Somehow, my junior year of college is already coming to a close — as is my time as Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Beacon.
To say that this year was not what I anticipated would be an understatement. I know that this narrative has been pushed since the beginning of the pandemic, but leading a newsroom virtually was truly the challenge of a lifetime. I took on this job at the end of my sophomore year, just as UT’s campus was fully closing. I thought that surely, by the time fall semester began, things would return to normal. Obviously, I was wrong, and alternatively, my time as editor-in-chief was full of surprises, as my team and I constantly learned to adapt to our new situation.
During my time as EIC, I saw our campus undergo unbelievable changes. I saw my peers struggle to grapple with life during a pandemic, and I too learned to cope with the mental stress of life in isolation while still striving to complete a college education and lead our paper.
And yet, here at the Beacon, we continued to report in the midst of it all. We continued to do our best, despite the difficult circumstances — to provide our campus with newsworthy and valuable content. Even though we missed out on some of the typical college newspaper experiences — in-person breaking news was hard to come by, as were days spent laughing in the office together — we still worked hard to ensure that we wrote stories, took photos and filmed videos that we were proud of.
At 20 years old, I have truly taken away a lifetime of lessons from this job, and the opportunities I have had at the Beacon are invaluable; one of the most memorable was just this year when I had the opportunity to interview activist Cyntoia Brown over Zoom, or last semester, when the Beacon coordinated with the White House Press Team — yes, that White House — because Dr. Deborah Birx was visiting campus (shout out to former Beacon staff writer Ben Winiger, who actually covered the event featuring Dr. Birx).
Thank you to the following Beacon section editors, whose hard work and dedication has been invaluable during my time as Editor-in-Chief: Sarah Rainey, Jake Yoder, Allie Justis, Eli Hunt, Sydney Goodsell, Austin Orr, Ryan Schumpert, Ryan Crews and Joshua Lane.
There are countless other Beacon team members who have worked long hours the past year to make our paper what it is, just some of them being Daniel Dassow, Jeffrey Russell, Barrett Walker, Ethan Stone, Lexie Martin, Kailee Harris, Seth Chapman, Keenan Thomas, Hugh DuPree, Braxton Ziolkowski, Lexie Martin, Hannah Cunningham, Claudia Gutierrez, Hannah Moore, Riley Woody, Olivia Hayes, Nahan Abubucker, Caleigh Rozmenoski, Izabella Weigand, Isabel Wells, Isabella Mangano, Jitu Arcot, Holly Fahy, Alexandra Ashmore, Ben Goldberger, Grant Mitchell, Mollie Chambers, Carlos Padron and more.
I have to give a special thank you to our managing editor and one of my closest friends, Calista Boyd. I truly could not have overcome all of the ups and downs this year has thrown at us without her.
And of course, thank you so much to the Daily Beacon’s wonderful advisors, Jerry Bush and John Kennedy, who have received and answered frantic texts from me at all hours of the day this past year, and not complained about it once.
Next year, I will still be hanging around to spend more time writing here at the Beacon. Sarah Rainey, the Beacon’s current campus news editor, is set to lead the paper as the next Editor-in-Chief. Sarah has been a fantastic member of our team as a copy editor, staff writer and editor, and I have no doubt that she will thrive as the next leader of our paper.
I am so proud of all that our paper has accomplished, and I look forward to watching the Beacon continue to be a proponent of free speech and a voice for all on campus.