Oh, the places we have been: goodbye from a news editor

Rachel Telljohn

Journalism is addicting in the way I must imagine hard drugs are addicting.

Journalism is no longer my major, and yet some ridiculous part of me cannot seem to rid myself of it. Between my own addictive tendencies and the pressure put on me by my editor, Erin Douglas, I found myself in the position of news editor for the 2017-2018 school year. 

Ad

I entered into the position almost certain I would quit during the fall semester. Except for that whole addict thing. I ended up quitting a different job, and sticking with The Collegian until what feels like the sweetbitter end. 

There were two moments this semester during which I knew I was meant to be a journalist in some capacity, and meant to be a journalist at The Collegian

The first was the day Savannah McNealy died. I woke up at six in the morning that day, very uncharacteristically, to the public safety alerts and went into ‘journalist mode’. That was how I moved through the majority of my day, in journalist mode. I was on my way out of the Lory Student Center when the email came in that it was a student. I ran—ran like my life depended on it—back to the newsroom and typed through the shakiness of adrenaline. 

I was in my mother’s car when the name was released. I sobbed—and I went back to the newsroom. 

I looked around the newsroom at the other faces that surely mirrored mine—red cheeked and puffy eyed—and knew in that moment that they were my family, and there was no other place I was supposed to be. 

The second moment was during the Charlie Kirk speech. I snuck down to the newsroom for a quiet dinner break during the event, only to see the message that there was something happening outside. Without a second thought, I grabbed my coat and my reporter’s notebook and ran out the door. With one of my best friends/coworkers by my side, we tromped through snow, saw a man’s head bleeding and followed neo-nazis. 

Neither experience is something I thought I would experience as a young twenty-something year old, and I owe it to nearly sheer dumb luck that I ended up in the job I did. 

Working for a newspaper is a beast all its own. It involves late nights and moments that make you want to tear your hair out, but those moments subside. The next morning, you have the satisfaction of seeing someone reading the thing you pour your heart and soul into almost daily.

Those stressful moments are also eased by the fact that the people you work with in a newsroom, and in student media more broadly, are some of the best humans to exist on this planet. Somewhere along the way they become your family; you drink together, you cry together and you make one of the coolest things (I think) we get to make in this life, the newspaper. 

I mentioned that I stuck with The Collegian until the sweetbitter end. I call it sweetbitter purposefully—it is a phrase that actually comes from Sappho—because this paper, this life, is sweet before it is bitter, and then it is sweet again. There are quite a few of us graduating (it feels like) from student media this year and I can already tell—it was sweet, it is bitter, and the paper will be sweet once again, even after we leave. 

Ad

Catch you on the flip side, Rocky Mountain Student Media. It is off into the wonderful unknown.

Rachel Telljohn can be reached on Twitter @racheltelljohn