You never truly move on from The Chrony

By By Lana Groves

By Lana Groves

When I came to the U four years ago, I had big dreams of completing my doctorate in European history and teaching to a bunch of idiotic college students falling asleep in class and making up excuses about their roommate barfing on their homework.

All that changed when I started writing for The Daily Utah Chronicle. The U’s school newspaper seemed like an adventure for a freshman history major who spent three years of high school writing for the Davis County Clipper and Northridge High School’s yearbook.

My first story was about an intramural field badly in need of construction. The field was poorly designed and built on top of a parking lot which construction crews failed to take up, despite common sense. I was excited to be the first to report this to U students who couldn’t use the field when rain flooded it. The silent thrill rushed through me, and I was hooked on journalism.

I added mass communication on for a double major and proudly referred to myself as a student reporter. I left The Chronicle for a year to study abroad in England, an enriching experience I’ll never forget. Upon returning to the U’s dry campus in 2007, I immediately starting writing full-time for the school newspaper, covering science topics, right as U human genetics researcher Mario Capecchi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology8212;the first U faculty member to receive such an honor. I fell in love with science writing. I could learn about new technologies coming out while never having to take a science class and bore myself with biology.

The Chronicle office was just as I had remembered it in 2005, but I felt more trepidation this time sitting at an old-fashioned desk with a beat-up Macintosh computer that occasionally didn’t work. With my notebook in hand, I began to understand the real value of accurate reporting and writing for the masses. The Chronicle shaped my appreciation for journalism as a watchdog of administrators.

It became my home away from home. I was living in Riverdale in 2007, and when I was too broke to put gasoline in my car to drive home and didn’t take the bus because I knew I would miss the last one working late for the paper, I occasionally slept in my car or on the Chronicle couch.

When The Chronicle was moved to the third floor of the Union in the worst administrative decision I’ve seen since Humanities Dean Robert Newman fired two faculty members from the Middle East Center, I was pissed. When I saw the cramped new quarters and poor excuse for an office, I realized The Chronicle had upset too many people and had been moved to the hick-town equivalent of the Union.

The Center for Ethnic Student Affairs and The Union Programming Council got an expanded version of our old open-spaced office, where writers, editors and columnists once upon a time had birthday parties, planned reporting techniques, wrote award-winning articles and pushed late hours to publish the second-best student newspaper in the nation. You could see the marks on the ceiling where sports editors had competed in pencil and penny throwing contests to see how many would stick in the decrepit but beloved office. Writers and photographers would make jokes and have miniature hockey games, which caused terror for unsuspecting writers who happened to be in the way.
Even in the new, cramped office, we managed to have fun. Editors cracked “that’s what she said” jokes and soccer balls connected with the heads of writers trying to turn out top-notch stories.

Three years of writing at The Chronicle have come and gone, and now I’m on my way to bigger and hopefully better things. They say that once you write for The Chronicle, you never truly leave. Salt Lake Tribune writer Sheena McFarland, who was The Chronicle’s editor in chief for two years, visits us every week to review stories8212;talk about never truly leaving.

I will miss The Chronicle dearly. The school newspaper will always hold a place in my heart for teaching me the values of journalism and showing me how much I love reporting and playing with words.

To all future reporters, journalism is a sacrificial decision. You will never make any money, you will receive constant criticism and forget about holidays8212;they don’t really exist for you. Breaking news is breaking news whether it’s the middle of the night or you’re on a beach in the Bahamas. But journalism is there for a reason and you should stick with it. I may be poor, but I’ve never been happier.

[email protected]

Lana Groves was the assistant news editor for 2008-2009.