My heart was racing. I wiped my sweaty palms on my ironed slacks and stepped into the room.
A week before, I submitted my application for the life editor position at the Independent. I had over prepared for this interview because it was my dream to have the same job my sister had just a few quarters ago.
A couple days later, I received a call from the editor-in-chief. I didn’t get the job.
At least not initially.
That was in winter 2015. Fast forward to now and we’ve published the final issue of the 2016-17 school year and my final issue as the editor-in-chief.
As this quarter’s last print cycle comes to a close, I realize how much I’ve changed over the past two years working at the Indy. It has challenged me to look at the world through a wider lens, be more aware of my community and taught me the importance of a free press in a world that continuously threatens to silence it.
As I moved up from a reporter to the campus editor, life editor, managing editor and finally to editor-in-chief, the Indy has gone through lots of improvements. We’ve increased the number of printed copies from 800 to 1,000 per issue because the newsstands started emptying out rapidly after we installed freshly-welded newsstands from the Welding department. We’ve also increased our social media and online content by producing more videos, starting a new sports podcast, releasing more polls and streamlining our process of uploading breaking news.
I’m honored that I got to lead a news team because it has prepared me for my future as a journalist. Although it wasn’t easy, especially as a 17-year-old introvert, overseeing a group of people, most of them older than me, it granted me the invaluable experience of hard work, dedication and collaboration.
Our countless hours of reporting, writing, editing, designing and shooting shined through when the Independent won the “General Excellence” award and first place in publications sweep in the Pacific Northwest Association of Journalism Educators annual three-state competition.
Reflecting back, I find it the most difficult to say goodbye to the steadfast support I received from my adviser Dee Anne Finken, writing coach Jim Camin and the whole Indy staff. The Indy wouldn’t be where it’s at without Finken’s teaching and Camin’s insights.
I admire how each reporter and editor brought in their own personality into the newsroom, enthusiastic and ready for the next assignment.
I’d also like to thank Sandra Maszak, managing editor and partner-in-crime who always saw when someone needed help and was quick to offer it. She was the one who stayed with me for the long production nights and kept me sane.
Finally, I’d like to congratulate Nathan Baird and Maddie Petta, the next editor-in-chief and managing editor. Sharp and compassionate, they’ve shown their passion for journalism and I am confident that they will lead the Indy to new heights with their integrity and journalistic skills. I’ve gotten to know Baird fairly well over the past years and it’s rare to find someone as dedicated and vigilant as he is. I’m eager to see what he and Petta will accomplish.