Thursday, May 3, 2012

What's all this now? A final page to close a chapter of my life?

When I left my college's newspaper at the end of 2011, there really wasn't much left for me. I had nearly tripled paid employment, saw the budget through a $60,000 debt, and became the first Editor-in-Chief in the paper's history to win multiple awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.

I had learned so much, and in all honesty, staying one more semester in any capacity would have been less about learning (which is the purpose of a student newspaper) and more about passing on information. I love journalism and learning about it. As such, leaving for a job where there was still room to learn really wasn't even a question once it was my presence would do little more than stunt the growth of my successor.

The one downside, however, is that I didn't get to publish my outgoing editorial (known at the paper as a "Chief Insight" when only the EIC writes it). Since this is a general blog still, though, I will post it here.

I wanted to make a memorable gimmick, so there are a lot of Beatles references. Try to count them all!

More importantly, I did make a few edits, but it is essentially identical to the draft and has the same points of advice.

But that will be posted in my next blog post. Something must be done first.

I wanted the piece to be my parting words for a campus, so there's not much in the way of thank yous there. As such, I am going to do that here:

The first person I need to thank is April Corbin, the editor-in-chief who took my application. If there's one thing I learned in my time at The Rebel Yell, it's that new writers have no idea what to expect and the attitude of the editor they talk to can decide whether they stay or seek other options.

When I thought about how I needed to treat new people, I looked to the way you talked to me and recruited. Add in all the areas where you helped me after I became EIC, and you really did have an impact on my work.

Next up is Matt Maxson, Sports Editor that year and my first editor. The skills you taught me early on about game reporting are still used by me today. Moreover, you taught me the importance of keeping on a deadline and made me always strive to reach them as often as I could.

To Jorge Labrador, my EIC predecessor, what can I say, you got me back into comics (which in itself deserves a medal). But most importantly, you had faith in the job I did and gave me responsibilities my second semester with you that gave me the confidence of a leader. I felt ready to take on the EIC job because you helped make me ready to do so.

To Yamini Piplani, my first Managing Editor, you epitomized what that position needs to be. You always acted in the best interests of the paper and were able to cover areas where I was weaker while making sure I knew how to do it when you left. You were willing to debate me when we disagreed, but in any case, you spoke vehemently as to the merits of our decision to anyone who detracted. I gained so much of my strength to manage through working with you.

To Leslie Ventura, you worked with me on more issues than any other staffer, and it was an absolute pleasure working with you. Whether it was single-handedly running the News section or taking the Arts & Entertainment section to new heights, you showed tremendous growth and evolution over your career. I know you'll have great success, and I can honestly say you are the model as to what a collegiate newspaper staffer should be.

To Maria Agreda (sorry, the computer won't allow me to do an accent mark for some reason), HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! SUCKER!

In all seriousness, though, congrats on winning the position for next year. It's absolutely well-deserved. I know how much you put into your News section and the SPJ award reflects it. I know you're entering with some challenges, but get the right person at your right hand and you'll be fine. Best of luck and don't stress; once you start having success, your detractors ... well, they'll get louder, but they won't have much of a leg to stand on :D

To Rick Velotta, Mary Hausch, Steve Sebelius, Catherine Bacos, Dave Nourse and Damon Seiters: Thank you all for teaching me the many varied skills that I was able to use both in the paper and in my other jobs. I am the journalist I am because of all of you. (and other professors. Thank you all too.)

Most of all, I want to thank the readers of the paper. You all are the reason I worked my butt off for seven semesters across multiple capacities: to provide you campus information. I know there were at least 2,000 of you at any one time, and when this paper was bad, you made sure I knew it. I might not have been as driven to produce a great product if not for all your support. Though the pickup I observed recently indicates many of you have left, I hope you all keep being discerning readers because you're that drive that makes layouts work to be a little crisper, stories to be more reader-driven and copy to be cleaner.

I could go through everyone else, but this blog is getting too long already, so I'll list as many as I can here and give a general message:

To Pashtana Usufzy, Maria Roncal, Eric Loy, Sage Sammons, Lisa Rush, Nikki Villoria, Jen Miller, Tiffany Allen, Haley Etchison, Maddie Edgerton, Vanessa Jaramillo-Cano (Gomez), Chris Dinh, Quinton San Diego, Samantha Lantefield, Pamela Williams (now Harmer), Jamie Bichelman, Ian Whitaker, Nathan Warner, Keith Nathan, Alexia Gyorody, Hannah Birch, Blaire Ritter, Steven Slivka, Alexi Layton, Danny Webster, Cole Peterson, Dany Haniff, Katrina Concepcion, Rob Ponte, Holly Walker, Kristen Stein, Lucy Glover, Priya Mathews, David Cleveland, Julie Ann Formoso, Matthew Jarzen (of Course!), Garrett Estrada, Shevelle Chambers, all the writers and photographers I missed and all the sources I've met:

(Breathes deeply to catch breath)

Thank you all for working with me in whatever capacity you did during my time at UNLV. It was a joy knowing all of you.

I realize I left some of you on any variety of terms ranging from excellent to poor, but know this: No matter what I consider you important to my life. If you're on good terms, sorry I couldn't give a more in-depth piece on you; if you're on bad terms, I am a person who doesn't hold grudges, and if you want to put the past away, all you need to do is ask; if you're on indifferent terms, well, you probably found this Googling your name and it's six months from now - GREETINGS FROM THE PAST!

In closing, I've been loved and hated throughout my collegiate career, which is the mark of either a really good or bad leader, and I'm grateful to be able to look at those I employed and what we accomplished and know where I stand. I'll leave you with my favorite Bible verse, though for those who aren't Christian, I'll secularize it right after

"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience." - James 1:2-3

Do not fear adversity, because through it you become a stronger, better person. - Sean's horribly simplified paraphrases #1.

I wish you all the best, and good luck to you all!

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