When I first came to Goshen College as a naive, anxious first-year, I had zero intentions of pursuing journalism. It wasn’t even on my radar — I was too concerned with making friends and understanding my music theory assignments. Journalism was something that I had simply never considered for myself.Now, as I write my last editorial as executive editor of The Record, it feels a little surreal to look back on that first year, when The Record played no role in my life. After a semester of planning, editing and thinking about The Record pretty much all the time, it’s hard to imagine not being involved with it, and it’s even harder to know that this could very well be my last run with journalism — a field that I have come to really, truly love and appreciate.
But if this is my final journalistic hurrah, and while I still have the privilege to be one of the voices of this paper, I wanted to write about the thing that I have come to appreciate the most about The Record — our staff.
On a purely selfish note, I appreciate our staff because they make what can be a stressful and sometimes thankless task fun. If we were to sit down promptly at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening and work on layout for The Record without interruption, I’m confident that we would have the paper finished by 10 p.m. — but that’s never what happens. There are a lot of distractions and entertainment breaks thrown in, whether it’s Greta, our layout editor, showing us videos of elderly choirs covering hip-hop tunes, or Tyson, our digital editor, plotting to overthrow me via typewriter (yes, there is a typewriter in the Center for Communication, and no, mutiny did not end up taking place).
I think that all of our staff editors would agree that their job is not easy. Their ability to generate high-quality (and unpaid!) work each week on a tight deadline whilst juggling assignments, extracurriculars and social lives amazes me. Most people don’t realize the level of work that goes into writing a story — the emails, the interviews, the transcribing, the endless edits — but I hope they know that their work is responsible for documenting those moments of our lives that might otherwise go overlooked.
Most importantly, our staff is passionate about their work; they will argue for stories that they want covered and push back against changes made to their articles that they don’t agree with. There is something about knowing that your work will be in print and physically held by readers that makes you want to defend that work at all costs — and I think that’s admirable.
When I distribute The Record every Thursday morning at 10 a.m. (or 10:30 a.m., depending on when I get out of bed) I bring physical copies to locations all across campus, starting my route at the Union Building and ending in Newcomer. My favorite part of the morning is when people stop me and my wagon full of newspapers and ask: “Is that a new issue? Can I have one?” Every time it happens, it feels like a much-needed sign — a sign that the work of this amazing, hard-working staff is being read and appreciated.
I can’t stress enough how important The Record is to our campus community and to our history as a college. With a small staff and six sections of the paper, we may not seem significant in the grand scheme of things, but there’s an additional layer of responsibility that comes with writing for a small campus. Our community is a close-knit one, and the way in which we report stories creates ripple effects throughout our campus — and those effects often start with our staff and the work that they put into this publication. So I want to thank our staff for a challenging and rewarding semester, and I want to encourage everyone to continue supporting their community news sources.
As Phillip Witmer-Rich, features editor, once said: “I BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF PRINT MEDIA!”