Goodbye, Reporter: Luke Lonien’s hanging up his hat

I was sitting in my neighbors’ basement back in Stewartville, wondering what to do with my life. I was just about to finish up my second year at Rochester Community and Technical College and I needed to find a college to transfer to.

There were a couple places that I wanted to go to: Winona State, Upper Iowa and Minnesota State University, Mankato.

I never visited a college. I didn’t care about what the school looked like. I wanted to know two things: if they had a communications program and if it was good.

I heard through the grapevine that MSU had a solid program. My neighbor, Erik, went to school at South Central College and lived in Mankato during the school days. He and his roommate at the time, Alex, were looking for another roommate to live with them the next year.

I jumped on the opportunity right away, and haven’t regretted the decision for one second.

My first time on campus was during orientation. I liked the campus, but again, I signed my leases without looking at anything. Maybe it was dumb, but I did it anyway. I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to live with one of my best friends, and it turns out I got a couple more great friends out of the deal.

The first days of classes I walked into the Reporter’s office to get a job as a Sports Staff Writer. I’m very thankful to Schuyler Houtsma for giving me the opportunity to write, and Joey Denton, my first Sports Editor, for teaching me the ins and outs of the sports media world.

The Reporter provided opportunities for me that no other place could; it gave me a stepping-stone to help my writing career takeoff. Where it will go? I have no idea, but I do know that the Reporter gave me a chance, and that is something no other place would have done. I had no writing experience going into this. But, I wanted to learn and the Reporter gave me a chance to do that. It made me a better writer.

My roommates were very supportive of me. I always read my articles out loud to them. I do not know why they listened, but they did. They told me what they liked and what they didn’t. I couldn’t have asked for better roommates. Alex, Erik and Drew, thank you. Fantasy Football will never be the same without you guys to chat with everyday.

They gave me a lot of grief, but it was worth it every time. It was fun; they kept me striving to be better. They shared articles I posted and gave me confidence.

My girlfriend, Nicole, always read my stuff, too. It’s encouraging and fulfilling to have someone who means that much to you acknowledge that they read something that you wrote. It is a phenomenal feeling. For that, I thank her.

The sports section is nothing without a talented group of writers: Tommy, Corey, Kelcie, Eric and Drew. They kicked butt. It’s blunt, but it’s true. I never had to worry about them, or their writing, because I knew it was going to be good. Keep it going next year.

Long nights in the office were never a problem. Rae, Matty and Nicole were great to be around. They always laughed at my jokes, which isn’t easy to do. They made it feel a lot less like work. They made it fun. I will remember a lot of days in that office chair, jumping into conversations randomly that I was never apart of. I apologize for that; it was only in good fun.

If anybody needed anything done in the office, Yohanes Ashenafi is the man to call. Always ready for any task, Ashenafi is the glue that held the Reporter together. Thank you, Ashenafi for making this year great and keeping the mood light when things seemed to go into the dump.

I was very excited to get the chance to be the Sports Editor, and I had one goal as the editor: make the paper better than it was when I got there.

Joey and Derek did great work. The Reporter was already a great paper before I got the opportunity, but I wanted it to keep getting better. I hope the next editor, and the editor after that, strive to do the same.
Did I make the paper better? I’m not sure. I like to think I did, but that is for others to decide.
For those who read my work, who laughed, who were critical, thank you. Even if you think I am the worst writer ever, which is very possible, thank you.

Thank you, Reporter, for giving me a chance.

Luke Lonien

Luke is the Sports Editor at the MSU Reporter. Luke has a passion for sports along with writing about them. Follow him on Twitter for his expert (sort of) opinions on everything sports related at @llonien20.

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