Letter from the Life editor: Goodbye to Life, hello to new responsibilities

This editor has plans to move on to managing editor position in spring



Sydney Brown, the current life editor, will take on a new role for the spring 2019 semester at The Daily Evergreen

SYDNEY BROWN, Evergreen life editor

One year ago, I joined The Daily Evergreen as a Life reporter. Today, I’m conducting interviews as next semester’s managing editor.

This marks my last day as the Life editor. When I first started this job, I knew I was in way over my head. I’d only had a semester of reporting experience under my belt and even that was mediocre at best. As an introvert who spent all of high school forcing herself to talk to people, I still wasn’t comfortable with the prospect of talking to strangers.

I knew I wanted to become a journalist, but in the Trump era, the road ahead was unclear and kind of terrifying. In short, I gave my Life editor little reason to even offer me the position, and I didn’t have much reason to accept it.

So why did I take the job?

The people at The Daily Evergreen a year ago were people I will always cite as my reasons for sticking to journalism and WSU in general. My freshman year sucked, quite honestly. I was lonely, even with the friends I made in my dorm. They didn’t seem to understand my reasons for studying journalism. They didn’t seem to understand me.

I began last semester with the belief that I wasn’t good enough to do this job. As many Evergreeners will attest, I had multiple emotional breakdowns in the bathroom of the Murrow basement. I sat down with our old managing editor and told her outright, “I don’t think I can do this.”

I was unprepared for the amount of work that went into this job. It entails more than I think people realize. You have to plan for content, you have to constantly worry about the feedback from the community. And you have to manage a staff of writers who can easily give up at any moment, leaving an entire newspaper hanging on a thread.

No one stays in the job just for the money, or for the experience, or for the chance to see their bylines on a news front. No one comes into this newsroom thinking they will see any level of fame or fortune. We stay because of the people.

Last semester I had the luck to be surrounded by some of the most amazing student journalists this school will ever see. Our content adviser constantly forced us to be better, to rethink content and to care even when it felt impossible. We had stressful times, for sure, but I’ve never grown up faster.

At the end of the spring semester, I decided to apply again for the Life editor position despite my feelings that I had allowed the section to crumble under my leadership. With new tools under my belt, the fall semester was going to be better — I felt it in my bones.

I’m proud of the time and effort I’ve put into this section. I recently looked over my first letter from the editor I put out this semester that said Life would devote itself to producing content that directly helped out the community, showcased businesses and highlighted the most interesting health trends around the Palouse. For the first time, I feel I can say honestly that we’ve lived up to our section days: community, involvement and wellness were our main priorities. I’m leaving this section in more than capable hands.

I love this place; I love the quaint, cold nature of Pullman and I love what the Evergreen has given me. I can’t wait to continue my involvement with it as managing editor next semester. Hopefully the Evergreen can keep up as a source of reliable news content for those of you who read us daily. For those who say we’re fake, biased news, I hope we can change your mind.