It was nice to be the boss…sometimes

April 2nd, 2009

Taped to the bottom of a drawer in my former desk is the “Thank God It’s Over” list.

It’s hidden underneath old business cards and coupons to Guy’s Pizza, but every editor in chief of The Carroll News who has inherited that desk since 1975 has signed it.

The name of the list is a bit misleading. In fact, the note addressed to future editors that accompanies the list reads: “It sure is nice to be THE BOSS at times. At other times you’ll probably kick yourself and curse the day you ever took the job. But you sure do make a lot of really good friends.”

I signed the list last Friday, effectively becoming another ghost of Carroll News lore.

That note sums up what it means to be an editor at this student newspaper. It is an incredible time commitment – all volunteer work. It is true not only of myself, but also every section editor. Unlike the Student Union Executive Board, we don’t take money out of your Student Activity Fee to pay ourselves. (Sorry SU, it’s my last shot, I promise.)

The reasons each of us made this commitment are varied, but above all else we realize what a privilege and responsibility it is to produce this paper. My favorite part of the week was going down to the cafeteria on Thursday afternoon to see students reading what we stayed up until 5 a.m. on Wednesday morning to get done.

Faculty, students and graduates have commended me for what they’ve noticed as a “different” Carroll News. We increased our focus on watchdog and advocacy journalism more so than this paper ever has before. Given the limited resources we have to work with, we did an impressive job.

If you disagree, you’re wrong.

As much as I would like to take credit for that, I cannot. That credit goes to my staff. I had a tremendous advantage in that I had an experienced and talented staff who all had one goal – make life here a little better for everyone. If I had more space I would thank each of them individually.

One of the most common “compliments” I get is when students tell me my column is the only thing they read. It is actually an insult. If you take the time to notice, you’ll find we have gone above and beyond the traditional role of a college newspaper.

I encourage you to come to The CN when you learn of injustices around this campus. Maybe the most important story of the year ran last week – the story of Eloise Harris.

It has always been our mission to professionally investigate all the rumors people bring to us. It has always been our hope that if these rumors prove true, we can report so and someone in this community will do something about it.

Such was the case with Eloise. But even with all the talk that article has created, I fear no one will take action, even if it is as simple as letting the powers that be know we are not OK with this.

I won’t get into the power of the press lecture. But I will say that even the best journalism is powerless if no one cares what it reports.

I’m glad if you’ve enjoyed this column, and I’m sad this is my last one.

But if you have even once liked something I’ve written, please do me a favor – read the front page.