Whenever I find myself in yet another icebreaker situation — once again detailing my name, major and hometown to a group of strangers — the question, “what is your greatest accomplishment?” will float around the circle. I answer that question in the same way every time: “Well, I don’t know if this is my greatest accomplishment, but it’s certainly my favorite accomplishment.” Then, I go on to detail one of the craziest days of my life, a day that wouldn’t have transpired without the Exponent.
March 25, 2015. I’d been working for the Exponent for all of three weeks, and it was time for the April Fool’s issue, the Excrement. “It’s all satire,” my editor said. “So make something up.” I worked for the culture section. And what did that encompass? Movies, events, art and music. Justin Timberlake had recently purchased a home out in Big Sky, and, being a musician, Timberlake conveniently fell under the culture umbrella. Some piece of my brain whispered, “what if JT wrote an album about Montana?” and my first satirical article was born.
Featuring tracks like “Cry Me a River (Runs Through It),” Timberlake’s “The 406 Experience” was entirely my brainchild. The article I wrote “reviewing” it was, in my opinion, the best thing I’d written at that point in my life. I was satisfied with all the bad puns and weird Montana humor — my peers would think it was funny, and that was all I needed. But the article caught the attention of Senator Jon Tester — who appreciated the mention of a song called “The Other JT,” which was entirely about him — and it was shared on his Facebook page. From there, it went Montana-viral, spreading like wildfire across the state to the point that news stations were writing articles about my article. “Is Justin Timberlake writing an album about Montana?” KRTV asked. “No, it’s just an April Fool’s joke from MSU student Kaycee Cronk.” As my editor later told me, it quickly became one of the most-viewed Exponent article of all time.
By the next day, the craziness was all over; my viral hit had faded from the public eye. But it left a lasting impression on me. For my entire life, I’ve wanted to be a storyteller. I’ve wanted to spend my life making people laugh, making people happy. And while I’ve always been capable of making my friends laugh, this was my first experience with successfully entertaining a large audience. It boosted my confidence immensely. As someone who has been studying film the last few years — someone who wants to be a filmmaker — realizing I could, indeed, entertain an audience was a pivotal moment in my college career.
I’ve had a lot of great experiences working for the Exponent. I’ve met some amazing students — artists, musicians, go-getters — and been blessed with the opportunity to tell their stories. I’ve also goofed off quite a bit. (Did you see that Sandwich Club article I wrote last week? It’s literally the best thing I’ve ever written, but jeez — can you believe they let me run with that?) Overall, it’s been a great experience, and if anyone reading this has ever thought about applying, you should, because you won’t regret it.
Anyway, so long, the Exponent. I always thought your name was super unique for a newspaper until I googled “the exponent newspaper” just now.