Being editor-in-chief of The Setonian is one of the most rewarding experiences a journalism student could ask for. Having said that, I welcomed my successor, Katelyn with open arms. One year of stress is enough but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. A few weeks ago, I looked through some of our back issues from my time as editor as I prepared to submit the Setonian into a national contest.
I am amazed at our growth.
One of the first changes I implemented was a complete redeisgn of the layout and elements within the paper. We were holding onto a design that was decades old and no longer suited our readers’ needs. With the help of some staff members, we transformed the Setonian into an attractive newspaper that in turn recruited new readers as well as writers.
When I began as editor, I don’t want to say we were in terrible shape, but the paper’s staff list was pretty short. Already, Katy had recruited a few of her friends as I had but the big surprises came as the semester went on and we continued to grow. This past semester, we welcomed two new staff members who are already going to take positions of leadership in the spring.
When I look back at all that we accomplished, one event, one issue stands out— 9/11. I led a group of my most experienced journalists to Shanksville, Pa to witness the dedication of the momument for the heroes of Flight 93. While there, we shot video and photos, recorded audio and caught a glimpse of President Obama. After the close of the ceremonies, we even interviewed a few of the family members who lost loved ones on Flight 93.
This experience, above all, has prepared me for the real world. I not only took my journalism buddies to the event but also communicated with the media relations department to secure four press passes for our trip. What made it even more rewarding was we made the trip on Katy’s birthday and I’m sure it will be a lasting memory for all of us.
The experience itself was moving. We met people and cried with them as they shared their stories. By the end of the day, we were all in need of a decent nap after such an emotionally trying day.
As last semester came to a close, I felt hesitant at the thought of giving up my position as editor. I worked very hard to get the paper where it stands today but I realize that giving up something that I love will open additional doors for me. While I was editor, I had less time to write news, reviews or even write about whatever I feel passionate about. Editors are leaders, not writers—except for writing the staff editorial.
Now, as a senior staff writer, I have even more room for growth as I begin my own column—a how-to guide on being a successful and busy student on campus.
We’re also looking forward to a special issue of the Setonian in May: a magazine-style issue for Graduation. I’ll be heading that project as well. Because of that committment, I felt a little more relaxed at the thought of giving up my title as editor-in-chief. For the magazine, I’ll have a new title, publishing editor, because I’ll be in charge of most of the mechanics, layout, story selection, etc. while Katy concentrates on her new baby, The 2012 Setonian.
So congrats to my successor. I’m sure you’ll be an even better editor than I was (because you’re so organized and driven). I look forward to writing for you and for continuing to see the Setonian grow. I wonder where we’ll all go next.