Building Evergreen’s prestige

CODY COTTIER, Evergreen reporter

Ever since I wrote my first story for The Daily Evergreen in spring 2015, my roommates greet me with surprise if I come home at any point between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.

I can’t blame them. I once spent 48 hours straight in the newsroom, leaving only to buy Panda Express. Since I started, I’ve worked here year-round, spending more time by far in the basement of Murrow Hall than anywhere else — with the skin tone to prove it.

It’s an understatement to say the Evergreen has been my life throughout college. I’ll graduate tomorrow having edited more than 300 newspapers — as copy editor, news editor and editor-in-chief — and having written about as many articles. In that time I’ve grown immensely as a journalist, and I’ve watched this newspaper progress just as much.

A former editor who recently visited the newsroom jokingly compared the Evergreen of four years ago to the National Enquirer. He was exaggerating — this newspaper has always done good work, and back then the staff won multiple awards. But it’s true that we now pursue stories no one even considered when I took my first assignments.

I started out writing about tree-planting ceremonies (yes, plural) and research awards. There’s nothing wrong with these stories, but they’re a far cry from the budget analysis and administrative retaliation I’ve covered in my final year as a student journalist.

This kind of watchdog reporting is the signature of a new culture in our newsroom. It’s what swayed our audience to save the newspaper from financial ruin with a student fee, and it’s exactly what college journalism should be. I’m proud to have been here to ring in a new era for the Evergreen.

But most of all I’m honored to have worked with so many incredible people — from the now graduated editors of my first semesters who introduced me to the art of making a paper, to the current staff, who are constantly working to master that art.

They’re adept journalists, intelligent people and wonderful friends. Most of my favorite college memories involve at least one of them, and I’ll miss them all. I’ll miss the photowalks, the Evergreen parties, the long days and nights spent slaving away in shared exhaustion and dedication.

Part of me wishes I could stick around, to keep up the momentum I’ve been lucky to help build at the Evergreen. But I expect great things from the next generation of editors, and those that will follow them. I’ll be content to watch from afar as they continue to seek truth, hold powerful people accountable and tell the story of WSU.