From the outside, there’s hardly anything special about The Muhlenberg Weekly’s office. To tell the truth, if you blink, you quite literally miss it — I know, because that’s exactly what happened the first time I went searching for it.
Almost four not-so-long years ago, I was just a somewhat regular writer. Had our then-Managing Editor, Holden Walter-Warner ‘16, not been someone I knew from high school, I probably would not have joined the editorial staff for a production Tuesday. And after some wandering down a few hallways, I finally found the office, tucked in a corner of the basement of Seegers.
The rest, as they say, is history.
I’ve done a lot with my time at Muhlenberg, but it’s the time spent with The Weekly that I’ll always remember most. Writing stories, choosing headlines, cursing out our ancient printer (we finally replaced it last month!) and searching for Oxford commas (caught that one) have been just as important to me as finding my academic passion and holding a door for someone 50 feet away. It has consumed much of my free time and certainly all of my Tuesdays, but there’s nowhere else I’d rather be late on Tuesday nights — or the early morning hours of a Wednesday — than in that very office, putting the newspaper to bed.
Why? Well, last week, I wrote in our #SaveStudentNewsrooms editorial that we put in these efforts to serve the Muhlenberg community, and I certainly believe that’s true. But at least for me, there’s another explanation — even as someone who values the role that journalism plays in our country, I will not be continuing it as a profession. Rather, what kept me coming back in each week was the sense of community and the relationships that we developed.
Few things make me prouder than thinking about the transformation of our newsroom over the years — our editorial staff has grown from barely existent to a robust, diverse group that delivers a quality paper every week (okay, three out of every four). After years of efforts towards this end, our editors are a part of the community that their sections represent. As a result, our newsroom stands as perhaps the most interdisciplinary student organization our campus has to offer — a major achievement.
I owe a lot to my fellow editors, because it’s with them that I’ve become comfortable with myself. It’s here where I’ve grown as a writer and a leader, but most importantly, it’s where I’ve learned so much about aspects of both our campus and the world beyond Muhlenberg that I might have otherwise not been exposed to. I’m very lucky to consider such talented people amongst my friends, and I thank you for believing in the idea that a newspaper can exist — and make an impact — at a college without a journalism program.
And on that nostalgic note, it’s time for some other thank you’s.
A special thank you is in order to Alyssa Hertel and Jack Pennington, fellow seniors who bought into my vision before anyone else did, and in so many ways, contributed far more to The Weekly than I ever could. Also, I would be remiss without offering my appreciation to Karl Schultz, who as my roommate freshman year, was subjected to my countless pleas to join the staff; I’m not sure the paper would be the same without your ‘Weekly History’ columns.
It’s with my fellow editors that I’ve become comfortable with myself. It’s here where I’ve grown as a writer and a leader.
Thank you to Sara Vigneri, our faculty adviser and strongest advocate. Her dedication to journalism and to supporting its ‘farm team’ is apparent — I challenge you to find any other professor who spends as much time with students after normal working hours as she does. And thank you to Lynne Septon, our long-time publisher who went above and beyond in keeping The Weekly alive for many years and continues to work tirelessly to make our print edition a reality.
But most of all, thank you to our readers — whether you read one article because your friend was quoted or you’re a faculty member who reads the paper cover-to-cover, this newspaper is for you. I’m grateful that our college has a newspaper it can once again be proud to call its own.
In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be attending my final undergraduate courses and submitting final papers. And this column, of course, is the last time my byline will appear in The Weekly, an organization I have come to care so deeply about. In many ways, I’m ready to graduate — but I’m decidedly not ready to leave The Weekly behind.