To our readers:
Ken Chang, Editor in Chief
The job of a student journalist is anything but easy. It comes at the expense of an erratic sleep schedule, a serious, if not vicious, caffeine addiction and a generalized fear of being without a phone, W.A.P. for short.
Almost immediately, you’re reminded of why you signed on the dotted line in the first place, and why it’s been worth each and every sacrifice since. Because, in addition to the privileges it grants you — the exclusive access to campus events, the nothing if not intimidating email signature and the perfect excuse for being late to just about anything — it gives you a drive, a sense of purpose.
Journalism of any form — student, independent or otherwise — with all of its perks and pitfalls, accompanies a rather serious, long-standing obligation: to hold all institutions — the powerful ones, in particular — accountable, both for their actions and inactions.
We’re not here to appease the comfortable, and we’re certainly not here to make any friends (just look at our comments section). It’s a lesson that I learned on my first day here in this old, dusty office in the West Annex of Perkins, and it’s one that I continue to carry with me as I sit here writing this letter on my last.
Since the beginning of my tenure as editor in chief, people have been quick to ask me, ‘Why?’
A fair question, given my background in the the seemingly divorced fields of neuroscience and psychology. But at the intersection of these three, if not all, areas of study is a shared desire, both to challenge our assumptions and to be challenged by them.
I first became involved with the newspaper in the fall of 2015 as part of an optional assignment in an offhandedly selected news writing course. What all-too-quickly followed was a three-year journey paved with trials, tribulations and, above all, growth.
In the time I’ve spent in this office, we’ve experienced, researched and reported on a wide and diverse range of stories. From possible hate crimes to student-led demonstrations to unexpected presidencies, we have put our printing press through the mill and back, often behind deadline.
And through the triumphs and the catastrophes alike, I was fortunate enough have a group of impassioned, motivated and intelligent staff members right there with me to confidently, and carefully, dismantle any argument that had the misfortune of making its way to the floor.
As painstaking and irritating as it may be, this often hilarious social tradition proved to be doubly beneficial, strengthening our growth as a group and widening the dimensions of our coverage.
All news agencies, from the New York Times on down, are inherently bottom-up in their organizational structure, and we are no exception. What we do here — what we’ve done — doesn’t happen without the collective contributions of each and every hire. So for every photo, every report, every print design, every copy edit, every unresolved comment and every WordPress post, I can’t thank my staff — the ones who truly made it happen — enough.
It has been nothing short of a pleasure working with every one of you, the quirky, ragtag group of bright-minded and bright-futured young professionals that I’ve come to love. I only hope that you have gained as much from this past year as I have. Because of you, I not only found a drive, but a family to share it with, too.
Before signing off for the very last time, I have to pay homage, both to the alumni that have gotten The Review to where it is today and the future staff members that will undoubtedly take it to where it needs to go.
To Meghan and Matt –
Thank you for all of your guidance, support and trust … and for running my rhyming lede way back when (see: Senioritis: A tale of affliction told from the Grotto’s porch).
To Ali, Ryan, Will and Margaret –
For every RSBI and every conversation in between, thanks for the making the newspaper, in every sense of the word, a home.
To Mike –
It’s been a long road and we’ve shared a mountain of difficulties, and then some. That said, I’m glad we could experience it together, and I wish you all the best the next year and beyond. I’ll always have your back, just like I know you’ll always have mine.
To the journalism faculty –
Words can’t express how much we appreciate all of the advice, counsel and expertise you’ve offered us over the past year. The Review is incredibly fortunate to have such invested and credentialed experts behind it. We don’t acknowledge your contributions enough, but know that we benefit from them each and every day.
To Caleb and Brandon –
I can’t overstate how excited I am, both for you and road ahead for the newspaper. The Review is difficult torch to pass logistically and emotionally, but I feel secure leaving it in your ready and capable hands. I hope you’ll continue to make the newspaper the welcoming place it’s meant to be; just be sure that everyone leaves their oxford commas at the door.
Mike Henretty, Executive Editor
I thought I knew what to expect from getting involved with The Review when I did. I figured I’d come on, write a story or two, and feel the waters out. What I didn’t expect, was to fall in love. Hard and fast, something like a Nicholas Sparks novel.
I fell in love with it all. The thrill of reporting, working on a tight deadline, having words dance around my head like some odd, funny ballet. There wasn’t a single piece of it that I wasn’t wholeheartedly obsessed with. And it just so happens, that as I was falling in love with it all, so was Ken.
So we took a leap, and applied to be Co-Managing News Editors for our second year on staff. We were hired, and had a great year running the news section together. Ken and I, a neuroscience major and a business geek, respectively, ran the hell out of that news section. Backed by a staff of dedicated, hard working reporters, we churned out meaningful, insightful stories week in and week out. Then our next year came along, and we both took our commitment to the next level.
Which brings us to right about now, with me sitting at my desk writing this letter, and Ken sitting across from me writing his. Somehow, our year running the show is already over. And I’m not entirely sure where it went.
Over the past three years, The Review has become a part of my identity. A very large, very influential part. It’s not easy to say goodbye to something you consider yourself to be a part of, something you consider to be a part of you. It becomes even harder when you love that special something.
Next year, Ken will be moving on to grad school at Johns Hopkins, and I to my senior year, which will be spent trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. For Ken, grad school was the next logical step (the kid’s a genius, if you didn’t know). For me, the decision to move forward from The Review was a much harder one.
I’ve spent many nights over the last few months trying to figure out what my next step would be. Ultimately, I’ve decided to step away from The Review’s staff. Balancing being a full-time student and two other jobs, I believe this decision is in both my best personal interest and the best interest of the paper.
I pride myself on being good with my words, which makes writing this exceptionally hard for me, because I can’t seem to find the words to describe what this newspaper means to me. Being blessed with the opportunity to help lead this paper has been, bar none, the best thing that has happened upon me during my time at this university.
Ken, thanks for having my back these last three years. I love you like a brother, dude.
To those working on staff who I’ve had the absolute pleasure of working with this year, thank you. For putting up with my absences from meetings when I couldn’t get off of work, for pushing me to be the best, most open and accepting version of myself, and most importantly, for your undying commitment to this paper.
To my friends and family, as well as the university’s journalism department – thank you for your unconditional support and guidance these past three years in everything that I’ve done with The Review. It has meant more to me than you know.
Caleb and Brandon, there will be an endless list of things that you two will want to accomplish during your year at the top. Go for it, all of it. Let every story you publish, every advance you make for this paper, be a victory. I have nothing but the utmost amount of confidence that you two will make this paper the best version of itself.
And to our readers, please continue to keep these guys honest, and keep giving them your support. Student journalism, in all its importance, is a dying craft. Do not let it die on our campus.
Thank you for giving me this amazing opportunity.