Dear Maddie, We’re Going to Miss You

Editors Isabella Grosso and Aidan Cahill say goodbye to longtime writer Maddie Franz as they graduate.

As the semester ends, The Phoenix extends a very bittersweet goodbye to one of our most experienced writers — news and opinion writer Maddie Franz. Maddie is graduating this semester with degrees in both multimedia journalism and drawing, painting and printmaking. After college, they’ll work for a news station in the Quad Cities. 

While you can count bylines published, words written and hours spent working on stories, none of it can fully tell the story of what Maddie means to the news and opinion sections of The Phoenix. 

Although they joined The Phoenix in their fourth-year, the impact they’ve had has been immense. They’re one of the most consistent and reliable writers, covering everything from prayer vigils to SGLC events to dining hall stories. Over the last year and a half, whenever news needed someone to hop on a double byline or take notes at a last-minute event, Maddie was there with the biggest smile on her face.  

It’s not just the work they do but how they do it — which is what makes Maddie so special. They’re an incredible listener, soaking up every detail of an interview. Watching them take notes is a sight to behold — their fingers dancing across the keyboard at seemingly lighting speed. As a result, watching them talk to people after events was incredibly rewarding. They knew what questions to ask and how to get the best responses. 

This was on display most during last year’s election coverage. Covering the 2023 municipal elections was a logistical challenge The Phoenix doesn’t stumble upon very often. Reporting, writing and publishing a full story with photos and graphics in less than twelve hours is a nightmare — requiring advanced planning and a little bit of luck. 

Not only did Maddie cover the election, but they did it gladly, staying in the basement of the School of Communication well into the early morning with a refreshingly positive attitude. 

Maddie was a critical member of the team assigned to cover it. From the first debate, where a microphone failed and a team member got COVID-19 to an election night spent grabbing quotes and photos from six separate locations, Maddie’s abilities shined through. 

Their calm and collected nature combined with their well-timed sense of humor made all of that chaos so much more special and a joy to cover. The jokes, car rides and crappy pizza made the time fly and memories mean so much more. 

For a newspaper that relies on the dedication of unpaid student writers, having people around who have the maturity and empathy to handle hard pieces while also managing a heavy workload is a luxury. The work Maddie’s done  — both visible and behind the scenes as a friend and soundboard — has been immense. 

Maddie, we’re going to miss you more than you realize. We’re going to miss your humor, your kindness, your stories about your roommate’s cat Beans and your notes from class that you so kindly shared.

Your presence in news meetings, always bringing great story ideas and making us all laugh in the process is something we will miss next semester. Beyond your amazing writing skills, our friendship is something we both hold so near and dear. 

Wherever you go, we know you’ll succeed.  Although we know you’re only a phone call away if we need someone to talk to, it’s going to be hard not seeing you in meetings, Slack and in class. You’ve meant a lot to the people you’ve worked with and your absence will be felt. 

You have an abundance of talent and potential living inside of you. Though this is a very reluctant goodbye, we can’t wait to see all of the love and journalistic skills you bring to this world.

Maddie, we wish you nothing but the best.

Your dear friends, 

Aidan and Isabella

Story by Isabella Grosso and Aidan Cahill

Feature image by Holden Green / The Phoenix

The Phoenix Staff

The Phoenix Staff