Well, what do you have to say for yourself?

The final thoughts of a very happy, very tired Editor in Chief

The doors of the Reporter open at 9 a.m., but unlike many offices, it’s not until the doors shut around 4:30 that the magic really starts to roll off the presses (first metaphorically, then literally.) Over the course of two semesters, you rack up a pretty impressive number of stories, interviews, and photographs that really capture the soul of the 2015-2016 academic year, but one of the things that you won’t see within the Reporter pages is the way this student newspaper has changed student employees like me.

Starting out as a copy editor in 2013, I never expected to play such a role as Editor in Chief—this has played both against and to my favor as I have learned the ropes of mass media and student leadership. It can sometimes be overwhelming, trying to speak to 15,000+ students in just a few pages. I hope that we have helped our students promote their events and celebrate their accomplishments, and I hope we have owned up when we failed to do so.

It’s been a great year to learn here at Minnesota State University, Mankato; having a campus body that is constantly changing and putting on new events (thanks to groups like our Student Events Team) creates a fantastic environment for teaching elements of journalism, and I’m very grateful that 2015-2016 has been so full of student-focused events and projects that we have been able to highlight here at the campus paper.

Over the past ten months, through the eyes of countless papers, I have watched this news team grow into a fully-fledged group of journalists, each with their own voice and passions that have made the Reporter a better place to work, a better publication to read. An editor can only be as good as their writers, and laying eyes on so many phenomenal submissions gave me an unlimited source of material from which I could learn.

Yet, amid all the hours of learning, the team also got to spend time discussing the less refined elements of the media world and enjoying the company of one another—there is a certain sense of community that comes with burning the midnight oil together. It really isn’t the office, the title, or any of the other things that made this job worthwhile—it’s the people, the memories, and being told that you made a difference, a significant impact, in just one person’s life.

After a long and largely productive year as Editor in Chief I leave you, dear readers, in the capable hands of next year’s news team. As is tradition, I write this reflection on my last night as Editor in Chief, which means I can’t say much about my team without getting emotional, so I will just say it has been an honor and a privilege serving with this amazing team of editors and writers, and I look forward to stepping down and watching them give the newspaper their own flair.

At the helm will be EIC Matt Eberline, who has proved his skill and passion for writing and editing throughout his years at the Reporter. Your news editor, Nicole Schmidt, brings the very best in campus-based news stories and well-timed Godfather quotes. She’s also an unrivaled listener, who is passionate about her work at the Reporter and with KMSU radio. Stepping up from the position of Staff Writer and Web Editor to become the next A&E Editor, Gabe Hewitt will be offering you coverage of all things music, film, and entertainment. You can also catch him as a member of the Southern Minnesota News Project on KMSU radio. Formerly our football and baseball aficionado, Tommy Wiita will be sliding into the Sports desk to bring your updates on the Mavericks year round.

Mark Twain is credited with advising us to “never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel,” but I find myself much more inclined to use this final edition’s ink to thank a few people who have taught me a few special lessons throughout the year. Thank you to Karen Wright for your advice, mentorship, and encouragement throughout a year that brought many thankless challenges. Thank you to my team for creating a safe, positive space where I was allowed to truly be myself. Thank you to my study abroad student employees, for teaching me so much throughout your stay and enriching our whole office so much in such a short period of time.

I would also like to thank, congratulate, and give a happy send-off to our staff members who will be graduating or transferring this spring: You have all made this newspaper something to be proud of, and I hope you have all enjoyed your time working with our team as much as I have.

Student leadership may not be for everyone—who knows, maybe it wasn’t for me—but if I’ve learned anything this year, it’s the fact my most important job was to learn from other students; some who have been here for years, others able to join just for a semester, but no matter how long they were able to be here, they became a permanent part of the Reporter’s history, of my history. Students, staff, and faculty of Minnesota State University, Mankato, I have each of you to personally thank for your support, guidance, and constructive criticism this past year. I hope my work here has reflected all you have had to teach me.

Photo: We felt a lighthearted office selfie was appropriate on this, the final edition of the year. (Rae Frame/The Reporter)

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