Almost a year ago, I walked into The Phoenix’s newsroom for the first time as editor-in-chief.
Full of a confusing and daunting combination of anticipation and nerves, I found an envelope taped to my desktop. It included a letter from former Editor-in-Chief Henry Redman giving gentle advice and appropriate jokes about the year that lied ahead of me.
Now, I’m in The Phoenix’s newsroom for what very well may be the last time. It’s a chaos-filled night — Loyola students have been sent out of the dorms and classes are transitioning online, Chicago resembles a ghost town in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak and of course, it’s Election Day in Illinois.
I was rifling through my bag when I found the letter from Henry.
“Remember this isn’t your paper, you’re just the guardian of it for a year,” he wrote.
In my head, I read those words for the first time just yesterday. But in reality, my time as the entrusted guardian of The Phoenix is almost up. It’s hard to grasp, to say the least.
Yes, we still have some time left and a hell of a lot of coverage coming our way. But there’s no way it will be the same without the entire staff piled into School of Communication room 009 for hours on end.
If you’ve kept up with my columns, I don’t keep it a secret that I love my job. I love the people I work with, the work we do and the unique experience of being a student reporter. I usually write about my feelings toward this paper in a whimsical, lighthearted way. That doesn’t really seem appropriate right now.
Over my time as editor, I’ve kept that word “guardian” in mind. Every time I’ve been faced with a tough decision, a staff problem or an overwhelming amount of work, I’ve been reminded that I have a responsibility here.
I’m responsible to my staffers, our reporters, our readers and the university as a whole. I’m a guardian, a parent of sorts.
Now, I don’t know too much about being a parent. Alright, I know absolutely nothing about being a parent. But I imagine there are some similarities to being the editor of a college paper.
Sometimes your child (or an editor) won’t stop crying (or asking questions) and you don’t know how to get them to stop. Sometimes your child (or the newspaper) makes a bunch of people angry and you have to stick up for yourself. Sometimes it’s so much work and you want to quit, but the responsibility pulls you back in.
And sometimes your child (or the paper) makes you so damn proud you’re not sure what to do with yourself.
After nine months of being The Phoenix’s guardian, I’ve seen an unreal amount of growth in the coverage we’ve tackled. The people have grown, too. I’ve never been much of a “mom” character, but as the nostalgia hits on my last night in the newsroom, I’m starting to feel what I believe is… motherly pride?
My time here isn’t quite done, though. I still have another few weeks to leave my mark on this paper and Loyola as a whole. And I can’t wait.
This week, find an influx of coronavirus coverage across all sections. How is the pandemic affecting the Loyola community, Chicago as a whole, the sports world and arts? Find out in this week’s issue.
As we’re cutting down our print circulation, be sure to stay up to date on our website at www.loyolaphoenix.com, and on social media. You can find us on Twitter @PhoenixLUC, on Instagram @loyolaphoenix and Facebook @LoyolaPhoenix.