Victory! The Voice staff celebrating its 49 awards at the Michigan Community College Press Association ceremony held at Central Michigan University.(PETER LESHKEVICH THE WASHTENAW VOICE)
MICHAEL J. HLYWA |
If anyone had told me that I would be reporting for a newspaper someday, I’d have laughed. I’d have politely explained that he must have me confused with another.
I have no desire to be some hack writer skulking around crime scenes and courtrooms, poised to sensationalize the next scandal or misfortune. Besides, I lack the audacity to ferret out news and charm information from people.
No, if I wrote at all, it would be behind a desk – quietly, unobtrusively and benevolently.
Then I met a savant who recognized promise in me and my writing.
He showed me that journalism bleeds integrity. He challenged me to step out from behind my desk and interact with the vitality that’s all around me – that’s news.
It was certainly awkward at first – still is, in fact – but gratifying too.
I realized that I don’t have to impose upon others; people want to talk to me. Everyone carries a trove of stories that most are too busy, humble or ill-equipped to write. They see me with a ready pen, an eager ear and an earnest heart, and they open up. And like a mosaic artist, I get to arrange the brilliant fragments of their stories into an illuminating showpiece.
Working for The Washtenaw Voice has allowed me to create art, and that’s nothing to laugh about.
KELLY BRACHA |
Holy crap (can I say holy crap?) has it really been almost two years? Time flies when you’re having fun, as they say.
It’s so hard to write these things, since you’re condensing a year of crazy into 100 or so words. I remember there was a point where I thought, “Hey, I’m getting a pretty good hang of this journalism thing,” but every news cycle has presented a new challenge and new experiences.
When I started at The Voice, I had no clue what I was getting myself into or just how attached I would become. I wouldn’t trade the stress, tears and eventually pride I have felt throughout my time here for anything.
This office is my second home. I won’t try to predict what next year will bring; I just know it will be something I could not possibly expect – in the best way possible.
ADRIAN HEDDEN |
Working with the neurotically talented people at this paper has challenged my patience this year like nothing before. My work through these past two semesters has brought me to the edge of insanity as we we’ve struggled together at putting together the best college newspaper anyone can imagine.
And as our optimistically constructed initial team ultimately splintered and became reborn stronger and more innovative than before, it is clear that there are no limits for The Washtenaw Voice. There’s no telling how truly great this paper can be as it will always prove as a living testament to the dedication and talent inspired at our beloved college.
This rag that saved me – and many of my coworkers – from mediocrity is in good hands for next year. Through the many trials and tribulations, a revolving door of staff has yielded the best and brightest possible to dig deep in search of the news and push my beloved paper to greater heights than I could ever imagine.
It would be an honor to serve with them.
Focus: Designer George O’Donovan building The Voice from scratch.(Charles Manley WASHTENAW VOICE)
PETER HOCHGRAF |
It began with a phone call, out of the blue from Voice adviser Keith Gave. I had attended the previous spring’s Open House, filled out an application but hadn’t followed through on it because I was bogged down with finals, and promptly forgot about it.
So when I got called near the end of the summer asking if I’d like to come and work for The Voice, I was pretty surprised. I had never really thought about working for a newspaper, but since designing news pages isn’t something that we’re taught in school, I figured it would be a neat learning experience, and I needed the money.
In the months that followed, our production Fridays were long and tedious. But come every other Monday, we had a paper out on the newsstands that I’ve come to care for. I’ve met a great group of people I probably would have never even thought about meeting, including one long lost middle school friend. We’ve shared a lot of laughs, and while we may curse each other out on deadline, when it was all over we’d gather around the watering hole and have a good time.
In December I took over the Design Editor position and was able to hire a new designer, George O’Donovan, who I knew did great work. With a new team of designers raring to go, we introduced a redesign of the paper to show that we’re entering the 21st century.
In the end, I’ve had a great time with this great group of people and will miss them next year, as many of the core staff are moving on to bigger, better things. Readers will still have to put up with me for another year, though, and I am looking forward to working with this new group. It will be a different paper, but it will still be just as good as ever.
NATHAN CLARK |
A friend once said to me, “all good things must come to an end,” and he was absolutely right. Of course he was probably talking about getting himself fired from a notable sandwich shop or running out of cake on his birthday. Sadly, my good thing coming to an end suffers from a severe lack of frosting; yet, it is still sweet to my heart.
After two years of top-notch higher education and working at The Voice, I’m graduating and moving on to continue my pursuit of life-long fulfillment and joy.
Working at The Voice has truly been an interesting experience. From starting out as a lowly contributor, working my way up to staff writer, then managing editor and finally to photo editor has been a phenomenal journey.
I met some great, and some not-so-great people during my time at The Voice. Leaving them behind is the most painful thing about my departure. I’ll miss everyone.
I can only hope that the students who follow in my footsteps will enjoy riding the journalism roller coaster that thunders through to newsroom in TI 106 as much as I did.
I’ll truly miss it.
GEORGE O’DONOVAN |
As my first semester comes to a close at The Voice, I never thought I would be here right now.
In the past, I did some work for the paper, but never expected to be laying out pages every two weeks. As each issue lands on the racks, my drive to produce ideas keeps growing.
The newsroom has had its ups and downs but the passion is so strong. That is one thing I love about being on the team. Each time an idea comes up, I look for that unique part to bring into the design.
When everyone from the editors down to the correspondents work together on the stories, great things happen. Each issue has been packed full of great ideas from personality profiles of the instructors to more sensitive issues that students may not even think about.
I truly believe that this is only the beginning of a change for The Voice. While I am here, I will make sure that I work with everyone to illustrate our ideas together. If we keep it up, we will win more respect from our readers and the community we call home.
BECKY ALLISTON |
It is hard to believe another year has come to a close with The Voice. Over the last 2 ½ years, I have worked with many different fabulous writers, designers and photographers, and I have learned something for each one.
This year has been no exception. As advertising has been successful, the writers have had to see some of their stories held, and the designers have had to place the ads for our clients’ benefit. The support I have felt from this group has been overwhelming and something that will be hard to replace.
In addition to the support they gave me, I have witnessed a comradeship among them that has been unmatched in my long work history. This is the last year for many in this group, and they will definitely be missed.
Meeting Notes: Voice staff get notes from Advisor Keith Gave durring the monday meeting.(Nathan Clark WASHTENAW VOICE)
MARIA RIGOU |
This past year was one of many changes for me. Big changes.
I moved away from the comfort of my parents’ house in another country to the United States, to pursue a degree in journalism at WCC.
I must admit that at first I was hoping for the best, but expecting the worst – and it actually turned out to be the exact opposite.
I feel like I landed by chance at The Voice, and everyone welcomed me so nicely. I discovered that I have a talent that maybe would have remained dormant had I not come to Ann Arbor. A talent that is much appreciated.
I am now the leading candidate to sit in Editor Ben Solis’ chair next year, which fills me with excitement but it also gives me uncertainty regarding whatever might happen next.
Thank you to the staff members of The Voice, to Ben, Adrian and Nate, and especially a huge thank you to Keith Gave – for encouraging me to dig deeper and find the reporter I had in me – and for making this a fantastic year for me.
Thank you to our readers, too, because you are what keeps us running.
Open Boxes: Photo Editor Nathan Clark contemplates his next slice at the annual Voice Open House.(Charles Manley WASHTENAW VOICE)
BEN SOLIS |
I am so blessed to have been a part of The Voice team this year, and I am so happy that The Voice leadership stepped up to the plate and bashed out every curve ball that was thrown at us.
We broke countless hard news stories that not only mattered to our campus community, but to the community at large. We followed investigations with finesse and panache, and even had our hometown news professionals chase us for news several times – of which there is no better feeling.
When I suffered a stroke in late August of last year, I thought my world had been destroyed. I didn’t think I’d be able to come back to school for a long time, let alone be able to write the way I had been.
But within months after the event, I was back here writing and working with the staff of The Voice. If it wasn’t for the fine people at this college giving me their support and encouragement, I doubt I would have been able to bounce back as quickly as I did.
Not only did I receive countless gifts and letters of encouragement from President Rose Bellanca, various administrators, instructors and the college’s Board of Trustees – which meant the world to me in ways I doubt they will ever truly understand – they allowed me to join The Voice on its annual fall conference trip to Chicago – all without me being an enrolled student at the time.
Their generosity and recognition of my talent, dedication and overall adoration for this wonderful college fueled my recovery.
I honestly would not be here today without these people, and I want to say thank you for believing in me as much as you have.
Ad astra per aspera. Through hardship, to the stars.
BENJAMIN KNAUSS |
I look back over the year past and only the last months stand out. Everything was calm and happy, normal life day after day. I was looking to the future, and all looked to be smooth sailing.
Things changed on January 7 when I lost everything in the Schooner Cove apartment fire. Losing everything sucks, no other way to put it. Even with insurance, emotional impact is much more than I expected it to be. But with loss comes regrowth and change, an opportunity to reset and look at things differently.
The Washtenaw Voice was a major player in my changing from the very beginning. I received the perfect amount of support from everyone on staff – just enough to know they care but not so much it smothers. Thank you to all of you who just asked me about something other than the fire, I hope you never have to experience why I found that so refreshing.
Sometimes I just needed to talk about it, thanks for listening also.
I moved on, did what I had to do in my personal life while all the time growing faster than I ever had as a journalist. I have read that a forest fire is a great thing as it opens new seed and that in just weeks the charred mess will once again be green with vegetation. I know what that means now. My career is young, tender and green, but growing thanks to a fire.
Intense Work: Managing Editor Adrian Hedden edits copy for The Voice.(Nathan Clark WASHTANAW VOICE)
CHARLES MANLEY |
I’ve been involved in projects with classmates and coworkers frequently enough to have a dreary idea of what to expect when working in groups. I’m happy to say, however, that my experience at The Voice has altered that notion.
Though every Voice staffer is identical in their passion for producing an exceptional newspaper, they offer a kaleidoscope of unique abilities working in tandem to produce the end result. I’ve never known a group of people to take their work so seriously and still manage, somehow, to have some fun along the way.
I was proud of every issue. It’s been an exciting experience, and I’m humbled to have been a part of it.
SUSAN KENNEDY |
I’m just getting started at the The Washtenaw Voice, and I can already tell that this is going to be a very positive experience for me.
The team has been so welcoming. I have only been involved for a month and already almost everybody knows my name. I feel very included. It is such a great community of people who all produce high-quality work.
And even though I am a beginning design student, I have already been asked to format some pages of the newspaper. It’s such a great way for me to learn a new kind of design.
I feel very lucky for this opportunity to work at The Voice, and I am really looking forward to being more involved this fall.
TOM LEE |
When I first took the position of Web Editor at The Washtenaw Voice, I wondered if I was getting in over my head.
I knew I had the skills to develop and maintain a news website, but it was all the newspaper stuff I was lacking.
But with all of the experiences I have had this year, from going to the national college media conference in Chicago, working with all the great editors and staff on the paper and even getting my first story published, I am no longer missing those skills.
The Voice has given me another tool to use wherever my career will take me.
This was by far my favorite year at Washtenaw Community College, and I will take away some wonderful memories – along with a degree in Web Technology.
ERIC WADE |
The Washtenaw Voice is a real newsroom. It is filled with deadlines, and long days that stretch late into the night. It is coffee and energy drinks, pizza and fast food, stress, heartache and pain, but The Voice is also a family, a family of artists and warrior poets, of writers, photographers, editors, and designers.
The Voice staff is like any true family. They challenge, praise each other and provide the true knowledge of what to expect in the world of a newspaper. Although I found myself a part of The Voice, it isn’t where I expected to be at the start of the semester.
My story started in Keith Gave’s Journalism 216 class, where early in the semester I pitched a story that grew to be my most accomplished work to date. It was my first story for his class, and the first I worked on that I felt really mattered. It was about the homeless in Washtenaw County. Gave’s encouragement pushed me to get the story, and his experience helped me grow that article into a quality, award-winning news story that, thanks to Editor Ben Solis, was published on the front page.
Seeing my name on the front page of a newspaper was the greatest feeling. Without Gave and the staff of The Voice I wouldn’t have been able to experience that wonderful feeling, and after seeing my article I knew that I wanted The Washtenaw Voice to be a part of my life.
I am grateful for the experience that it has provided.