My first visit to The Daily’s newsroom didn’t go that well. I attended the Open House for interested reporters but ended up turning around after I saw the sheer number of people piled inside the tiny room on the third floor of Norris.
It took me weeks to take my first story: a poetry reading at Bookends and Beginnings. That didn’t go well either. The poetry went over my head.
Fast forward three years, and I’m making one of my final trips to the newsroom for our last night of regular publication for the quarter. It’s a moment I have jokingly wished for all quarter, especially when we were in the newsroom exceptionally late or when a particular story was causing problems.
But, now that it’s here, I find myself unexpectedly nostalgic.
My first beat at The Daily was covering Evanston city council. A robust body of government, council isn’t particularly well known for moving quickly on big decisions. Sometimes, what is on the surface a simple issue becomes embroiled in an outpouring of community opinion.
But recently, I’ve noticed a lot of the issues I covered as a freshman are coming to fruition: The road work at the intersection of Ridge, Emerson and Green Bay, the apartment building going up at 831 Emerson Street and the new Theo Ubique Cabaret theatre on Howard Street. All were winding their way through council just a few years ago, never seeming like they could someday be concrete realities. Now, here they are.
And it isn’t just council stories I remember: When I go on bike rides around the city, I find myself remembering an event I covered in that church, or a man-on-the-street interview I did on that corner, or a new business I profiled on this block.
My time in the newsroom has been just as formative. It was with a lot of trepidation that I ever applied to be an editor in the first place, and I still often feel out of my league when making editorial decisions as editor in chief.
And while it’s clear The Daily has a lot of work to do on its institutional issues — primary among them improving our coverage of marginalized people on this campus — I’m incredibly hopeful for the path this newsroom is on. I leave this paper knowing that the editors who are now in charge are capable, determined and much, much more talented than I.
I consider myself extremely lucky to have gotten the opportunity to cover Evanston. The city has shaped what kind of reporter I want to be, and I’m grateful for that.
And if I have one piece of advice for those student journalists coming after me, it’d be to dive into whatever you’re covering. Get passionate. The dividends will come.
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