Creating a multiple exposure is a process in which several photos are taken and superimposed on each other to create one image. The light exposure is typically the same, but the position of the subject or subjects, changes.
My experience at this newspaper and university has been a multiple exposure.
From covering the 2011 faculty strike on campus desk, to volleyball on the sports desk, running the paper from the Editor-in-Chief desk, covering the Carbondale City Council from the city desk and finally selecting the art for the paper from photo desk, I’ve tried to do it all.
In four years I’ve watched the university change as I moved from desk to desk; but my constant has always been this newspaper.
Like skipping class to write a story, accidentally deleting interviews or having to listen to the press superintendent freak out for the first time, this farewell column is another tradition of working at this student newspaper.
But have no fear; I won’t bore you with tales of countless hours spent in a windowless office with carpet older than my parents. Because none of those stories of cold pizza, inside jokes or nights sleeping on the photo room couch will really express what this newspaper, that at times felt like the only thing that mattered, has meant to me.
Those stories won’t express the sheer terror I felt preparing for my first interview; and there are too many instances of crying in bathrooms across campus to fit in one column.
Not that I’ve been too jaded by this place, just the opposite. This is where I fell in love with storytelling.
Communications room 1247 is where I learned insightful and detailed reporting and photography could make a difference in the communities we live in.
I don’t think I am in the minority by saying the people we student journalists meet and whose stories we have the privilege of telling are what make the job worthwhile.
At the end of the day, the people we write about or take photos of are the most important part of what we do.
Talking to Dale Barnfield on the steps of what used to be his home was one of the most humbling experiences of my life.
Directly behind us was the exposed bedroom where he slept through the EF4 tornado that hit the community of Harrisburg, just 45 minutes east of Carbondale, and killed eight people Feb. 29, 2012.
Walls were missing from Dale’s home and from the sidewalk you could see the dishes he left on the table the night before.
The house the 82-year-old had lived in his entire life was destroyed, but that day he told me about the best times he spent there.
At the time I was the managing editor at the DE. A co-worker and I drove to the area before many residents knew an entire neighborhood of the city had been leveled.
That day I spent a good amount of time with Dale as he and his neighbors searched for his dog. He didn’t seem to care much about his house, just that he found his beagle, Baby.
He called me the next day to let me know he found her. A few months later I went back to Harrisburg to watch Dale start rebuilding his house with Baby by his side.
In four years of reporting, Dale’s story meant the most to me.
The work of students and staff at the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders on campus has amazed me since I first wrote a story about it my freshman year.
Every game, activity, snack or conversation between the college students and children has a goal based on social or daily living skills.
This semester I sat in on a therapy session with Max Shackelton, 6, of Desoto and Robbie Sheley, 6, of Willisville during Autism Awareness Month.
My favorite photo from that day was a quiet moment of Max playing with a toy train set. Max was comfortable enough with me to let me take pictures of him during his playtime. To me, the photo showed a different side of autism.
Thank you to the wonderful people in the School of Journalism for teaching me how to do what I do, and thank you to the wonderful people of southern Illinois for letting me do what I love to do.