As my time as mint editor comes to an end, I am thankful for the time I spent serving in this role. I have learned much about myself, about others and about the life of the newsroom. Here are my five biggest takeaways from this semester.
1. People come first
In the hustle and bustle of the Evergreen, reporters and editors alike can become overwhelmed by the amount of work there is to do. As the mint editor, I can’t imagine how much truer that might be for news or sports or any other section. In the midst of all the work that needs to be done, though, are peoples’ lives.
Serving as mint editor allowed me to learn to be more compassionate and open to what others are living through, especially my own reporters. Life happens. Tragedy happens. Mental health roadblocks happen. It is my job to keep the section running, but it is also my job to make sure there is space for life to happen. An important lesson I learned is that people come first and are the most important part of my job.
2. Boundaries are essential
I believe it is important in any job to take care of oneself. The Daily Evergreen puts that priority to the test. Boundaries are the only way to make it through this job with your head screwed on straight. One of my boundaries was to avoid working on Thursdays, the day after production, so I could rest before thinking about the next set of stories.
The Daily Evergreen can be an around-the-clock, seven-day week job if one is not careful. Boundaries allowed me to give my best attention to the stories that were produced and counsel for my reporters.
3. Mistakes are learning opportunities
When a story comes back with edits longer than the original story, that is incredibly disheartening. When three stories in one week came back like that, I decided I needed to take a step back. Mistakes happen, especially as an editor. Often, even the mistakes of a reporter can feel like the mistakes of the editor.
When mistakes happen, though, it’s important to remember that The Daily Evergreen is a student newspaper, and we are not highly-trained professionals, but students learning about a craft we are passionate about. I think it’s also important for the community to remember that we make mistakes and to be gentle with us, although we also need to be held accountable.
4. People have a story you don’t know about
Journalism has taught me the importance of looking deeper than the surface may appear. There is nothing that brings me more joy than when I am in the middle of an interview and the source opens up to me about something meaningful that has affected their lives. I love hearing about their hopes and passions and why they do what they do.
Mint was the perfect editorial role for someone like me who loves to hear about people. As an editor, I love reading out stories my staff has completed where they write things about subjects I had no idea about. I also love talking to my own reporters and finding out what they love and are passionate about through our conversations and their columns.
5. It’s important to have fun
This might sound a little cheesy, but it’s true. I have loved working with everyone at the paper this semester. I have loved watching editors play baseball with a ping pong ball and a broom in the newsroom. I have loved watching editors take shortcuts through small openings in the newsroom. I have loved the conversations and the jokes – especially the journalism ones. It brings me joy when my reporters want to get a section dog or go out to dinner to celebrate a victory.
The newsroom is a place full of hard-working and dedicated people, and I am thankful for every single one of them. The paper could not operate without the passion these people have for journalism and the care they have for each other.