From the Editor's Desk

From the Editor’s Desk: A Lesson from ‘On the Road’ — Find Extraordinary in the Ordinary

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As journalists, we have the opportunity to see the world through the lens of a storyteller. I’m a firm believer that everyone has some sort of story — as reporters, it’s our job to find what that story is.

As my time at Loyola winds down, I’ve started to think about what I want to do for a career. And as I recount the stories I’ve most enjoyed writing for The Phoenix, it’s been the ones where I’ve found the extraordinary in everyday things or ordinary people.

Growing up, I would often watch the “CBS Evening News” with my parents. We fell in love with master storyteller Steve Hartman’s series, “On the Road” — and boy, there was hardly ever a dry eye in the place when we’d sit down to watch it. We’d usually pass the tissue box around while he narrated extraordinary stories involving ordinary people across America. 

Before Hartman revived the series in 2011, “On the Road” originally aired from 1967-1980 on the “CBS Evening News” with Walter Cronkite. Longtime CBS journalist Charles Kuralt toured America in a camper, avoiding highways and taking back roads to document the lives of Americans.

Two years ago, the series aired a must-watch tribute to Hartman’s father after he died — my favorite story he’s done. It chronicles Hartman’s father’s quirks and shows clips from when they cleaned out his Toledo, Ohio home at the end of his life. It’s a tearjerker for sure. But what makes the story extraordinary is how beautiful and relatable his father’s seemingly ordinary life was.

Another remarkable piece Hartman did was on a high school basketball player who dedicated a game to a friend he’d lost to cancer — then, a miracle happened. I’ll let you watch.

He’s also run funny stories of himself — one where he owns up to his “self-diagnosed weed addiction,” pulling weeds off his four-acre property in upstate New York to make room for wildflowers. 

Even though hard news is essential and I have a passion for it, Hartman embodies exactly what news outlets need a touch more of: this type of wholesome coverage. I’m going to bring it to a small scale, to our little Loyola “bubble.”

It’s just a matter of finding the “extraordinary” in the ordinary at Loyola and in the surrounding community. If you have anything, I’d love to hear about it over email: mchappell@luc.edu.

In News this week, find a piece on Loyola’s recently announced tuition increase and event coverage on Biden Administration Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci’s visit to a Loyola webinar.

In Opinion, read a piece calling for more Indigenous voices in climate conversations and a staff editorial criticizing Loyola’s tuition increase. 

In A&E, a review of Weezer’s latest studio album and a piece highlighting the fashion statements in Netflix’s smash hit show, “Bridgerton.”

In Sports, find a piece on men’s volleyball welcoming its largest first-year class in program history.

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