So long, and thanks for all the fish

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In three years, I have written 78 stories, averaging 500 words per story. In two years, I have been editor-in-chief for 48 issues. I’ve managed a staff of at least 20 people each semester. Each issue has been at least 8 pages and broadsheet (11.5 inches by 22 inches). Despite this, I can’t quantify my experience.

In my three years on the Griffon News, I’ve learned more than I ever have—or will—in a classroom. I’ve learned valuable lessons in leadership and journalism. I’ve learned how to operate a weekly newspaper.

There are a lot of lessons I’ve learned, but it hasn’t even been about that. It’s been about the people around me, the people that took this 48-issue journey, where mistakes were made and triumphs were celebrated. So, instead of me prattling on about my belief in journalism, I want to thank those people for walking and enduring this journey with me.

Robert Bergland: You are the single reason I went to Western— at first. Before I met you, I was so determined on Mizzou’s J-school. Had that happened, I would have been involved in the Carpeteater incident. Had that happened, I wouldn’t have had your guidance and support my freshman year. Had I gone to Mizzou, I wouldn’t have been Journalist of the Year. Had I gone to Mizzou, I would have probably dropped out. Bob, you’ve been an anchor and a model professor. I do have some bad news though. I don’t plan on teaching. While I value great mentors like yourself, I don’t think I could have the patience and fortitude with students that you do. Still, you were the inspiration I needed to help me find my career. I knew I wanted to be a writer but you helped me become a journalist. Thank you.

Caitlin Cress: Every captain needs a first office, and even though my geek is showing, you should know that I couldn’t have done this without you. Besides your regular duties, it was nice to have a second-in-command that not only was a great editor and writer, but shared my vision for the Griffon News. It’s very rare to find someone who shares my idea of what journalism should be. Whenever people say that I turned around The Griffon News, I think that couldn’t have done it without your support. Thank you.

Brooke Carter: You helped foster my love for Futura. It’s a wonderful font and I wish we would have done the redesign that helped give the GN that look that it had this semester. There’s nothing that will prove this, but our increase in readership definitely related to the way our paper looks. You won so many awards at the MCMA conference this year, your skills are indisputable. But it’s not your skills that make you a great editor; it’s your dedication. So, thank you for those long nights waiting for content. Thank you for staying on the Griffon News, even when you didn’t have to.

Andy Inman: You’re a great designer and a well-rounded individual. I only wish we had more chances to make some great flash projects together. Andy, you made the front page look fantastic every week and endured my last minute changes to the front page…almost every week. Most importantly, thanks for the cool jams on layout night. I hope that those geese get a shopping agenda…and that one guy breaks up with his car.

Jason Brown: I don’t think I’ll ever know such a good photographer. Not only do you know how to operate a camera, but you’re dedicated to the art. We both know that there were issues where you were the only photographer taking photos. That is dedication. Thank you for all your hard work.

MWSU administration: When speaking with other college journalists, I often hear horror stories about how administration doesn’t cooperate with the media. I’ve never had that problem. As a matter of fact, Dr. Vartabedian, you’ve done last-minute interviews with me so I could meet deadline. Mel Klinkner, you were always willing to explain the budget to me so I would have a chance to explain it to students. I’ve been lucky to have such essential sources that are supportive of the GN. Everyone here thanks you for your service to Western and for your understanding of what we stand for; truth for the students.

Nat “Danger” Larsen: Now that I’m done at the GN, we need to unleash the Kraken. Immediately.

Kevin, Matt and Luke: You all delivered the newspapers out of the goodness of your hearts. You helped me out just because we were friends. Even though I took you out to lunch as compensation, your help these past two years has been invaluable. Let’s not kid ourselves, you helped me because we are friends. I owe you for that.

Eboni, I’ve spent the last year trying to prepare you for you taking over the GN. If I’ve taught you anything, I want you to remember this. This is the only time we, as Editors-in-Chief, will be able to do exactly what we want. Later on in life we have to answer to someone else. There’s really only one person you have to answer to as EIC— yourself. You should realize though that the GN isn’t about us, it’s about our readers. I didn’t go after the stories I did to win the awards or become Journalist of the Year. I went after them because that’s what newspapers do. Newspapers find the truth in the darkest corners or in the brightest lights. We publish it without bias and weigh the impact of those stories. To put it to a cliché, with great power comes great responsibility. Be responsible and don’t let it go to waste.

On that note, she’s all yours, Eboni. As long as you have a star to steer her by, she’ll always bring you home.

As for me; all good things.

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