Last year’s ‘Chart’ Editor says Carter always worked harder than anyone in the newsroom

Brennan Stebbins, guest columnist

Brennan Stebbins, guest columnist

Brennan Stebbins


I remember the first time I met Nathan Carter.

I had just walked into the Chart office for the first time in a long while, and I was sitting at a computer waiting for former Chart adviser T.R. Hanrahan to show me how to use our design software.

There was this weird guy sitting over in the corner with frazzled hair and a black shirt. I ignored him, and read some articles online.

And then, the moment I was dreading. This guy said something.

“Do you think I’m insane?” he asked.

“Huh?” I said.

“Do you think I’m insane?” he asked again.

“Uh, no?” I responded.

“Well you will soon enough,” he said.

I left it at that and hoped Hanrahan would hurry up and arrive.

That was the summer of 2008. As it turned out, Nathan and I spent three years together working on the campus newspaper. That surely wasn’t the first weird thing he’d ever said to a stranger, and it definitely was not the last. As I got to know Nathan, I realized there was more to him than my initial impression.

Nathan was not always the best writer and reporter on staff. He was not the best photographer on staff, though he ended up winning a first-place award from the Missouri College Media Association for a photo he took at a local concert. 

He was definitely not the best designer.

But what Nathan lacked in polish, he more than made up for with hard work. I can honestly say nobody worked harder than Nathan Carter in my three years on the Chart. That includes myself.

All the guy did was work his ass off and get better.

When I first started working with Nathan, his writing was pretty rough. 

He lacked the extensive background in journalism some of us were lucky to arrive with. Sending him out to take a photo was like rolling the dice.

Nathan got better, though, and it was impressive to see just how much he was improving. 

By my final semester, Nathan was the most reliable person we had.

Granted, like anybody, his work still needed to be edited. He sometimes misspelled a name or gave somebody the wrong title. I have to say I’m sometimes guilty of the same mistakes, and I’ve been writing for newspapers for going on 10 years.

Nathan, however, was the most reliable person on staff because I knew I could always count on him to come through. If a story broke late or if we needed to fill some space with a new article, Nathan was the guy we gave the assignment.

No matter how much he had on his own budget to finish, no matter how many hours he had worked that week and no matter if he had a 10-page paper due in 12 hours, he would run out of the Chart office and get to work.

Throughout his time on The Chart, Nathan has developed a keen news sense. He’s gotten much, much better at writing and reporting. And he can take some damn good photos given the right light.

His design skills? Well, they’re better than they used to be.

I’ve been away from The Chart since May now, and I miss it a lot. But more than that, I miss working with Nathan Carter.

If I were in a position right now to buy a newspaper and build my own staff, the first person I would call would be Nathan, and nobody could ever say we didn’t work hard to report the news. I know he’d always have my back if I needed him, and I have his, too.

And I shudder to think where this newspaper might be today, if not for Nathan working behind the scenes and striving to put out a good product.

So is Nathan Carter insane?

Well, who knows?

At least you can’t say you haven’t been warned.