As we quickly approach finals week and I say goodbye to my time as an undergraduate, I can’t help but reflect on my experience at Youngstown State University and as editor-in-chief of The Jambar for the 2018-2019 academic year.
If you would have told me nearly two years ago that I would become editor-in-chief, I would have laughed in your face and told you I would never write for the school newspaper. Fast forward and here I am writing a goodbye letter to my colleagues at the paper and the YSU community.
From general assignment reporter to web manager to eventually head editor, I would have never guessed I would be writing this letter, but I’m forever grateful for the opportunities the university and the paper has given me to improve myself both professionally and as a human being.
It was no secret that this was the hardest year of my life. I went through some extreme life changes and battled with my mental health, all the while trying to put up a tough front to lead the newspaper to the best of my ability.
There was times when this was extremely hard to do, and I was on the verge of vacating the position, but I couldn’t do that to myself or the staff of The Jambar. Especially since we’ve come so far from where we started in the beginning of the year.
But thankfully The Jambar’s advisor, Dave Davis, was always in my ear telling me I was doing a good job, even when I probably wasn’t. So thank you, Dave, for always being there to reassure me that I wasn’t a total and complete failure, and preventing me from possibly making the worst decision of my life.
Am I perfect? Of course not! I’ve made plenty of mistakes and struggled to keep a stable mental state, while trying to juggle the newspaper, a part-time job and going to class full time.
But out of all the struggle that I’ve been through, The Jambar has been able to accomplish some amazing feats this year.
We’ve completely redesigned the physical paper and online website, increased our story outreach to cover areas and topics we haven’t previously, started multiple podcasts, improved our social media presence and implemented more advertising to our website.
The Jambar has transformed into something completely different than it was last year or years prior, and I’m immensely proud of how far we’ve come.
But accomplishments from my tenure as EIC aside, I couldn’t have changed anything if it wasn’t for the previous editors and reporters at The Jambar who paved the way for journalistic integrity at The Jambar, since its inception in 1931 by Burke Lyden.
So, I want to say thank you to from the bottom of my heart to them for inspiring me to stick to journalism and always report the truth.
Out of all of the things I could say, I think the most paramount would be to thank the people that got me to where I am and helped me make the The Jambar what it is today.
I want to start off by endlessly thanking all of the reporters, copy editors, designers and photographers. Without all of you, there would be no Jambar. It’s because of your hard work and dedication that we turned this news organization around into something more than just a newspaper.
Did I mention they’re award winners? From winning Best Overall News at the Ohio National Media Association to racking up award after award in the Society of Collegiate Journalists’ national contest — which, by the way, we beat out over 60 schools for the title of Best Overall News Excellence for our print publication — they all make me one proud “newspaper mom.”
Also some personal shoutouts go to Tanner Mondok, Alyssa Weston, Brianna Gleghorn, Brian Yauger, Brent Bigelow, Amanda Joerndt, Ryan Peplowski, Samantha Welch, Robin Stears, Josh Fitch, Ana Truby, Lydia Tarleton, Brady Sklenar, Marah Morrison and a few others I’m forgetting (forgive me) for doing their jobs so well they blew my socks off to the moon and back.
Thank you all for constantly inspiring me and making this paper what it is today. I love you all and couldn’t express my gratitude enough.
Mary Dota, thank you for keeping The Jambar afloat and always being there for everyone at the paper. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without you.
Rachel Gobep — I want to say thank you endlessly for keeping me sane and picking up my slack when I was falling apart. You have been the greatest managing editor and I can’t wait to see what you’ll do as EIC next year. Thank you for being a confidant and friend to everyone at the newspaper. You are an amazing reporter and editor, and you’re going to kick this world’s butt when you graduate. I love you 3000, and I honestly just can’t say thank you enough.
And to the YSU community, thank you for letting me your EIC and provide a reliable and truthful source of news to you. It was my pleasure to provide you stories about happiness to sadness and controversy. I’ve met so many wonderful people through my time at The Jambar and I will never forget my experiences at this university while I embark on my next journey in life.
Thank you all again and remember — this is not a goodbye, it’s a see you later.