When I was first offered the job as Editor-in-Chief of The Carolinian, I had no idea what a ride I was in for. Between the long nights, the hard decisions and the complete annihilation of the Oxford Comma from my vocabulary, taking on this position has been the most difficult, yet the most rewarding thing I have ever done.
I joined The Carolinian nearly three years ago after my roommate at the time encouraged me to submit an application. I was (and still am) an English major, so it just felt natural to sign up for more unpaid hours of writing essays. That’s the kind of thing we English majors just eat up. I decided to start out as an Opinions writer, putting my more argumentative side to good use.
After one semester, I was promoted to Opinions Editor, a delightful position where I got to talk about opinions with an entire staff of writers, which is my personal dream. However, I decided that I wanted more. When the previous Editor-in-Chief graduated, I found myself taking over his third-floor office, as well as the entire student newspaper.
Becoming Editor-in-Chief was not at all what I expected it to be. I had imagined long hours in the coffee shop deleting oxford commas with my trusty AP Style Guide in hand. Don’t get me wrong, that is a big part of the position. What they don’t tell you about becoming the Editor-in-Chief, is just how much responsibility the position carries.
When our print deadlines weren’t met, I was often the one to call the printing company on the phone to explain the issue. I worked as a layout editor for several months when the paper was not printing correctly. I’ve sold advertisements, taken over every section of content at some point, taken over the publisher position for the past semester and worked as HR. You often could find me delivering the newspapers around campus when necessary. Yet, the hardest part of the position was dealing with our financial status.
Although we are a student newspaper, we still have the financial duties of a regularly operating newspaper. I happened to become Editor-in-Chief at a time in which the paper was at an all-time-low financially. Every month we were told that there was no way we would survive, that we should just count our losses and move on. Every board meeting was another heartbreak, and we probably cycled through at least one hundred ideas, trying to stay alive.
Obviously, we refused to let this paper get shut down, regardless of the issues we were facing. I’m so proud to say that we have successfully made it to the end of our 100th year, a feat that many of us never could have imagined during those long weeks of constant rejection. The power for students of this campus to write freely has been our main objective from the start, and it’s a true honor to have been a part of maintaining that right.
In spite of every issue, leading this organization has been so rewarding. I’ve learned so much about myself as a writer, and as a person. I was able to interview my favorite band, as well as a famous TV writer. I had the opportunity to visit New York City to learn about student journalism at a conference led by The Nation. Most of all, I have made the most wonderful friendships with people who care about this organization and the power of free speech the way that I do.
Yet, none of these incredible opportunities would have been possible without the incredible team that kept this paper running through thick and thin. I would like to thank Aaron for his tireless hours that he spent defending our organization, and helping us to not only stay alive, but to thrive. I’d like to thank our editors, for the tireless work that they put into making every article better than the last.
I would like to thank the writers, who continue to create compelling content week after week. Thank you to those who came before me, for teaching me so much of what I now know, and to those who will come after me, for all that you have yet to learn.
Finally, I’d like to say good luck to Kayla Jystad our new Editor-in-Chief. I know that the paper is in great hands with you, and I wish you every success and happiness in leading this organization for years to come. I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for this paper, and for all who contribute to it. There are so many big things are coming for this paper, and I can’t wait for the world to see it.
Thank you to everyone for this opportunity. It has been the experience of a lifetime.