Letting Go of Your College Newspaper

On my last official day as editor in chief of the Alestle, I refused to turn in my office keys until I left for the last time. As childish as that sounds, that just shows how much I didn’t want to leave the paper. And as I’m writing, a certain U2 song comes to mind… ignoring the “love” aspect, of course.

Anyway, back to my point. Even though I was looking forward to graduating and starting a new job, I didn’t want to leave the Alestle. I didn’t want to leave Edwardsville. I didn’t want to leave my friends — most of them worked at the Alestle. I didn’t want to leave with so much left undone.

As graduation got closer, I slowly started to realize there was so much more I wanted to do. I wanted to keep improving the paper. I didn’t even have a full year to make changes, help new reporters, work with new editors, etc. Everything I had worked for was just being left. Incomplete. Unfinished. Halfway finished. And I hated it.

But, obviously I had to snap out of it and get to work a couple weeks later, which I did. But I’ve spent so much time comparing my current newsroom to my college newsroom. The atmosphere is different. The conversation is different. The memories… it’s all different. Not necessarily bad-different. Just…  sad-nostalgic-different.

And I went back a few times to help with the transition for the new editor in chief. It was fun to go back and get thrown into the rush of deadline in the same newsroom that I walked out of stressed and near-tears so many times. (Yeah, I realize how weird that sounds.) It felt like I was in the right place.

But the last time I went to visit, it was different. Everyone was busy. They were rushing in and out of the office between classes, getting assignments ready for the next week, figuring out class schedules. And I realized, I don’t belong here anymore. As much as I love the Alestle, and as much as I want to see everyone on staff (editors now, but just baby reporters a year and a half ago) succeed and make the paper the best it can be, I know I need to leave it alone.

It’s not my place to critique, suggest, criticize or edit. I did my part while I was there. I didn’t have former editors lurking around trying to relive their glory days. And I don’t want to be that former editor. A visit every now and then? That’s totally cool. But to visit. Not to do any hands-on assisting with the paper itself.

It’s their turn to do things. And I know they’ll do them well. Sure, there will be some screw ups along the way — I know I had my fair share of them. But it’s part of the process.

And, now that I’ve written a completely cheesy and totally sappy blog post, I think it’s important to point out that, despite what the general public says, JOURNALISTS ARE NOT UNEMOTIONAL. WE HAVE FEELINGS! They’re just covered underneath many layers of newsprint and pica poles…


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