Editor in Chief
“If you knew this was your last day on earth, how would you want to spend it?” We have all asked ourselves this question or been asked the question at some point or another.
But here is the brutal truth, even if we imagine a million ways we would spend our last day, we never really know when the day comes – so we almost never get to live it out the way we plan it. The end always catches you by surprise.
The end of my time at the Tropolitan newsroom arrived on March 4, which at that point, felt like just another Wednesday. Section editors worked to layout their pages, I told our news Editor Emma Daniel that she could not use another of her punny headlines, and I paced around as our adviser Dr. Robbyn Taylor looked over pages. Little did I know that we would be putting together my final print issue of the Tropolitan.
A month and a half later, as I write my final column for the Trop, I can’t help but think if my time at the Trop is ending the way I wanted.
Truth be told, I had never imagined what my final day would look like. I am not one for goodbyes and am used to a detached approach to things. So how do I know that things turned out well?
In my first column as editor-in-chief, I wrote that any organization with a life of its own evolves with time and is shaped by the people that are a part of it. This past year I have witnessed that evolution in the Tropolitan. This evolution is the reason I know that my time at the Trop ended the best way it can.
Don’t get me wrong. I will be the first to tell you that this past year, like the ones before, was anything but perfect. Mistakes were made, there was always room for improvement and the past two months have been challenging. But it was not from our triumphs but from how our team reacted to those challenges that I know that the Trop is in the right trajectory.
During challenging times, everyone in the Tropolitan team has stepped up beyond their defined roles to help each other and push the organization forward. This has been very evident these past few months as we have transitioned to delivering news exclusively online, covering a largely void campus.
So rather than reflect on the past, I want to challenge the Tropolitan staff to look to the future. We live in uncertain times. There is no guarantee what the next semester will look like, how drastically the Troy community will be affected or how disproportionately the aftermath of this crisis will affect different student groups.
The one certainty in that is the Tropolitan must continue to be the voice for students during this time. To the Trop Staff, your role in this ever-changing world will not be defined – you must carve it out yourself. Information will not be handed to you – you must find it.
But as you work to bring news to the Troy community, never forget that the influence you have comes with responsibility. What may be an 800-word assignment for you can be life-changing for the subject of your story. Don’t take that lightly. There are numerous lenses that you can view the world through, don’t limit yourself to one.
In short, to be the best journalist you can, don’t compromise on your integrity but get outside your head.
You have an amazing advocate and mentor in Robbyn Taylor and a wonderful support system within the Hall School of Journalism. I know this well because even though I was never a journalism student, every time I stepped into Wallace Hall, it felt like home because the J-school always treated me as one of them.
But in the end, it’s about you; it’s always about what you do with what you’re given. So, go change the world and enjoy yourself in the process.
Steve Stewart, thank you for your support and guidance. Tori Bedsole, Sable Riley, Zach Henson, you were great editors to work with. I truly couldn’t have done this without the legacies each of you left behind.
Taylor Walding, thanks for helping me find the Tropolitan offices four years ago!
Emma, you got this!
Most of all, Robbyn, I couldn’t have asked for a better partner and mentor this year even though I definitely stopped you from finishing some of your stories in the office (Well someone had to watch the clock!).
It has been a fun four years!