Believe it or not, The Collegian editor-in-chief isn't always the most popular person on campus.
During the past year, my staff and I have covered the tragic, the jubilant and the controversial. Sometimes, people love The Collegian. Other times, not so much.
As the editor, I learned that only the stories that matter least are the ones that are free from controversy. And that's why I've learned to love that controversy, not only because it makes my life more interesting, but because it provides The Collegian's readers with the information they really need to know.
From the moment I sat down at the editor's desk last spring, controversy was by my side. During our first issue, three baseball players had been charged with felonies, and by the following week, the firestorm surrounding the Jepson School's recognition of Family Foundation leader Victoria Cobb had led to the largest on-campus protest during my four years at Richmond.
In both cases, powerful people on campus had things they wanted to hide. Unfortunately for them, other powerful people, the reporters on our staff, had things they wanted to find out.
Throughout coverage of the assaults on campus last fall, our staff butted heads with administrators and members of the university police department, but our goal was always the same: to report the facts so that students could make informed decisions. In the end, our coverage may or may not have helped enact positive change (see those little metal plates on the UFA doors and men on the Safety Shuttle), but it unquestionably provided a forum to discuss such changes.
That's all we could ask for. But a college newspaper isn't all about controversy. Because our campus is a close-knit community of Spiders, The Collegian staff is not immune from the same highs and lows that affect everyone else, from freshmen to tenured faculty.
That's why when the campus gathered to mourn the deaths of Jamie and Paige Malone last fall, I sat in the back row with pen and pad in hand and tears in my eyes. It's also why, when Chris Mooney and his sweet Spiders punched their tickets to San Antonio, I had The Collegian website open on my lap and a big smile on my face.
As much as we try to be objective, The Collegian always seeks to serve people who are just like our reporters: eager to learn more about their fellow Spiders, regardless of whether the news is good, bad or in between. During the past year, I feel our staff has provided that service, and I know the same will be true as the new staff takes over.
While our staff surely made some mistakes, I could not be more proud of the effort and enthusiasm with which they approached their jobs. My job was easier than I could have ever imagined because of their hard work, talent and teamwork. I can only hope they've enjoyed working with me half as much as I've enjoyed working with them.
Now that I've officially handed over the reins to our new and very capable editor-in-chief Elizabeth Ygartua, I'm excited to contribute to the final four issues of The Collegian as a columnist. Thanks to all of our loyal readers, supporters and critics for making our work worthwhile and good luck to the new staff! It will be a fun year.