By Katie Tabeling
Outgoing News Editor
To be honest, I never thought I would be a journalist. I’d seen the movies— they harass their sources like vultures around a carcass, objectivity is just a word that easily gets thrown out the window, and they run over anyone to meet their deadline. But at the Lit House Open House for literary types, I was hypnotized by promises of publication and getting my name out there. But no way was I becoming a soul-less muckraker, bottom feeding on people’s misery.
In that first year of reporting for The Elm on the theater beat, I slowly realized that not all journalism was about terrorizing people for information. On my own terms, I went to theater shows and interviewed seniors involved with the productions. I learned about the different paths students took to arrive on the stage, such as acting in productions since middle school or just trying out for a show on a whim. By the time I applied to be Opinion Editor of The Elm at the end of my freshman year, I finally understood what being a journalist was really about: getting someone’s story out there and giving them a voice.
I continued as Opinion Editor through rocky meetings with writers, crazy scandals about editorials, and struggling to learn how to lay out a page at 2 a.m. on Wednesday nights. The real scary thing was that I loved every second of it. I was working with the brightest, most opinionated people on this campus. I approached my friends to join my staff because I believed that differences in point of view could deliver a new, fresh way of looking at the campus and the world. And the more I worked on editing their articles, and placing them on the pages, the more invested I began in getting their opinions out there in the world, the more I believed people were listening. When I became News Editor this year, it wasn’t just about getting opinions. It was now about getting to the heart of what Washington College should be saying to their students.
If there’s anything I want WC to learn from me, a wise old senior, it’s this: never forget the people. Without the people, there would be no one reading the paper. There would be no one to answer The Elm’s questions, and in turn no one to answer the student body. The students here are the reason why this college exists 200 years later: to learn from the wonderful experience this college has to offer. Listen to the students here. We have come from different walks of life, and have different experiences on this campus. We may not have the wisdom or experience the professors or the faculty have under their belts, but we live on this campus. We live in this world as well. Give us a chance, the people here— on this staff and this campus— care.
A few words of thanks:
To Melissa: I have taken your class four times over, invaded your office hours, and hassled you about my life decisions. You have always held my hand when I wanted it and critiqued me when I needed it. You have inspired me to not rule out any option. I would not be the person I am today without you.
To Megan: I’m not going to lie, it was a little strange working with someone after two years of flying solo, but I am proud to have worked alongside you, your amazing writing skills, your punny headlines, and your majestical Photoshop skills. This section would have been nothing without you.
To Amanda, Paige, Grace, Katie, Taylor: Even though I’ve been on the editor staff the longest, you guys made Monday nights easy and hilarious. Even though I bicker with you all, it has been an honor to have worked with you. You all have done amazing work in the one year you have been here. Take pride.
To Kent County News: I was a little nervous switching to News this year, but you guys have taught me small lessons I never thought I needed, from conducting phone interviews to keeping your cool even though the world seems like it’s against you. You reminded me that journalists are here to give a voice to the people, no matter if we’re in a small town.
To Emily and Catalina: You two have excelled in everything Megan and I thought you would. We wish you all the best, and know you’re going to do an amazing job. Keep the faith.
To all the readers out there: Thanks for sticking with me through my four-year tenure here at The Elm. Working for a newspaper may not pay much, but it sure as hell is gratifying to get the word out on what you want to hear. Keep on reading. Keep on sending The Elm article ideas and letters. We’re listening.