There are three things about The Washtenaw Voice that I don’t think are made quite clear to our readers and our fellow WCC inhabitants that are important to understand when reading our paper. As the prospective managing editor for the paper next year, it is important to me – and I believe to my cohort and future editor Taylor Robinson, as well – that these factors are taken into consideration.
The first is that there is a staff of about 12 total students putting their blood, sweat and literal tears into the paper that you make hats of in the hallways or leave listlessly on end tables. A handful of students, balancing class work and jobs, spend every free moment they have in the newsroom or glued to their laptops hammering out stories, trying to make deadline.
What we do is by choice. Despite the fact that we know students aren’t ripping our papers from the stands, everything we do is for them. Every story about boring board policy and dense administration changes is ultimately for the students. Which brings me to the second piece.
We are not here to demonize the administration. We are here to broadcast what is in the best interest of the students, and, above all, we are here to broadcast the truth. If the truth paints an ugly picture, don’t shoot the messenger. Outside of columns and editorials, everything written and printed for The Voice is gathered from reporting. We portray every factual piece that we can gather to make sure we tell a complete story.
And finally, there is the fact that, since we lost our past adviser, Keith Gave, a little before Christmastime, we have still pushed on ahead and brought out papers continuously adviser-less. If not for the leadership and strength of Natalie Wright, the editor, and Emily Stout, the managing editor, The Washtenaw Voice may have seen yet another end of days.
This past year has been a brutal one. I don’t think there was a single staff member who wasn’t mentally and emotionally brought to the brink. I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, pushing myself as a full-time student and full-time writer has made me mature exponentially and see responsibility in a different light.
This year has been fruitful in many other ways as well. We won multiple awards at both conferences that we attended this year. Personally, I walked away with first place for a personality profile award from the Michigan Community College Press Association. I don’t think I’ve ever, before that moment, experienced having tears in my eyes from pride in myself.
Aside from that, I have learned what it really means to work for a team and have been so grateful for the wonderful people that I have gotten to work alongside. It has been an honor spending the year so close – literally close; our office is a shoebox – with such driven and inspiring people.
I may only be 19, but with the experience I’ve gained over this past year, personally and professionally, I believe I will welcome next year well equipped. With Taylor by my side, we intend to put ourselves wholly into making sure The Voice appeals more to the students for whom we write. I hope that our entire readership can trust that the paper will still be in good hands.
The only thing more there is to say is just keep your eyes open, keep the faith and read on.