It’s only fair I get the last Eagle Explains of the semester. It was my idea originally. It’s also my last one ever since I’m graduating.
I’ve been thinking about how I should begin to end this since the beginning of the fall semester once I realized I would eventually have to step away and say something. It’s been particularly hard for me to gather my thoughts and feelings about this, and I still don’t really know what’s the best way for me to say goodbye. So instead, I’ll start, and some might even say explain, from the beginning:
Nearly two years ago — June 2020 — as the newly-minted assistant managing editor for online, I had an itch to scratch: I wanted to change up nearly everything for how the online team operates and communicates, including the newsletter. In time, I would later do what I set out to do by quietly shaping, overhauling and giving the section some much needed love and attention, mind you.
Despite the fact that I had been on staff for nearly a year at this point as Online’s sole Instagram editor, I have always viewed The Eagle from the outside. I have always viewed The Eagle as an observer and a source that needs improvement in its communications.
One of the fundamental ideas I have pushed during my time on staff is transparency: transparency in how we communicate, transparency in why we communicate and transparency by means of our work itself — thoroughly in and outside of our organization. Information is power and newspapers and journalism are fundamental institutions that demonstrate that idea at work.
Maybe I’m just a tad bit nosy; maybe I love behind-the-scenes facts and trivia too much; maybe being one of The Eagle’s few public relations majors has come in handy; and maybe because I have always enjoyed the “On The Record” column from the News Managing Editor and I wanted there to be a companion column for it, but I came up the idea for this, “The Eagle Explains” as part of our weekly newsletter. We have gotten, in total, nearly 60 different behind-the-scenes looks at something going on with The Eagle over the past two years. To say I am proud is a complete understatement.
Although some week’s editions are more insightful and more colorful than others, three things have been constant:
1. I have pitched and/or helped to select the idea of each week’s column
2. I have been editing this section of the newsletter, and
3. Editing this section is often the highlight of my Eagle work and the maybe-hour or so it takes me to edit this on Thursdays.
There is so much of my Eagle work to be proud of — I know I’ve made fundamental changes to the way we use our social media and our audience and platforms have grown as a result, which has made Online’s particularly tedious work satisfying. (When I started on staff, our Instagram only had 600 followers, and now as of publication, we have more than 4,100 followers.) We’ve won awards for our work, and our work as an organization only seems to be getting richer, more exciting, more nuanced and more dynamic. But those facts don’t necessarily matter; growth and accolades can’t trump my feelings. Despite the successes, leaving this behind — my softest spot and my most intellectually-satisfying Eagle pursuit — is absolutely gut-wrenching and heartbreaking to me, even if this is something you may have not paid attention to and skipped over reading before.
This sentiment is trite but true: like for most endings, like the end of my college experience, it feels extremely bittersweet to be letting go. There have been many highs and many, many lows, but I have been told it’s my time to move on, and so I must leave. However, I know that this and The Eagle are in good hands, and I can’t wait to see how they will evolve and grow next.
I owe so much of my actual collegiate education and training to The Eagle, but before I leave “my baby” behind, I need to thank you for reading along with me every week. It’s been an absolute honor to help serve my community, and I hope you’ve enjoyed being a part of this as much as I have. If this weren’t for you — If I weren’t looking out for you, our readers — I wouldn’t have joined The Eagle in the first place. So thank you for the past three years; the work I’ve put in and the changes I’ve made are all for you if as much for me too.