Letter from the Incoming Editor: Caretaker
During my first year at the university, I could be found in three places: I was in classes, locked in my car blaring music or sitting at a corner table at Arctic Java with my head down. I was frequently on my phone, reflexively checking my student account balance to make sure I would not receive any surprise notices in the mail about overdue fees. I was desperately in need of something to do, preferably something that paid for my tuition.
Interviewing at the Sun Star for the role of Copy Editor was my “best case scenario.” When Danny Fisher, then editor-in-chief, called to tell me she was offering me a position at the newspaper, I accepted her job offer politely before hanging up to scream in delight.
I lasted two weeks into the semester before the boss found out I was spending all of my spare time in my Subaru. To my recollection, Spencer Tordoff (who was web editor at the time) and Danny rounded on me in unison to ask why I wasn’t just staying in the newsroom to mingle with the staff. I’m an introvert by nature and it would be a lie to say I wasn’t terrified at the prospect of spending my time interacting with people I barely knew.
Imagine how surprised I was to realize I enjoyed it—the newsroom atmosphere, the chatter between story revisions, showing up early to make coffee for tired coworkers, draping a blanket over the person who refused coffee and later fell asleep at their desk and watching coverage of international news on the projector.
My time at the Sun Star has not only been time spent working. It’s been time spent getting to know my colleagues, my campus and my classmates. I watched, excited and proud, as Spencer took over as Editor-in-Chief and led us through a year of coverage on everything from athletics outcomes to Title IX cases to presidential elections. The paper has improved as a workplace and I like to think I have improved with it, as a person.
Now I find it’s my turn to take over care of this institution, over 70 years old and still printing. Times are tight. Between budget constraints and political strife, I can’t say I’m pleased to realize the upcoming year is going to be tense at best—and not just for me.
Regardless, I will endeavor to carry on a legacy of consistency and writing with a digital audience in mind. I will be here to continue motivating our staff through long nights, pushing people to expand their horizons to include skills they haven’t discovered yet and focus more of our attention on staying engaged with the student body.
I want to be as proud of the work I do as I am of the work from the editors who mentored me.
Looking around the office this Sunday, I realized it’s also my turn to say goodbye. As editors and staff alike graduate, I will be looking to hire people to fill desk space I see my friends sitting at today. Two years ago I couldn’t imagine speaking to this many people on a daily basis, let alone wondering how I will adjust to their absence. Now I look forward and wonder how I managed to find my place at this little college on top of a hill: how each of us found their place over time.
To the students of UAF, those graduating and those continuing, I’ll be seeing you around campus. If you care about what’s going on at your university, I’ll extend to you the same invitation once extended to me—our office is always open.