The managing editor and I had high hopes for the first paper of the semester. We introduced “The Grind,” dedicated a page to presenting the editorial board and wrote a “Words of wisdom” editorial to help guide new students through their first semester.
We incorporated graphics, challenged the design and pressed the advertising department into jumping the paper up to 20 pages. When it was time to print, technical errors occurred and left us with an eight-page paper and a 4 a.m. work night before our first day of class.
It was then I knew this was not going to be an easy semester.
Looking back, I never could’ve predicted the life experience I would receive from being editor-in-chief. We’ve had our press delayed (twice) by some uncontrollable factor, a power outage that resulted in a 2,000-person “disturbance,” a never ending battle to connect with on-campus sources, ongoing budget issues, the Occupy movement and the first faculty strike in SIUC history. Daily Egyptian alums have jokingly said we’ve been haunted by the malicious Gus Bode whose feelings were hurt when we tried to revamp his image. I believe it was all coincidence, and at times I consider it to have been luck.
I cannot count the number of times we wanted to give up. There were situations when I wanted to pull my hair out and force all staff members to take on 75 push-ups (that’s for you, Phil) because I was so frustrated, but I didn’t. Instead we all worked together and, as a completely new staff, conquered all of the obstacles thrown at us.
The strike in particular is what sticks out to me. It was a delicate time on campus and we went through leaps and bounds to cover it to the best of our ability, often without sleep. We went into classrooms, talked to students, stood on the picket lines and even stationed staff outside the bargaining room during all hours to ensure we would know if an agreement was reached. We grew from being entry-level reporters to full-fledged journalists.
What I’ve learned more than anything during the past 11 weeks is how amazing the DE is. The skills I’ve picked up are irreplaceable, the lessons I’ve learned will last a lifetime, and my relationships with co-workers evolved into what could be comparable to that of my family. Although this semester wasn’t easy, it was worth it. The self-equity I’ve inherited alone makes me so fortunate.
Last but not least, I want to thank those who contributed to the DE’s success this semester:
Katie Hector, managing editor and partner in crime, thank you for everything. We’ve driven each other crazy, but also kept one another from going insane. If it were anyone else, I don’t know if it would’ve been so great.
Thanks to all of the desk editors who kicked ass and filled the newsroom with enthusiasm. I commend all of you for helping us maintain our sanity.
All of the reporters, copy editors, designers and photogs — thank you for challenging yourself and others; without you the paper wouldn’t have survived. And Ben Bayliff for putting up with us journalists every night and keeping our website beautiful.
Eric Fidler, for being there to confide in. You provided insight through each situation and helped me develop the confidence necessary to take on the position. Thanks for the quad-shot lattes during the strike; I wouldn’t have made it until 5 a.m. without them. Oh yeah, and for anticipating this semester’s events. When you told me that it was going to be tough, I don’t think you even understood how on point you were.
Bill Freivogel, for teaching me in class the power of the First Amendment and what it means to truly act ethically. I can’t tell you how many times I referred back to concepts we learned in class when faced with complicated decisions.