Editor’s Desk: Bonding Experiences with The Vanderbilt Hustler

Since the beginning of the school year, I have served as editor-in-chief of The Loyola Phoenix alongside Managing Editor Ella Govrik.

Gorvik, who was born and raised in Nashville, began writing for The Phoenix the same time as me and has become one of the most talented people on staff and one of my best friends.

With her in mind, I reached out to The Vanderbilt Hustler, the oldest newspaper in the state of Tennessee with a 136-year history.

When the former editor-in-chief of The Hustler stepped down at the end of last semester, their then-managing editor Jorie Fawcett took on the role for the rest of the school year.

The Hustler offers an on-boarding experience for first-years over the summer, so Fawcett has been writing for the paper since July 2021 — before her first day at Vanderbilt University. 

“I have yet to participate in college without being on The Hustler, like I literally don’t know anything else,” said Fawcett, a third-year. “It’s both my favorite and least favorite thing ever. It drives me insane, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Fawcett, a secondary education and sociology double major, chose Vanderbilt because it’s considered to have one of the best education programs in the country.

But Nashville itself was an after-thought when picking the school. Born in Tiffin, Ohio, Fawcett was looking for a good school that was far enough from home to offer independence but allowed her to drive home when she could.

“I think I would be living a completely different life if I even stayed in Ohio, not even necessarily close to home,” Fawcett said. “Being able to live with being uncomfortable for a little bit, you can kind of rise out of it and be able to hold your own because you were able to overcome being miserable.”

Fawcett said she joined many clubs at Vanderbilt including the rowing team as a first-year, a tap dance group, cooking club and a yarn art society, but The Hustler is what stuck the most.

Now, as editor-in-chief, Fawcett said she manages their 20-person staff and over 200 writers for their online-only publication. What makes these numbers even more astounding is that Vanderbilt doesn’t offer a journalism major.

“I do think a lot of people view it as their hobby,” Fawcett said. “Even though we don’t have any professional people on staff, it’s really a true grassroots approach to educating each other.”

Fawcett said she thinks The Hustler is the largest student organization on Vanderbilt’s campus because people can write about what they care about and are interested in.

Govrik and I both started writing in The Phoenix’s Arts & Entertainment section — now simply Arts. Since, we’ve been able to see and review some of our favorite artists around Chicago and at Lollapalooza.

Likewise, Fawcett also began writing student features and concert reviews, seeing Noah Kahan Oct. 4 when he brought out Hozier and Macklemore Sept. 17 at the historic Ryman Auditorium. She also said she’s become extremely close with so many of the people on staff.

“It’s so high stress, and you stay up all night, but there’s only a small group of people who have those same experiences as you,” Fawcett said. “I can’t imagine doing this with anyone else.”

When this job has gotten extremely stressful, I sometimes lose sight of why I started, and this conversation with Fawcett really helped remind me of that. Thank you to her.

And thank you to Govrik for always being there as an editor and as a friend. Be sure to read her most recent review of Olivia Rodrigo’s stop at Chicago’s United Center.

Thank you all for reading.

Featured image courtesy of Jorie Fawcett / The Vanderbilt Huslter