It was 10:30 p.m. two Saturdays ago and a couple of roommates had made their usual pit stop at our place before heading out into another wild Fort Collins weekend. No, it was nothing special. Just a bunch of burnt-out college juniors getting ready for one last hurrah before feeling the full weight of finals week drag them into a mild depression.
The shoes were laced. The hair was gelled. The plan was set.
But then the phone rang.
“Did you hear about what’s going on?”
“What? What’s happened?”
“There’s a huge block party and the cops are trying to break it up.”
“Please be kidding.”
A CTV anchor had called in breaking news, which is journalism code for “drop everything you’re doing and make covering this your sole purpose in life until things die down.” Or until you die, in which case someone will take over for you.
The plan was reset. The hair was undone. The shoes were unlaced. And the phone rang again, and again, and again, and again in between calls made to a reporter who hopped on his bike and rode for 15 minutes to the scene of an 800-person party-turned-riot, relaying information from the ground in real-time; a reporter who left another party early to run home and wake up CSU Public Relations with phone calls asking for comment; and an editor who cut his evening short to photograph and assemble an online slideshow of it all, to say nothing of what CTV, KCSU and College Avenue were doing to cover the mayhem as well.
That night, our last hurrahs consisted of covering other students’ last hurrahs. No, it was nothing special. Just a bunch of burnt-out college journalists getting ready for Monday’s Collegian before feeling the full weight of finals week drag them into a mild depression. And all because your wants and needs come before ours.
As Editor in Chief for the upcoming 2013-2014 academic year, I fully intend to keep it that way. It’s why I’ve worked here since first semester freshman year. The Collegian will misstep and publish an article that’s too negative, a column that’s too racially insensitive, or a RamTalk that’s too sexist and immediately feel the condemnation of a 30,000-person campus fall swiftly on its head. But nothing will prevent it from dropping everything at a moment’s notice on a Saturday night before finals week and spending the next six hours working to bring you the latest and best information about a riot unfolding just blocks away from campus.
That’s what happens when you have a 122-year legacy to uphold.
When the Collegian was published for the very first time in December 1891, when CSU was the Colorado Agricultural College and only offered agricultural, mechanical, irrigation engineering and “ladies’” majors, its first editors ran a salutatory that consisted of a simple promise to readers. No, it was nothing special. Just a bunch of burnt-out college journalists getting ready for their first publication before feeling the full weight of the Spanish influenza drag them into a mild depression.
“After much delay, resulting from a number of causes, the Collegian has at last made its appearance. The managers will do their utmost to produce a creditable paper, and one that will meet with the approval of all friends of the College,” they wrote. “It shall be our earnest endeavor at all times to present all of the College news — what the students are doing in the different departments, the changes that are being made, and, in fact, everything of interest connected with the College.”
One hundred and twenty-two years later, the task of keeping this promise has been handed down to me as the paper’s new Editor in Chief.
And that’s why my senior year will be one last hurrah for you.
Editor in Chief Andrew Carrera can be reached at email@example.com.