Saturday, April 13, 2013

My Last Days as Editor: I'm Done

I've had my last production day. I've had my last day at the office. Tonight, I'll attend my last Reflector banquet. And then, in several weeks, I'll graduate and leave Mississippi State. And several months later, I'll leave Mississippi for the foreseeable future.

I will say this: I believe the 2012-2013's staff put out a very good last edition together. And I'm sure the staff will produce three final issues before we wrap up the school year. And it's weird to think I won't be in that newsroom spending time with them, editing with a stolen pen, and complaining about a lack of graphic elements on a page.

And, although our friendships won't end with a goodbye to the newspaper or a goodbye as we move away, I'll miss seeing the staff every day. Because they are some of my very best friends. They're some of the kindest, most intelligent, empathetic, and generally cool people I've ever met. And they're all pretty talented and hard working too.

The main reason I don't want to grow up: this year.
I have every confidence the new editorial board will be great. And maybe they won't mind if I come back to visit on occasion. But it's not my paper anymore. And all I have left now are the memories (and all of the copies of the newspaper I have saved over the years).

Moving on is hard, but life requires you to move forward. It requires you to be brave and hardworking and strong. I never imagined I would be the editor in chief of my university newspaper. I never thought I would cover half the stories I did. I never thought I would find the family I did when I joined the newspaper staff. But I did.

So thank you to the 2012-2013 editorial board, thank you to the entire staff, thank you to all of the former editors who have supported me — even if you only knew me because I was in a position you held five years before.

Especially thank you to Kyle Wrather, the 2010 editor in chief. He has always been there to when I've needed advice. He has helped me by providing story, design, and photo ideas. When I served as entertainment editor under him, he made me better. And he made me want to make others better.

Thank you to Aubra Whitten, the 2009-2010 managing editor. When I was a freshman, I wanted to grow up to be just like her. She and Kyle both supported the staff through a hard time, and I still remember how she handled the situation. She was the first person to really believe in me as a journalist, and I'll always remember and appreciate that.

April Windham, the 2010-2011 editor in chief, encouraged me to apply for her job. She believed in me and supported my ideas. She also is one of my best friends, and she has listened to me not only rant or freak out about the occasional newspaper problem but has listened to me no matter what the subject. 

Bob Carskadon may have left his position as sports editor in 2011, but we still remember him. Bob did something more important than write great stories (although he did that too) — he educated young writers and inspired them. Two of my editors started writing for him. When I point to sports stories we should aspire to be like, I point to Bob's blog.

And I would like to thank Mary Chase Breedlove, Dr. Carskadon, Dr. McCarley, and Stacey Mann. I was afraid to apply to write for The Reflector, but they encouraged me at various points throughout my first semester. 

I would also like to thank the past and present publication boards. Whit Waide, who served as the chair my first year as editor, was very passionate about the newspaper and Mississippi State. He encouraged me, and I appreciated his advice. Dr. Strout, our current chair, has been a great asset and also teaches a great law class. And Scott Boyd, Harriet Laird, the Student Association members, representatives from The Reveille, and our other members have been helpful and encouraging.

Maridith Geuder, who served as head of university relations until this fall, was a constant source of help to me. She handled crisis situations with aplomb and always had time for me — even when I was just visiting.

The Student Association members whom I've worked with, most notably Shelby Balius, Rhett Hobart, Thomas Sellers, and Morgan McDowell, have been helpful to the newspaper in our collective effort to serve the students.

I would also like to thank Dr. Anderson, Dr. Marsh, Dr. Creevy, Dr. Claggett, and Dr. Snyder — without your English and humanities class, I would have never gotten into grad school and because of them, I have learned to think more critically. English has made me a better journalist.

And to the entire English and Communication Departments: Thank you. And to the Shackouls Honors College: Thank you for giving me so many good writers.

Thank you to Mississippi State's faculty, administration, and staff.  And thank you to the MSU and Starkville police departments. I appreciate your service and your willingness to work with The Reflector.

And thank you to my friends and family who either encouraged me or helped me. You're the best.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me and The Reflector this year and in previous years. You made the newspaper worth reading.

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