The 2011-12 staff of the Washtenaw Voice, arguably the most decorated college newsroom team in Michigan with first-place General Excellence awards in two statewide contests and a third place Best of Show award at the national college media conference, shares a few memories of their year with the newspaper.
I will never forget my time at The Voice and I have learned so much in my short time here.
At the beginning of the year it seemed nearly impossible to come in on a Monday morning with 16 blank pages. The thought of filling all of those pages with content by the next Friday was daunting. But, we did it.
As the year has gone by, we’ve done that 17 more times, adding more pages to the mix almost seamlessly. I will always see the college in a different light now that I have gone in for a day at 6 a.m. and left at 1:30 a.m.
When football season rolls around, I will miss the constant heckling around the office, but I will still know that my team (the Green Bay Packers) will always be better than yours.
Goodbye TI106, and good luck. To the bat cave!
In the summer of 2011, I was a joke.
It wasn’t until early-August that I began to consider what I would do with no job once it started getting colder and school started up again. I’d have to go back.
A past teacher at WCC had mentioned the idea of getting my writing published, as the ultimate goal of any writer. I had taken an Intro to Journalism course the previous semester, and it seemed the main goal of that class was also to get published in some way, by any means necessary.
So there I was, considering this journalism thing rather than the basic liberal arts pursuit. I was intimidated by the school paper, but it seemed the offer to submit stories to the big scary Voice was all I had for hope outside of the minimum-wage grind.
Since that first submission last August, it has been a blur of text, a blur of photos and a blur of achievement. I’ve never succeeded this much in all my life. As I quickly rose to become features editor, it became clear that this was the thing for me.
My love of writing has been truly put to the test, but at least now I feel like I’m living up to my mother’s expectations.
The sad part about working at The Voice is once you start to get comfortable as a group, the year is over and it’s time to say goodbye.
It seems like just yesterday I was sitting down to interview President Bellanca for our first issue. When I look back on this year, obviously I’ll think about Michigan football and spending my Saturday’s in the fall at Michigan Stadium. But I’ll also think about our newsroom and the fun I had sitting next to Ben Solis as we put together 18 issues of .
Trading Dave Chappelle quotes and giggling like children as we listened to our adviser as he cussed under his breath made even the most stressful days fun. From Orlando to Detroit to Mt. Pleasant, this year has been a trip (pardon the pun), and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
When Emma Lazarus wrote the words “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse on your teeming shore,” my experience tells me that she probably had a college newspaper staff in mind.
Working with The Washtenaw Voice for the last two years has taught me volumes about myself and what I can take in terms of mental and emotional abuse. Apparently, reporters are magnets for this kind of crap. It’s a putrid game and addicting game. I lose sleep while I anxiously meet deadlines, just to do it all again the next week. I crave and adore every minute of it.
Our staff was exhilarating and frustrating at the same time, like a sad parody of National Lampoon’s Animal House. We eat enough pizza to kill a cow, and probably have from all of the Sidetrack burgers we’ve eaten in our day-long design and copy editing sessions.
There is no place I’d rather be on Washtenaw’s campus, especially not Logic class, than in my newsroom with the eccentric and glorious writers, photographers and designers of the most decorated campus newspaper in Michigan.
In the Voice office, where I spent most of my time on campus this year, I learned a lot about journalism, design, and probably too much about the people in here.
Spending so much time in a room with our spectacular adviser Keith Gave and the rest of the incredible staff has been invaluable.
Most memorably, I got to shake hands with the president and turn in words and photos to The Voice for the special section we produced for his U-M visit. This paper offers so many opportunities, taking advantage of them all was challenge enough.
I wish I could stay to wel- come in the new staff and continue with the members who are sticking around, but unfortunately for me, it’s time for others to get the pleasure of working here.
The past year at The Washtenaw Voice has been an eye-opening experience for me. A year ago, I was so focused on my photography classes in the Gunder Myran building that I never noticed what was happening on the rest of campus. That changed when I met Keith Gave, the adviser for The Washtenaw Voice.
Keith recognized that I had a talent for photography and writing that could translate into a journalism career. The first few months transformed me – I went from writing dry, unfulfilling essays at the whim of my composition professor to writing my own news stories on subjects that students on campus care about.
My writing and photography weren’t the only things to improve though—my friendships with my coworkers at the Voice grew stronger as well, between long days working on the newspaper and our trips to Orlando and Mount Pleasant.
It’s been a great year, and I couldn’t have had such an amazing time if it weren’t for the wonderful people at Washtenaw Community College.
My favorite memory is when we put the wrong story up on the website. It was Ben’s story and he emailed everyone saying, “MAYDAY MAYDAY…”
It made me imagine that the Voice was this huge airplane made of old newspapers that used stories for fuel, and that we had put the wrong type in it, making it swerve toward the ground.
Working for The Voice allowed me to engage for the first time in serious Web programming. If I hadn’t worked for the newspaper, I would have never learned the depths of the WordPress system so well. My new knowledge has given me the confidence to start many new projects that I wouldn’t have thought possible just a few months ago, and it has greatly increased my ability to speedily design and program quality websites.
Wow, this 2011-12 has been a whirlwind! Coming to The Voice at the end of 2010, I was amazed at the “newsroom.” I could not believe the activity and excitement that I observed, and learning how a newspaper comes to be.
This year has given me so much more admiration for what a reporter has to go through to get interviews, double check their stories, and most importantly meet their deadlines. I am not sure how the editors ever sleep with so many “fires” in their schedules. My mind would never shut down.
Working with the designers has been such a wonderful experience for me. My clients are our advertisers, and the designers have never let me down. I cannot begin to thank the wonderful group that I have met and had the privilege to work with this past year. I congratulate the ones moving on, and look forward to a great year working with the ones coming back.
Wow! It’s been a damn long year and I’m freakin’ exhausted.
I’ve gone without sleep. I’ve gone without family time. I’ve gone without exercise and haven’t carried the best diet all year.
And with all of those sacrifices, I wouldn’t take back one second of this year.
By far, it has been the most incredibly satisfying, exhilarating year of my life.
From riding with the Blue Angels last summer to covering the U-M-Michigan State game in East Lansing in the Fall to writing my favorite sports feature on the Ann Arbor Derby Dimes. . . and let’s not forget covering President Barack Obama on his visit. Needless to say, I’ve been up, I’ve been down. I’ve cried, I’ve panicked. I’ve shaken with excitement. And I have to say I’m so very sad to let this part of my life go.
I’ve only been alive for 26 years and soloing in an airplane, then having an emergency landing in a field cannot top this past year. Alright, maybe not dying when I was 17 was probably the best highlight ever, because I actually lived to write this.
But this year was an amazing reminder why I’m studying journalism. To witness history, tell stories and to experience some really cool stuff.
Now good night. I’ll be back.
It has only been two months since joining The Voice as a staff writer and I’m already on the verge of a mental breakdown. That said, it has been such an amazing two months.
Since the first time I walked into the bedlam that is The Washtenaw Voice office, I have been treated as part of the family. As a journalism major in her second semester of college, I never expected to have a full newsroom experience quiet like this so soon. I was ill-prepared for how real it all was and for how attached I would become to The Voice staffers in such a short amount of time.
I appreciate every moment I get being a part of such an awesome group of people and even the occasional panic attack associated with nearing deadlines pays off when I see my byline. Can’t wait for Fall!
I began working for The Voice as a photographer and became photo editor. This experience piqued my interest in writing, so for the past school year I have served as a freelance reporter. As an introvert, reporting definitely takes me out of my comfort zone, but that’s been a good thing.
On the volunteering beat I have met many amazing volunteers who are making a difference in our community. I also enjoyed researching the history of The Washtenaw Voice and getting to know some of the early staff members, like
former Michigan House Speaker Gary Owen and Dan Kubiske.
It has been an enlightening and fun two and a half years of personal growth.
Writing for The Washtenaw Voice has been one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experience I’ve had in quite some time. I had a lot of great experiences with a lot of great people.
Working at The Washtenaw Voice gave me the opportunity to create an impressive portfolio and learn from my mistakes. The journalism classes taught at WCC are great, but actually working on content that will be published and read by the community has taught me more than I could ever learn sitting in a classroom.
Many students fail to realize that most employers don’t give a crap about grades; they want to know what you can do—and in the newsroom here at Washtenaw, we do it.
Giving help, or a voice, to forgotten or overlooked people was among my most unforgettable moments in the Journalism program at Washtenaw Community College.
Investigating the issue of handicap parking at WCC was very important project. I learned from a handicap person of her pain and suffering in finding a parking spot. I couldn’t believe she was being ignored, and that motivated me to work harder on getting to the facts.
Another story I had a lot of fun with is the story of the World War II veteran, George E. Koskimaki. His eyes were degenerating, along with a few other things, and I was happy he was willing to work with me on capturing his story. For the first two hours he approached me as if I was a hostile anti-war reporter.
Providing a view into the homeless was important work. I tried to put the readers in the shoes of the homeless that were faced with trying to find shelter during a cold wet rainy day. I am thankful for WCC’s journalism program. It helped me to become a better writer and to be more aware of the overlooked. Journalism isn’t dying, it is being transformed—and WCC is leading the way.
My favorite memory at The Washtenaw Voice this year was going to the national college media conference in Orlando with the rest of the staff.
In my experience with managing my son’s hockey teams, it was always that first traveling tournament, when we were all on foreign ice, that the team started to gel.
The same can be said for the Voice staff; on our return, the newspapers just kept getting better. I’m super-stoked that I got to be a part of it, and that I met some great people along the way.
There will always be a smile upon my lips when I think of them and their dedication to their crafts, and if I ever get to Miller’s Ale House in Orlando again, I’ll once again toast the best damn community college newspaper in Michigan. Cheers!