Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Thursday, October 18, 2018

Letter from the Editor: A Journey of 1,000 Miles

Some might equate the experience of being the editor-in-chief to running a marathon, but a marathon only lasts several hours. The tenure of an editor-in-chief typically lasts twelve months.

When I toed the starting line of this long, exhausting, exhilarating, complicated challenge in April 2015, I quickly discovered how little I knew about the job. But I solved this problem like many other college students would. I started drinking more coffee, I spent more time in the newsroom, I started to sleep less and I thought about the paper constantly.

What could be done to improve our reporting? What stories needed to be covered? How could I help improve staff morale? Over the past year, I’ve made progress, and I’ve completed a journey; a journey, some might say, of a thousand miles.

I started my career at The Eagle covering a women’s lacrosse game in March 2014, and I plan to return to sports writing next year. However, this year, I’ve had the chance to work with an incredible news team and cover everything from an arrest to a sexual assault case to a local stabbing incident. I’ve learned hundreds of things during my time as a leader in MGC 252, but I wouldn’t do justice to the position without acknowledging three themes and four individuals that will stick with me long after I graduate next year.

Chloe Johnson, thank you for teaching me that if you don’t stick to your gut and stand up for what you believe in, people will walk all over you.

Courtney Rozen and Haley Samsel, thank you for teaching me that age and experience should never stand in the way of seizing an opportunity.

And Mark Davin, thank you for teach-ing me that sleep is important and stay- ing up past midnight and trying to swim hard at morning practice the following day doesn’t work.

I will never forget the of feeling of hitting submit on my first print edition and debating about whether or not to spend the night sleeping in the newsroom. Or when a Washington Post reporter tweeted our Staff Editorial. Or when my phone rang seven times during my afternoon block class because of a breaking news story.

After producing four print editions and editing several hundred online stories ranging from President Obama’s speech at AU to David Terao’s standing ovation at the NCAA wrestling tournament, I’ve finally understood that being editor-in-chief of a college newspaper doesn’t necessarily mean being the best writer or editor; it means being a leader, working with your team, staying positive and never giving up.

This is not an easy job. But I don’t think anyone comes to AU looking
for the easy way out. I have classmates and teammates who work on Capitol Hill, intern with the State Department, speak three languages, volunteer at local elementary schools, win national scholarships, travel the world and more. AU inspires me, and I’m proud to have served as the editor-in-chief of The Eagle for the 2015-2016 school year.

As I crest this final hill and cross the finish line of the hardest race I’ve ever ran, I excitedly turn the paper over to Kate Magill, my friend, fellow journalist and running buddy who I know will lead the paper in a great direction.

As the Managing Editor of News this semester, Kate brought a strong news judgement into the office along with a calm and confident demeanor that allowed her to lead by example and earn the respect of her staff. Over the past ten weeks, I have had the pleasure of working side-by-side with Kate, as she led a team of young reporters to challenge themselves, dig deeper and report on stories that matter to students on campus. I could not be more honored and excited to watch Kate embrace the role of editor and be the leader of the paper next year.

The Eagle operates successfully because of the hard work, diligence and enthusiasm of the staff. Kate Magill embodies all of these traits. It’s time for her race to begin.


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