The old man of the newsroom and the only graduate student

TYLER LAFERRIERE, Evergreen columnist

Student journalism had always been in the periphery of my academic experience. I took a journalism elective in high school and, given the newness of our institution, we were given the task of establishing a student newspaper.

Upon arriving in Pullman the summer of 2015, I searched for local jobs to pay the bills and fund my consumption of adult beverages. The first opportunity I saw that fit my skillset and work history was for a position at The Summer Evergreen. I quickly made a name for myself by writing a column about being a gay Catholic for a diversity-focused edition. Two years later, I am no longer Catholic but very much gay.

I was the old man of the newsroom from the first night I served as copy editor during the fall of 2015. It is an easy feat when one is the only graduate student on staff.

Despite a full slate of classes that first semester of graduate studies, I decided to copy edit at least two nights a week. I quickly learned to hate sports weekend editions and how far pathological irreverence endears one to the rest of the editorial staff. The newsroom also has as much intra-staff drama as “The Office,” it seems.

Staying at the Evergreen for two years also teaches a person adaptability. Four semesters meant four opinion editors, meaning different perspectives and personalities to navigate. No two section leads were exactly the same, yet each had something new to teach.

Everyone has an opinion, yet not everyone is equipped to be an opinion writer. Even a seasoned writer like myself struggles with always making an effective, pithy, concise column that arouses at least a few hackles in the community.

Some columns were excellent; others were boring enough to warrant being used when training a puppy to not urinate indoors. Some ended up too short, others too long. Readouts could be quick or grueling, and there were those editing sessions when I wondered if I was on hallucinogens when I wrote the piece. To be honest, a few columns were written under the influence of wine or gin.

Despite the dry ritualism of Sunday all-staff meetings and the long nights of copy editing, my WSU experience would not have been the same without my time as an Evergreen columnist. Some of my greatest friendships were formed at the Evergreen, many of them during the long, cold nights in the copy editing chair. At no other workplace could I walk into work only to find my editor huddled in her office in the dark.

So thank you, The Daily Evergreen, for all the laughs and AP style edits.