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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Reminiscing on four years of good stories

Published: April 25, 2014
Section: Opinions

After working on nearly 100 issues of The Hoot, this will be my final one. It has been a journey full of wonderful things and disappointments, triumphs and mistakes, but there is nothing quite like being part of a college newspaper. Next week, it will feel strange for me to be somewhere other than the BMC at 2 a.m. on a Thursday night, but I feel confident that our paper will continue to publish important stories for hundreds of more issues to come.

The Hoot was originally created to “fill a void”—and I have seen it do just that. Whether reporting on neglected crosswalk safety, vandalized student groups, sexual assault, the Boston marathon bombing or university finances, we have reported on the issues that concern us, the students. We advocate for what we hope to see changed. A newspaper is a chance for everyone to share their voices and to be heard by the community. It has been a privilege to hear the varying stories of our Brandeis community and to share those stories with a larger, sometimes national, audience.

The Hoot is now in its 10th year of existence. And here we are, continuing to report with a larger staff than we’ve ever had before. We have an excellent bunch of writers, photographers, designers and editors. We know how to work as a team. We might complain about our late nights and urgent deadlines, but we keep coming back because we know this is important. We have a responsibility to keep our community informed, and we take that very seriously. (But we’re still going to have sword fights and eat frozen yogurt at midnight from near-exhaustion.)

I’m looking forward to seeing what new ideas members will initiate in the future. It’s tough to work with an ever-changing group of people, in a tiny room that always seems 20 degrees warmer than the hallway. But I am constantly impressed with the staff and editors’ dedication to making the paper the best it can be.

Sometimes articles don’t work out quite as we anticipate, and we are faced with additional challenges. But the difficulties and obstacles are all part of the experience—how can you learn if you don’t make mistakes? A journalist never wants to make mistakes, but as students who are still trying to comprehend the world and the university environment, we learn from our experiences and become better reporters for it.

I will not be continuing journalism in the traditional sense after I leave Brandeis. But I will carry with me the constant reminders to think critically, ask difficult questions and understand people’s backgrounds and stories. As student journalists, we are always on the look out for a new story idea. When I read others’ stories in the future, I can participate in the next part of the process—acting on that story and making a change in the world, just as we hope our readers do here at Brandeis.

The best part of joining The Hoot has always been the interesting bunch of people I’m working with. Feeling welcomed, comfortable and supported by my editors and staff makes the long nights worth it. We’re all working toward the same thing: producing a quality paper that has the potential to make our community more accepting, more kind and more sensible. We are not just colleagues, but friends.

I will certainly miss being part of The Hoot. I’ll miss the laughter, the ridiculous stories, the intense debates and even the black ink covering my hands after distributing the paper on Friday mornings. But I can’t wait to see what the next decade will bring, both for the paper and the many students who offer their contributions to make it as great as it can be.