When I came to the University of Utah from Las Vegas, I had one main mission — get as involved as possible. I came to college with a friend from home, and made quick friends with my roommates and the dudes down the hall, but I still felt distant from the campus.
I’ve always loved to write, and when I found the opportunity at the Chronicle, I assumed my tenure as yearbook editor at my high school was ample preparation.
I emailed Emily Anderson, the news editor at the time, and requested an interview. She was very kind, considering my hubris, and met me in the Chronicle offices (which I got very, very lost trying to find — why would you put a student office on the third floor of a building only accessible by a hidden staircase??)
“How long does it take you to write an article?” Emily asked, and I, drowning in so much experience asking students in the hallways of my high school what their favorite colors were, confidently said “Days!” Only after I left did I consider that I was interviewing for a news writing position, where breaking news and quick turnaround was of utmost importance. Still, I guess Emily saw something in my overconfidence and offered me a position.
The time I spent as a news writer on Emily’s desk was transformative. I’m trying to not exaggerate, but really, I learned so much about AP style, reporting, and met most of the campus connections I’m maintaining today through stories.
When Emily accepted the position of editor-in-chief, I was able to take over the assistant editor role at the news desk, and then the news editor. I tried to model all of my leadership styles after Emily’s — she was kind and would gently correct my Oxford commas, and I wanted to be just like her. The writing staff I worked with made it easy (sometimes.) Most of my writers have graduated now, but the waffle parties, pitch meetings and Slack conversations were highlights of my sophomore and junior year.
During this time, one of my best friends, Josh Petersen, joined the Chrony, and was eventually promoted to the digital managing editor position. He’s the best writer I know, and you should go check out his new writing here. Hanging out with him in the office was the absolute best. He can’t play an acoustic guitar, and yet he used to, constantly, in the conference room. I worked as the news desk editor through the end of my senior year.
I was stoked (can I stay stoked? That doesn’t seem super professional. I’m graduating though, so you cannot stop me) to take over the DME position after Josh. I have had the most fun editing stories, meeting with editors, and developing the Chrony’s social media presence. The offices have always felt like home to me — I’ve had so many defining moments in that office space from two boyfriends (I know) and tons of friends, late nights and dinners, working on print issues, and celebrating class withdrawals. I love that place, and I’m so grateful for four (FOUR??) years there.
Thank you to Emily, for hiring me and teaching me how to actually write. Thank you to all of my wonderful writers throughout my years on the news desk (you all have very long names, but I love you), to the editors this year — Sammy, Cole, Ivana, Natalie, Sheely, Nain, Oakley and Parker — for coming to ed board and listening to me talk. That’s a big ask. Actually, double thank you to Oakley and Parker, who let me start writing on the arts desk this year, and helped me discover that while I loved news writing, my heart is really in the arts. Thank you to Ana Luiza, who went from being my assistant news editor to Editor-in-Chief. It was an impressive jump, and I’m glad I was there for the ride. Thank you to the copy desk and copy editors for making my job easier every day, and the design and photo teams for creating beautiful content to promote everywhere.
Leaving the Chronicle is weird, but I know the new leadership knows what’s up. Whatever led me to send that email to Emily years ago, I don’t know, but I’ll always be thankful for it. This was an opportunity that really did change my college experience, and, wow, my life. Thank you.