It’s a fact I’ve repeated and bragged about many times: The first edition of the Exponent was published on May 30, 1895, almost exactly 120 years ago.
A framed copy of it hangs in our office not far from my desk. It’s a small page, no bigger than a book jacket, and it’s tucked away in a corner. Because of this, its actual presence amid the clutter of our office is small. But it feels huge.
When I look at that first edition, I can feel the weight of history and legacy pressing down from the office walls. I can see the many people who have sat at my desk before me, and imagine the people who will in the coming years. I can taste all the cold, bitter, day-old coffee that has been consumed after late nights putting the paper together, and I can’t begin to imagine the trials conquered and dedication required for the paper to exist for such a long time.
I’m proud to be part of an organization with so much history, and I’m proud of the work I’ve done while a part of it. But looking at that history, it’s hard not to feel tiny. One person cannot in the long term do much for this organization.
This organization can, however, do a lot for one person.
When I was first named Exponent editor-in-chief almost two years ago, I was given one piece of advice that has stuck with me. A derivative of advice that media executive Lorne Michaels is said to give his staff, it is this: “Don’t hire anyone you wouldn’t want to run into in the hallway at 4 in the morning.”
This advice makes sense for pretty much any job, but especially this one, where late nights that turn into early mornings are a weekly norm. I’ve been lucky, though. For the past two years I’ve been able to work with individuals who not only are pleasant to be around at 4 a.m., they are even excited to be working here.
MSU doesn’t have a journalism program, so these individuals are brought together by nothing more than a dedication to the paper each week. They have put up with innumerable trials and frustrations, and they keep coming back. I’m so grateful to have gotten the opportunity to get to know them, to work with them and to lead them. They are all unique and talented, and are a wide and diverse group. I’m grateful for their heart, their tenacity, their bad puns and. most importantly, their friendship.
My last column as the Exponent’s editor-in-chief will be in next week’s edition. It’s hard to leave something that has become so much a part of my life for the past four years. But I leave knowing it will be in good hands under next year’s editor Cassia Wagner and the talented team she’s assembled.
I leave also knowing that it doesn’t matter if in the course of the coming years all our names and work are forgotten by MSU, because I’ll remember them. And through it all that same old edition will be hanging on the wall, overlooking its legacy.
Graduating seniors are marked with an *.
Leadership: Cassia Wagner, Kristina Echols*, Josh Hartmann*
News: Erin Murdock, Matt Williams, Molly McGonigal, Ted Weeks, Seth Urick, Lilly Brogger, Tyler Stitt, Julie Donagan, Kaleb Beavers
Opinion: Logan Henke, Brandon Sladek, Sarah Gilkerson*, Haley Cox, Jesse Bair, Alex Paterson, John Trapp
Culture: Brook Gardner-Durbin, Sabrina Hayes, Amy Gill, Raymond Porter, Kaycee Cronk, Sonja Benton*, Denver Jones*
Sports: Megan Bernhardt, Ian Breuner, Davis Connelley, Will Hammel, Pyper Dixon*
Photography and Design: Nicole Smith, Rebecca Norman, Christy Jacobson, Roger Miller*, Kira Nuebel, Chris Sandison, Kelley Hall, Colter Peterson, Sam Nelson, Tim Cass
Web Development and Multimedia: Rishad Bharucha, Xury Vanderway, Dalton Stephens, Colter Olmstead, Adam Sanders, Zach Marqua
Adviser: Peter Fox