-in-chief of the Review. And, in all honesty, I cannot be happier with that turn of events. Sure, we have had our disagreements, but we worked through them without giving up or harboring ill wishes, and I believe we have become better editors because of it.
However, I have more editors now than what I began with, so I consider that a net gain, a success in real human capital. (My roommate is an economics major, so you’ll have to forgive the terminology.)
So, I have some personal thanks to give out:
To Kelley: Thank you for the amazing work you have done this year, and I’m truthful in saying that I couldn’t have done it without you. You’ll do amazing things next year (if you don’t burn down the lab in my absence first), and I look forward to getting the newspaper every week. I wish you the best of luck, and I hope you succeed in all your ambitious plans. The Review is lucky to have you at its heart.
To Grant Lucas: You have been the most amazing sports editor the Review has had since I’ve been on staff (since 2006). You challenged me and pushed me to learn more about sports than I ever wanted to. Your section was above and beyond the best section in the newspaper week after week. If it seems as though I didn’t give your section as much attention as you thought I should have, it’s because I knew that I didn’t have to with you at its helm. You’ll go far in sports writing, and I am proud to know that I got to work with you.
To Aaron Cody: Without you, the now award-winning Review website would have been naught but a dream. As online editor, you succeeded in so many ways. You took a nearly defunct website and turned it into a fluid, interactive piece of art — something that I am immensely proud of. I brag about our website, and it’s because of you that I get to do so. You had a vision, and you made it happen. You good-naturedly incorporated as many of my crazy ideas as you could, and you humored me when I rambled on about something that made no sense. You, my friend, deserved that ONPA award more than you’ll ever know.
To Megan Myer: I can’t begin to thank you for all the amazing photos you have taken (and graphics made to boot) for the Review. The Review would have been an empty husk without the hundreds of photos you took. I know I asked a lot of you, far more than I had any right to, but you performed an exemplary job. For that, I thank you.
To the rest of my staff (who probably hates me now because I didn’t mention them by name): From the bottom of my non-existent heart, I thank you for the work you did this year. And no, I don’t hate you as much as I said I did. I wish you all the best of luck in whatever endeavors you decide to partake in. Take what you learned at the Review and use it to your advantage. I know damn well it wasn’t the paycheck that kept you here.
So, in essence, it’s been a long year, one I would never want to repeat, but I will forever remember my experience as editor-in-chief of the Review with respect, and I will always have a high opinion of the Review. (I think it’s safe to say where my donation money is going to after I graduate.) This paper shaped me in an unexpected way, in a positive way, and I hope it continues to be a valuable facet of the college and for students in the years to come.
And now, as tradition dictates: Mer cat.
The Linfield Review,
Editor-in-chief Dominic Baez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org