I remember the moment I picked up The Aquinian and saw my byline on the front page for the first time. It was my third week at St. Thomas University. The story was about a first-year student who got her dorm room broken into and her car keys and car stolen. I nervously pitched the idea at the story meeting the week before, and the older, more experienced editors hesitantly gave it to me – hoping that, somehow, I would be able to get the student to talk to me. And I did. Seeing that byline on the front page, and the excitement of a juicy news story, I knew I would stay involved with The Aquinian. I was hooked.
About a month later, I got another front-page byline about a fight at Harrington Hall, my residence at the time, which caused some uproar. It was the first time I received hate mail and ugly stares because of a story – but not the last. It was thrilling, but it’s when I first realized journalism isn’t all sunshine and flowers. And I like it that way.
I continued my involvement as news editor of the AQ last year. And this year, I took on the role as editor-in-chief.
One of my most exciting stories as news editor was the campus arrest last fall. It was my first breaking news story and luckily my editor knew what she was doing and helped me. It was such an adrenaline rush, and I will never forgetting running around campus, recorder in hand.
Last year, I covered what I call the Molchanov incident, which included an argument and alleged harassment of a student by political science professor Mikhail Molchanov. After the university told both parties not to talk to the media, I was irritated. But I didn’t give up. The story needed to be told, and I found someone to tell it. I came out of my interview with Molchanov’s family member remembering why I chose journalism. I ran to my editor with the same feeling as I did in first year.
As editor-in-chief, I oversee the whole paper. This job isn’t about just writing and editing. I’m also in charge of seven people – who are my colleagues, my friends and my age or older. There have been a lot of ups and downs to being in charge of people, but at the end of the day I love and care about the AQ and will do anything for it.
A lot of my job as editor-in-chief has been working with young reporters. When I see the spark in their eyes and their realization of how kick-ass journalism is, it brings me back to my first year and reminds me why I chose to study and practice journalism.
Being a part of the student newspaper, I have learned more than any class I’ve taken at STU. When you’re writing more than one story a week, and editing your peers’ work and making decisions about story ideas and layout, you get a small taste of the newsroom lifestyle. I’ve learned deadlines. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve had to deal with things way over my maturity level. I’ve also learned to be tough. And I’ve had the opportunity to do something I am passionate about.
I am going to miss The Aquinian, but I know that the paper will be in good hands. Joe has proven to me this year that he has some awesome, yet quirky, ideas and that he can get a reaction (good and bad) out of readers. I’m excited to see what he does with the paper next year.
Looking back on my university career, a lot of things have changed. I’ve stopped participating in certain activities and I’ve dropped a few friends, but one thing that’s always been a constant is my involvement with the AQ. I will always remember it, and in some way the AQ will always be a part of me.