I had a dream, shortly after Jon Stewart was leaving The Daily Show, where I was hanging out at his house just chilling with him. He had let himself go, no longer in a suit and tie, but was a bit on the scruffy side, wearing a flannel shirt and remodeling his house. I was trying to convince him to come back to The Daily Show and help fix journalism. He said to me, in my dream, “there are just some things that humor can’t fix.” Now I’m not sure I can take credit for that comment, it was a dream after all, but there is some truth to that statement. Journalism has in recent days become a part of news itself. When there is an attack on our First Amendment rights by the very same people over whom we are tasked to be watchdogs, there is nothing humorous about it.
My time as editor-in-chief here at The Chronicle has taught me many things. Now is a vital time for journalists. I’ve seen many changes just over the course of my schooling. For a while it seemed that whoever could get the news up first, even though there may be inaccuracies, would be triumphant over all other information outlets. But in a world where information is everywhere, on every cellphone, tweet and Facebook wall, it’s hard to compete. Now we are learning that it’s impossible to be first, but it’s more important to be accurate. I’ve tried to instill that in my writers during my time here. If they can’t even get a person’s name spelling correct, a name that most people hold dear, how are people going to trust us with anything else?
At The Chronicle we have had almost 120 years of promulgating information. Sometimes we get things wrong. We are still students after all. But this experience is unlike any other we could attain at school. The importance of a college media outlet can’t be understated. We have written appeals, GRAMA requests and talked to lawyers for information regarding stories that affect students. Things we couldn’t have learned in a classroom setting alone. The job of a journalist is to hold people in power accountable and to disseminate that information to the general public, to students like you.
Someone once told me that The Chrony is a proving ground. It’s a pressure cooker; a place that takes rough, raw material and refines it into diamonds. I noticed that each and every one of the writers, have all flourished. From the opinion writer, who would write on controversial topics that then would make my inbox fill up with angry emails, to the pre-med student, who just wanted to write for The Chrony on the side. They are two of the best writers who worked all semester on an investigative project, and who have both now received journalism awards.
Then there is the news editor, who transitioned from the news desk into managing our online content, and transformed our Oldsmobile of a website into a Ferrari. (Ok, maybe a Mustang is a better analogy. At least our website is much faster now, with just a little bit of flair.) Then there are the students who just wanted to see The Chrony succeed no matter what, putting up with an outsider to the organization and last minute changes right before deadline, with no accolades of their own. Maybe we’ll see a future Jon Stewart, Woodward and Bernstein, or Edward R. Murrow climbing their way to greatness from here.
There is nothing humorous or funny about the attacks that journalism and free speech are facing right now. It has been a rough year, for journalism and for politics. There are divides on every line. I hope that you as readers and citizens understand the importance of keeping our speech free and support your student-run newspaper. There is no overnight fix to the problems journalism is facing, but we journalism students are using this time and experience to help improve the situation, one paper, one story at a time.
I was fresh out of high school when Niki Harris hired me as a copy editor at The Chronicle. When I say “fresh” I don’t mean the kind of innocent, doe-eyed high school graduate that sees the world for all it has to offer. I was horror-stricken, and confused. But eventually I found my way into the newsroom and found stability, the kind of stability that only an organization that is run completely by stressed out undergrads can provide. And I was comfortable copy editing until one day a story dropped (which back then shocked me) and my trial by fire began. Never confident in my writing abilities, I took a huge risk in offering to fill in for a story that dropped at the last minute; and it was…mediocre. As a freshman in college, I thought I was pretty clever when I wrote an article titled “Senioritis: Deadly and Catching.” Four years later, with the end no where near in sight I can tell you that the irony is not lost on me.
But the people here, these Chrony folk have helped me find my way. The thought of having a successful social life outside of The Chronicle is so laughably extreme that we were forced into tolerating one another; and somewhere along those lines we turned into a family. We took trips together, we had family dinner on the table in the conference room, we fought… often. But now I have to say goodbye to my second home, and my second family, and goodbyes are something I’ve always been terrible at.
I’m not going to name, call out, or thank any specific people because I don’t have enough room, I don’t want to leave anyone out, and mostly because those who really made an impact know exactly who they are and don’t need me to inflate their egos.
As managing editor I wore many hats. Photographer, writer, emotional guidance counselor when I needed to be (the latter being far more often than the formers). A managing editor combines the innovativeness of a writer with the practical focus of an operations manager, and boy I wish I could tell you that’s exactly what I did but, let’s be real. When I became managing editor, I went through a host of unimaginable trials by a whole new fire, but I learned a lot. So ultimately I’ll walk away from this experience content, albeit a little toasty. I learned that leading by example is far more effective than trying to threaten, punish or intimidate; that Oxford comma newsroom debates are the stuff of nightmares; and that working for The Chronicle was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
The most important thing to note, is that The Chronicle is a laboratory newspaper, and like any news organization is not for the faint of heart. It’s a place to make mistakes, and to learn, and if you haven’t already; a place to come to the painful realization that you can’t plan the future.
There was a heated debated in the newsroom about what is the perfect liquid to compliment a cereal bowl full of corn nuts. Editors roared across the room disputing why Mountain Dew Voltage is superior to ranch-water. The arguments were sound as the emotions were high. After 20 minutes of listening to this debauchery, I realized only a certain type of people were capable of such chaotic, delusional conversation: Chrony folk.
Chrony folk are not defined by their background, age, or origin; it comes down to the vibe they give in the newsroom. It is about to their ability to adapt to the strange, but delicate, socialization that happens in The Utah Chronicle. Stressed with deadlines, Chrony folk are able to work fiercely with a jocular, quirky nature. It’s an odd balance of workflow and distractions that Chrony folk are able to operate under.
It has not been all rainbows being the production manager for the last two years. I have been in some of the most difficult situations personally and professionally. I have kept my insanity amidst all of the deadlines, disputes, and disorder because of the chrony folk. That’s right, I said my insanity. These people keep me insane. There is no other way to create 32 beautiful pages of weekly content, while being a full time student, without all the distractions and absurdities.
You think I am kidding by saying these people have turned me insane. Let’s start with Bradley who begins every conversation with asking me, “what if I never see you again?” There is Forrest, who taught me the concept of chugability. Kim, who somehow got ahold of some old man’s bar tickets, so we could have one too many at a news conference. There is Zac, who has transitioned from being some kid shoving pieces of paper in his mouth to the most dedicated designer/editor I have ever witnessed. I cannot forget the hooligans of the photo desk, Rishi, Adam, and Chris who baffle me with a senor of humor I still do not understand. Thank you all for your insanity. Then there is Kamryn, who did not make me insane but just the opposite. Yes, you were forced to be at the hip with me for an entire year, so thank you for your incredible patience and for supporting all my lucrative ideas. It has been an honor running this paper with you.
I am a madman walking away from the chronicle after four years. And on that note, Mark has left the building. This conclusion is brought to you by (I’m sure it comes as no surprise) Kamryn; picking up where Mark left off. Odds are we will never see him again, but if you care to look start with Cabo.
Online managing editor
This is it. I was asked to write a farewell piece, and I had no idea where to start. As I write a farewell for The Chronicle, I’m also saying a farewell to the University of Utah, and school as a whole. So here it goes.
Goodbye to the school lunch I had in elementary school. You tasted awful, and when I forgot a check from home, you were taken away from me.
Goodbye lockers. You held some of the greatest and worst moments of junior high and high school.
Goodbye Axe Body Spray. You made me feel cool for like 12 seconds when I was going through puberty.
Okay, enough goodbyes. Let’s get serious.
The greatest advice I was ever given was about setting goals and making plans. After I graduated from high school, I had no idea of what I was doing or where I was going. I took some classes, but didn’t do well and felt really lost.
I finally sat down and figured out what I was interested in, and it happened to be journalism. I looked at school options. And back then the best option for me was Salt Lake Community College (SLCC). During my time there, I made some lifetime friends and served as the editor-in-chief of its newspaper. I made a plan, and I graduated in three semesters.
When I moved up to the U, I felt lost again. I didn’t have any friends going to school here so I didn’t know where to start. This would be my second piece of advice. Get involved early. Find a club or organization that coincides with your interests. There is something for everyone on campus and there is always a place for you to feel welcomed. Don’t take your time here for granted. Make friends, pass your classes and make memories.
I am honored that I was able to spend time working with some amazing people here at The Chronicle.
First, thank you to Julie. You put me in a place that many people felt I didn’t deserve, but you gave me the opportunity to grow.
Second, thank you to Kamryn. You’ve put up with more of my crap than any person alive, and I will be forever grateful for all you did for me.
Third, thank you to Hayden. You are truly the unsung hero of U Student Media. You have made our websites run and have kept us afloat.
Finally, thank you to all the writers, photographers and editors who made this job the best job in the world. I will genuinely miss each and everyone one of you.
I’m horrible at goodbyes, so here’s a quote from A.A. Milne that sums up exactly how I feel:
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
I always see people plan their weeks or month out, and I always wonder how they do it. The only things I know to come are school and work. I’m so spontaneous that I can’t plan things out. What if something else comes up?
I never really had a plan coming to college. I knew I wanted to continue photography after high school but wasn’t sure which direction. When I saw an ad for photographers in the opening issue of The Chronicle, it felt like a sign. So I went for it and got the job. Despite my success in high school I had to start over again but I was ok with that. It didn’t take long for me to establish myself as one of the top photographers on staff. I got to travel to Vegas my freshman year for the Pac-12 tournament.
I had a ton of ups and downs at The Chronicle. The biggest upsets were being rejected as the assistant photo editor (twice) but this allowed me to write for the arts desk. And when I was finally promoted to photo editor I cried tears of joy. I worked so hard for it, and it finally paid off. Few have seen The Chronicle go through as many changes as I have; from daily to twice a week to only once a week.
Throughout my years as a photographer for The Chronicle, I’ve covered more than 111 sporting events (at least 10 were championship/playoff games including Pac-12 for basketball and gymnastics and even March Madness), almost 20 concerts (including B.o.B., Scotty McCreery, Icona Pop, Passion Pit, Korn, Snoop Dogg, Weird Al, Smashing Pumpkins and Judas Priest), and even the occasional visit from politicians (Evan McMullan, Gary Johnson and Joe Biden). I had St. Vincent’s guitar manufacturer buy my pictures for promotional use, I was runner-up for best photo from The Society of Professional Journalists, and I received an award from the Utah Press Association.
Can I honestly say I’m moving on to bigger and better things? No.
It’s impossible to see where my future is heading. All I know is I gave it my all working at The Chronicle, and even if I land flat on my face I know I at least tried. I think I’ve been one of the most successful photo editors to come through The Chronicle, and I’m proud of that.
All I can say is don’t make definite plans, things change so much it’s impossible to see some changes coming. So don’t worry if you don’t have your life figured out; lots of my friends think I do and I still don’t.
Everyone deals with goodbyes differently. Some gently step away, easing out of their old life and into a new one. Others cling like a leech, sucking everything they can so there’s no room for regrets. Then there’s me, who pretends the end will never truly come and is thrown off guard when it finally does. I want to believe that they’re not actually going to let me graduate. I’ll be missing a credit or two or have spaced that diversity requirement. But, my brain is starting to catch on that this really might be it.
To sum up my time at the University of Utah, I’ll give you the phrase that my phone has as one of my top options on auto-word fill to begin a text. The Chrony. Yes, it’s that bad. The Daily Utah Chronicle was the definition of my time at the U. It began as most journalism careers do — with a bushy-tailed nosy know-it-all eager to crack breaking news stories and get their name in ink. My first day on campus, it was there. “Freshman Orient to Campus, Dorm Living” by Carolyn Webber. Not the biggest story, but I felt empowered.
From there, my fever only grew. Just ask my friends from freshman year. I distinctly remember once running and hiding from my friend Kristi as I accepted a story on the phone that would take me away from the plans we had made that night. Nothing held me back from writing.
I wrote almost 250 stories for the paper in my five semesters at The Chronicle, stepping into every single building on campus (even in the unnamed building #124); attending banquets, lectures, trick-or-treat parties and ballroom dance competitions; and interviewing a Nigerian Prince, a former NASA astronaut and my personal idol (Jane Goodall). And there’s a story behind each of those experiences. Literally.
Last April, I graciously thanked my news team and landed in a different role as editor for Wasatch Magazine. Combining my obsessive behavior of writing and the competing passion for the outdoors worked well, and it gave me an undesignated assigned seat in the newsroom, beside some goons that I will miss.
While I will admit that full-time news writers producing a story a day are probably the hardest workers within U Student Media, editing brought its own life-defining challenges. No one knows more than the dedicated copy desk and designers slaving away on a Sunday before Wasatch production. To you, thanks. Thanks to my multiple news editors through the years. Like a daughter becoming a mother and realizing the hell she raised for her mother, I now feel your pain. Thanks to Sheena McFarland and Matt Canham for the invaluable — though terrifying — corrections to my stories. Thanks to my fellow writers, whose words reminded me of the power of good writing. Thanks to those who made me laugh — especially certain staff pick answers that never failed to make my day. At last, thanks to this space to write this farewell column. Maybe this time, I’ll realize this goodbye’s verity before it comes.