Megan Hulse, Executive Editor
The most common reaction I get when I explain my job is: “Oh my goodness, you’re just like Rory Gilmore!”
To that, I used to laugh, agree and move on with a small amount of shame, because I had a secret. Spoiler alert: I’d never actually made it to the part of “Gilmore Girls” where she becomes the editor of the Yale Daily News. I usually watched up to the episode where she slept with Dean and got so annoyed I abandoned ship (#TeamJess4Ever). This year, I finally caved and decided to finish the rest as I went through my senior year, and I learned a great deal more than I thought I would.
Rory and I followed similar trajectories in the college experience: English majors turned journalists. Her crises were my crises.
I’ve sat on my friend’s bathroom floor, at the doctor’s office and just about anywhere you can think of, having an existential crisis about what to do after graduation.
I’ve had people tell me that I “don’t have it,” which sucks just as much as Rory makes it seem.
I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, had crushes on T.A.s, and while I’ve never sat all day in the lobby of a newsroom waiting for them to give me a job, I was definitely inspired to push for success.
It was nice to have a figure to relate to, but unfortunately, I didn’t have Amy Sherman-Palladino’s witty banter to get me through this hellscape that is college.
I’ll admit, there have been days when I just wanted to quit everything and get as far away from this office as possible. But then, just last week, I watched the episode where Rory leaves the newspaper. I was an absolute mess, probably because of lack of sleep, but also because I came to a realization during that unnecessarily emotional half-hour.
Sure, I didn’t have a Kirk or a Paris to add humor to my overwhelming commitments. What I did have, however, was a Zac, his perfect playlists and his ridiculous questions to take the edge off a stressful day. (Hey Zac, if you had to be a juice, what kind would you be?)
I had Paul Stevens’s nicknames, reminding me I was valued around here. I had Elise’s drive for a story to motivate me and Connor’s writing to enlighten me.
I had the copy desk to keep me laughing and the ProdSquad to make those long Fridays bearable. I had Madge and Haley’s constant joy, to keep the stress at bay, and Dakota and Mackenzie to step up to the plate, even when it was hard.
I had Adam’s absurd sayings and general noisiness to make this office feel like home. I had Justin to crack jokes on the worst days, and remind me that I did, in fact, have some idea what I was doing. I watched Emma get into law school like a proud mother, and Emily save the day on more than one occasion.
Best of all, I had a Kim, to stick by me through any situation, let me vent constantly, keep this operation running and, most importantly, keep me sane.
Watching that “Gilmore Girls” episode, I realized how much all of these characters in my Chrony screenplay have impacted me, and how much I am going to miss every last one of them. As Richard Gilmore would say to my little cast: “It takes remarkable people to inspire this.”
I’ve moved from clueless arts writer through the ranks to editor-in-chief, with countless incredible experiences along the way. I’m graduating with Honors and heading straight into the perfect job.
My life, however stressful, has become a dream come true, but there is no way I could have done it without all of these remarkable people who have been by my side along the way.
This paper is an incubator, and I was somehow trusted to be the light that keeps that incubator running. It has never been perfect, but the University of Utah community keeps supporting us anyway.
For that, I thank you. Yes, you. Thank you reader, for trusting me and for trusting us to be your voice.
Justin Adams, Online Managing Editor
When I came to the University of Utah as a freshman, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. Now after four years of being a part of The Utah Chronicle, I’m set to graduate and pursue a career in journalism. I bring this up only to point out that the Chrony has probably caused me to lose millions of dollars in lifetime earnings.
I could go on about how noble I am to sacrifice wealth for the pursuit of public service in seeking and publishing truth, but I’ve never been one for self-aggrandizement. Besides, maybe I’ll go to the dark side and join the ranks of those exploiting the gullibility of Donald Trump supporters with click-baity Facebook headlines that lead to advertisement-filled fake news websites.
Instead, I’m going to take this space to thank The Chronicle for all the opportunities it has given me over the past few years. I first joined as an opinion writer just hoping to sharpen my writing skills by writing one column a week, but the more I became involved, I realized Student Media is the perfect laboratory for experimentation. Whether you want to be a writer, editor, graphic designer, photographer or pretty much any other creative type, Student Media has the tools, network and platform to help you succeed.
I don’t imagine I will work at any other place for the rest of my life that will give me as much freedom to do what I want as I have had at The Chronicle. I’ve written about anime and memes, gone to Las Vegas to cover the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament, helped redesign a website, wrote satire mocking the very university we cover, managed social media accounts and even written an article about Tinder that led me to meet my wife.
Seriously, if there is anything media-related you want to do in college, you can do it with the help of Student Media.
And not to throw shade at the U’s communication department, but I would say 90 percent of what I’ve learned about media has come from involvement in Student Media. Multiple times this year I thought I was going to die of boredom in my communication courses because we were learning the basics of things I’ve been doing for years at The Chronicle.
I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say my decision to join The Chronicle four years ago was one of the most important decisions of my life. So while I’m sad to be leaving, I do feel completely ready to move on and pursue a career in the media, mostly thanks to The Chronicle. And that, I think, is the best compliment I can give to the ol’ Chrony.
Kim Brenneisen, Print Managing Editor
To say I don’t know life outside the Chrony is an understatement. This is where I made some of my closest and best friends in college, and this is where I have practically lived the past four years.
I planned on submitting my application for The Chronicle my first day of college, then noticed a typo on my resume and thought, “Well there goes that plan.” I took about a month to fix it before finally applying. I waited to hear back, then I even forgot I applied. Eventually, Griffin Adams sent me an email asking if I was still interested — of course I was. I even pestered him when he didn’t respond to me in what I thought was a timely manner.
He interviewed me, told me I could join staff, but I wouldn’t write a story for a week. It was perfect. This would give me enough time to back out if I decided against it. Then Griffin did what he often did during the year and a half we worked together and threw a random story at me, so there went any thought of me walking away. Ultimately it’s something I’m grateful for — the mere fact he gave me a shot, that he chose me to be his assistant after a few months and for assigning me endless random stories.
I’ve been through it all — sports writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and finally, print managing editor — and I loved all four positions. This year has definitely been a change, but I enjoyed overseeing content and working with our top-notch senior staff to share unique features. So to Emily Anderson, who will make a great executive editor, Emma Tanner, a fantastic friend and soon-to-be fantastic lawyer, Connor Richards, an already great investigative reporter, Madge Slack and Haley Oliphant, two peas in a pod who will keep the Chrony laughing, and Brittni Colindres, my favorite hire who left staff early to get a head start on a baseball-filled career, I’ll miss working with all of you. But there are a select few people who really made my Chrony experience memorable.
I had some high expectations to live up to this year, and I wasn’t always sure I would do as good of a job as Kamryn Broschinsky. I often overdramatize problems, and Kamryn has always been there to support that overdramtizication. She listened to me complain, she listened to me worry, and most importantly, she gave me the confidence and reassurance I needed to make difficult decisions.
When I didn’t get executive editor, Mark Klekas sent me a thoughtful message, one from a place of full support. When he didn’t get the position, only one person reached out to him, so I’ll always be grateful that, for better or for worse, he knew what I was feeling and he knew exactly what I needed to hear. It was a hard pill to swallow, but as a result I got to work side-by-side with the best executive editor to come through the Chrony in the four years I’ve been around, Megan Hulse.
We started off the year in a sketchy AirBnB in Brooklyn, something that really should have set a bad precedent for the year in terms of decision-making, but we made up for it in cookie dough and kickass stories. Finally, I’m ending with the person I loved working with the most.
Zac Fox, there are so many things I want to write, but I’m restricting myself to a graf. I wouldn’t have made it through the year without you. Our constant runs to Two Creek to fuel our will to survive and you constantly listening to me freak out, I’m thankful you were always by my side. Thank you for designing my stories, making them look edgy and for letting me run wild with a three-spread feature. How I’m expected to no longer work with you is crazy. I’m certain I won’t ever get to work with someone as stellar as you, and I’m thrilled we’re friends outside of the office — it makes this slightly easier to write.
I didn’t think it’d be this hard to say goodbye to the Chrony, but I’ve got four years of memories and life-long friends to be ever so thankful for.
Zac Fox, Layout King
This may be a long shot, but bear with me — there’s a story and a life lesson behind this.
My work experience has taught me to work my ass off. If you start something, you better finish it better than the person next to you. This work ethic spilled over when I started working at The Chronicle. I came here as a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed freshman, eager for a future in design work and yearning for campus involvement. So naturally I gave it my all for three glorious years. Throughout these years, I have increased my ability as a designer, gained valuable lessons in project management and most importantly, I have made some of the best of friends along the way.
These friends have seen me at 6 in the morning, dreading to send pages to be printed. They have seen me at 1 in the morning with paper plates around my head, complaining about fonts and typefaces. I even plan on traveling the world with them. They have dealt with my stress as much as I have dealt with theirs. I guess you could call them family at this point.
We all once had a superior (indirectly) tell us we had little to do without any accolades of our own (or something along those lines). Now, for those of you who don’t know, an accolade is an award presented as an honor of merit. This can range from a high-five or slap on the butt after a good game. It could even be awarded as a physical token, like a ribbon after a 5k or a trophy after a championship game. We took this statement personally, however well-intentioned it may have been, and continued to make noise (and inside jokes).
Since then, the four of us have gone on to work across the country, and even the world, for several internships. We have operated The Chronicle from both coasts, while taking at least 12 credit hours each. Not to mention the rain was sideways and we walked uphill both ways. While accomplishing all these seemingly impossible tasks, we collectively earned over 15 awards during our time at The Chronicle. I’m happy with myself — more importantly, I’m proud of my friends for going above and beyond to accomplish this.
So to the superior who said we don’t have accolades of our own: Look at us now. We have all soared above your expectations. Watch us be the best we can be, and look at you now, with no accolades of YOUR OWN.
Emma Tanner, Opinion Editor
Spring semester is almost over, along with my career as an undergraduate student at the University of Utah. I’ve officially handed my responsibilities over to our incoming opinion editor, and with only one final left to take and a paper to hand in, the last few days have certainly been filled with thoughtful reflection on the past four years — years filled with milestones, mistakes and a whole lot of experiences I hope to never forget.
The best I can describe my time at The Chronicle is with gratitude. As an economics major, I never considered myself the most equipped for journalism considering staff members are traditionally recruited from the communication department. But my enthusiasm for writing and interest in learning the in’s and out’s of the publishing system were enough to nudge me toward the opinion desk as an eager college freshman. Looking back, I believe a chance was taken on me three years later when I was selected to be the 2017-18 opinion editor, but I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to learn and take responsibility for such a critical component of our university’s newspaper. And while I didn’t initially consider my senior leadership position to be a major resume booster, I can’t help but think my time at the Chrony played a significant role in my acceptance to the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the U.
Not only have I refined my writing skills, actively exercised a fundamental American right as a writer and represented our opinion desk, but I’ve made incredible friends, including (and this feels appropriate) Kim Brenneisen and Kamryn Broschinsky, who have each done exceptional jobs taking the paper by the horns as print managing editors the past couple years. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these two ambitious and intelligent women. I’ve also been lucky enough to work alongside Connor Richards, a long-time acquaintance and more recent friend and assistant who has humbly committed to Stanford University to earn his master’s degree in journalism.
It feels like bigger and better things are right around the corner for all of us graduating staff members, and looking back I know I couldn’t have made it this far without The Chronicle and its dedicated and passionate team. I look forward to picking up future issues of our student paper as I further my education as a loyal Ute.
Connor Richards, Assistant Opinion Editor
I joined Student Media as an intern for The Utah Chronicle opinion desk at the end of the Spring 2016 semester. Almost exactly two years later, I can’t help but feel emotional as my time with the Chrony is coming to an end.
In the months before I started writing for the Chrony, I was without direction and unsure what the future of my academic career would be. After two years of dual majoring in biology and communication, I had withdrawn from my classes and made the decision to take the Fall 2015 semester off.
When I dropped biology and decided I wanted to pursue journalism, The Chronicle was my first outlet. I’ll never forget the first piece I published, which was about Terry Tempest Williams, a world renowned environmental scholar who left the University of Utah in 2015 following contract disputes with U administrators. Williams shared the article and tweeted kind remarks at me: “Thank you for your pen.”
Months later, when I thought the high-stress nature of reporting was too much for me to want to continue trying to be a journalist, I once again became inspired. Working with Elise Vandersteen Bailey and Julie Hirschi, I learned about the power of investigative reporting while working on a story about sexual assault at the U. This story is what kept me on my journalistic path.
Since then, The Chronicle has provided me with countless experiences I will undoubtedly carry with me for the rest of my life. I interviewed U President David Pershing for a Valentine’s Day story about how he met his wife, Sandi Pershing. I talked with billionaire Jazz owner Gail Miller about an honorary degree she received from the U. I chased down a fight at a protest over Ben Shapiro’s speech. I traveled to southern Utah to report on the White Mesa Ute Indian Tribe and their fears about a nearby uranium mill contaminating their tap water.
Two years after starting as a Student Media intern, I can honestly say I feel like I’ve found a place, and a voice, in journalism. In this respect, The Chronicle has provided me with something nothing else, except maybe competitive debate, has. I’m forever indebted to the Chrony, and to the people here who gave me an opportunity and made me feel included. Among them are Megan Hulse, Kim Brenneisen, Emma Tanner, Emily Anderson, Dalton Edwards and Jake Sorensen.
There have been many points in my life where I have felt like what H.P. Lovecraft would call an Outsider or what Albert Camus would call a Stranger. But The Chronicle — the student writers, editors, photographers and designers who run it — helped me feel like a part of something.
I can’t express how glad I am I happened to apply to write for the U’s independent student voice. You never know how much a single decision can change your life.
Dakota Grossman, Assistant Sports Editor
What a year. I’m sure I am not the only one who feels like these past few semesters were a blur. My advice to those who still have time left in the their college careers is to enjoy it — really take in all of the hardships, the positives, the laughs and the meltdowns. College is a unique time to learn about yourself and others.
I’ve only been writing for The Utah Chronicle for one year, my senior year, and I wish I started sooner. I’ve nonetheless enjoyed myself and soaked up as much knowledge as I could. As a current and almost ex-track and field athlete for the University of Utah, it was interesting to see the journalistic side of sports, the side that involves speaking, learning and writing about other teams and their athletic performances. For a brief moment, I had the opportunity to step in their shoes and hear their inspiring stories. What I loved most is that there was a lesson within all of them.
“Braving Basketball After Brain Surgery” was one of those articles. It taught me, and hopefully others, about overcoming tough obstacles. Life is full of them, but that shouldn’t stop someone from pursuing their goals. When I wrote “Definition of a Student-Athlete,” I was presented with the opportunity to meet an athlete who aspired to go above and beyond in every aspect of life. His perseverance and dedication is admirable. “Facing Adversity with Family, Faith” was another article that brought real-world issues to light and gave readers a different perspective on diversity. The U is filled with many students and athletes who have unique stories, and I enjoyed being able to capture some of them on paper.
My only wish is for readers to see the other side of athletes, even if it’s just a small insight. There is much more to a football player, a basketball player, a softball player, etc., than what is witnessed at a game, match or race.
I am thankful for my experiences with the Chrony, and I’m unbelievably thrilled to have been able to share sports stories with the community. I have come to build relationships with amazing staff, coaches and student-athletes, who have all helped me grow as a writer and a person. With that said, I am doing a final sign-off. Although I won’t be writing anymore on campus, I’ll definitely keep reading stories about the Utes.