Letter from the editor: ‘It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live’

The Evergreen helped me become the journalist I want to be



Puneet Bsanti with her guinea pig Cedric.

PUNEET BSANTI, Deputy news editor

When I was in high school, I dreamt up many ways my life would go once I got to college. I had goals I was determined to accomplish so I could make my parents finally proud.

I was and am a first-generation Punjabi woman from the Bay Area who had never stepped foot in Eastern Washington before, but I was excited for this new adventure. As I graduate in a few days, I hope 16-year-old me will be proud as I did live the dreams I conjured up. 

I was a junior when I joined the Daily Evergreen and spent my first two years focused on the English side of my life, so I knew I had to spend time creating a portfolio 

My priority was not just to improve my skills, but to cover the communities of color in Pullman. I was mentored by my former news editor Emma Ledbetter who provided guidance so I could be connected in the journalism community. I learned how to cover difficult topics through Emma and through Lannan Ruiz, our former Culture editor, who mentored me on how to report on communities of color.

I became the culture-beat reporter in Fall 2022 after the entire section was cut. My former news editor Frankie Beer was incredible in letting me write about the people I wanted written about. We got to cover the Nepali community for the first time and expanded a little more of our coverage on the Native community. I felt proud of myself and wanted to keep the coverage going.

Then we were hit with a tragedy in November with the homicides in Moscow. I continued my culture coverage, but then during Thanksgiving break, there was a press coverage and I was one of the only people in town. After that, I felt driven to cover more of the homicides and other crime stories. 

When I was chosen as deputy news editor, I was nervous because I wanted to help lead the news section well. Before the spring semester even started I was covering a SWAT shooting with the help of my Editor-In-Chief Mikayla Finnerty, who would call me whenever a press release was released about the incident. 

After school started, my news editor and partner throughout this semester, Saydee Phothivongsa, and I covered the Moscow homicide suspect’s arrest. I attended a hearing with our reporter and former news editor Timothy Fairbanks-Clouser, several of us wrote follow-ups about the case. More tragedies hit our campus with a student who overdosed in the Streit-Perham dormitory. 

I am proud of our reporters for keeping up coverage of stories surrounding the Pullman community. We hired some incredible students who have written stories that I will always remember. This semester was stressful but it was so much fun, with my love for journalism and writing prospering. 

However, most importantly, I gained some amazing friendships. I will miss being in a newsroom with a leader like Mikayla who always checked in with us and supported us unselfishly. The newspaper thrived under her guidance. 

I will miss talking to my fellow editors on Wednesdays, joking around even when things get serious. I got to know these incredible people and will always be amazed by their talent. The Life section led by Gabrielle Feliciano produced beautiful stories about people in Pullman and most importantly to me, the communities of color. 

I won’t admit it in person, but I will possibly miss our future Editor-In-Chief Brandon Willman’s presence, despite the headaches I get. 

I am nervous to go on my next journalism journey because the one person who kept me sane will not be there. Saydee, my journalism best friend and confidant, I will forever remember our newsroom moments. I will miss our inside jokes, laughing till tears welled in my eyes and making fun of Brandon. There were stressful times but we got through it and I am proud of us. I am so thankful that we both got chosen to lead the news section this semester because, genuinely, I don’t know how I could do it without you. 

I know you will live it up in the Spokesman even though news can suck sometimes, but you will do amazing. I hope our journeys will take us to the same newspaper someday, maybe the Seattle Times or New York Times, so we can continue making our inside jokes. 

I also want to thank my mentors: Tracy Simmons for taking a chance on me even though I’m not a religion reporter, Ben Shors for always listening whenever I go to his office and giving the best advice so I can succeed with my stories. My love of journalism became stronger whenever I spoke to Alison Boggs and she truly helped our Kohberger coverage during the beginning of the semester. Also, Brooklyn Walter, who isn’t a journalist but one of the best bosses I could ever have. She always saw the potential in me and helped talk me through my stories. 

I am excited to continue my journalism journey even if it isn’t in the Evergreen newsroom. This was one stepping stone to my unknown future and one that I will always hold dear to my heart.