All for the love of the game

By By Rochelle McConkie

By Rochelle McConkie

They’re probably going to have to drag me out of this place.

It’s funny to think back to the summer before my freshman year, when I got lost walking to the Union to turn in my Chronicle application after orientation. Little did I know, that quirky, asbestos-filled office would become my home away from home. (Point of clarification: We did not know it had asbestos at the time, and have since relocated to a new office, which, if you’re reading this, Whit, we’re very happy with.)

(Second editorial side note: Never end a sentence with a preposition.)

When I started my three-year run at The Daily Utah Chronicle, I was the quiet little freshman in the office8212;the token wholesome one at whom those heathen sports writers would yell demands to put on “earmuffs,” lest my ears be tainted by an onslaught of profanities. I was the fledgling reporter whom the student body president adored because I was too nice to realize that The Chronicle and the Associated Students of the University of Utah were supposed to be bitter enemies. Somehow, administrators didn’t think I was so bad either. I was a Chronicle anomaly.

But with more stories and more experience, I toughened up. I found my voice. It might have been the football to the face during a friendly game in the office gone awry, or perhaps it was being yelled at on the phone by Utah Sen. Curt Bramble, but I learned that there’s a time to laugh and let things go, and there’s a time to stand your ground. As our adviser Jim Fisher says, there’s a time to go out and commit some journalism.

Unlike a lot of people at The Chrony, I haven’t done it to get a job (considering there were jobs to be had). I’m not even a communication major. All the long hours and dropping everything to cover a story and pushing deadline8212;it’s all been for the love of the game.

Along the way, I’ve learned that some things are important. I’ll never forget interviewing a student in the halls of the Utah State Capitol who was scared to death he’d never get to college if a bill repealing the ability of undocumented students to pay in-state tuition were passed. I followed those bills to the bitter end, learning that people are not just “sources,” and journalists have to be human beings too.

Sometimes there’s controversy. Although maybe I’d like to forget being caught in the middle of a little mudslinging at the Middle East Center, I learned what it means to be balanced, even if it isn’t easy.

And for all the folks who find themselves in the paper, please remember8212;just because we don’t write a public relations story about you doesn’t mean we don’t like you.
I’ve learned to have fun and let my hair down a little. There are only so many opportunities you’ll have as a journalist to cover ninjas running for student government or describe how “the dust flew almost as much as the trash talk coming from Basim Motiwala’s mouth.”

I can’t say enough about the people I have worked with at The Chronicle. They are definitely the most eclectic, genuine people the U has to offer. Rachel, I wish you all the best. Michael, I now hand you the reigns. Keep hiding out in the bushes8212;it’ll take you places. And to everyone else, thank you. I’ll be around if you ever need an “advocate.”
It’s going to be strange picking up the newspapers next year, not having read every news story ahead of time, but it’s time to move on8212;try new things.

So this is it8212;good night, and good luck.

[email protected]

Rochelle McConkie was the news editor for 2008-2009.