Editor-in-chief reflects on Chart career


Illustration by Gabi Markovich.

I heard someone say in the Chart office last week that they like reading the paper year to year because they enjoy seeing how much our student journalists grow.

It registered when I heard it, and I remember thinking at that moment just how much I’ve enjoyed working with my staff in the last year for the same reason.

They’re young and inexperienced, sure, but they work hard and help put out a product each week that I’m proud be associated with.

After that thought left my mind, I began thinking of the ways I’ve grown in my time with The Chart.

I was originally brought on staff three years ago to be an asshole. No, that wasn’t my official title, but it might as well have been. And I was good at it. Too good, really.

I wrote columns. Some of you remember them, some of you don’t. Some of you were the people who called, wrote and e-mailed demanding I be removed from the staff because you were so offended by my work.

One column in particular got a large response when I made fun of nontraditional students. I called them out for their wheeled backpacks and incessant questions, and they didn’t like it. The Chart website received hundreds of hits. That column alone got over 50 comments. People basically called for my head on a platter.

After a full year of alienating nearly everyone on campus, I was asked to write sports. I loved writing sports. I covered cross country, and as a fat kid, I knew absolutely nothing about it. I can’t run cross campus, let alone cross country.

But men’s Head Coach Tom Rutledge took the time to teach me about the sport. My peers at the paper taught me how to write about the sport. I was inexperienced, but I feel like I made a decent writer at the time. Covering cross country and track isn’t like covering the NFL, but it was fun.

Last summer, The Chart experienced some growing pains. We’d lost almost all of our experienced staff, including an award-winning editor-in-chief. We’d lost our adviser. We didn’t know where we were headed.

That first day of school in August, we had to choose a new editor-in-chief, and I knew there was only one other candidate for the job. Throwing my hat in the ring as the second candidate, I knew I didn’t have the experience or the reputation to deserve the position, but our new adviser took a chance on me.

I pretty much shit a brick when she told me. There was no time to practice; I simply had to suck it up and do the job thrust upon me. That was six months ago.

Today, I know I’ve come a long way. I know I’ve achieved some things that I’m incredibly proud of. More than that, I know that despite the fact that I’ve been criticized for some of the things I’ve done here, I’ve made an impact on my staff and helped them become better writers and journalists.

The struggles, the late nights and the stress are all worth it when I see my staff, whom I consider all little brothers and sisters, going out and working on their own. I’m proud of them.

Maybe this column is a little early for an outgoing editor-in-chief, but I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately. Maybe I do a lot of things out of order that way.

But at the end of the day, I hope that person who reads The Chart to see our growth as journalists has seen that growth in me. More importantly, I hope they’re proud that I’ve grown too.