Night moves

10 Jan

I’ve spent a lot of late nights at the O’Colly. This is just one more of them.

We publish for the first time tomorrow (spring 2011, that is) and I’ve got a really competent staff this time around. Not that others haven’t been good, but each semester there’s a certain personality that attaches itself to the editorial board, and this one is all business, which suits me just fine.

Tomorrow they’ve got a killer picture of the men’s basketball game on the front, as well as a story about charges against our mayor being dropped. Not sure what all else will be in there, but it’s already (from what I can see peaking over shoulders unobtrusively) pretty clean and strong.

I take this job way too seriously. I don’t think my staff has any inkling how emotionally invested I am in their work. I feel so many responsibilities that it sometimes feels overwhelming. I feel responsible for their futures in journalism, which is probably the scariest part. I feel responsible for the role of the O’Colly on campus, both as part of a free press and as an institution that I have to educate people about. I feel responsible for the campus reaction to what my students do, and a responsibility to educate that public about the mistakes and why they happen. I feel responsible for their grades and their finances, and of course I feel responsible that they learn about journalism and working in general.

That, as I said, is a lot of responsibilities.

But when I spend an evening in my office watching them slowly get the paper out the door and overhear their comments and conversations and laughter, I am reminded that this job is a blessing, as is our republic and our right to free speech.

What students learn down here about themselves and their community and world can’t be replicated by any other experience. The late nights and stress suck, but you leave here changed. The people you meet, the stories you tell and the experiences you give to people just can’t be understood by those who haven’t lived through it.

And I am just happily reminded of that when I spend an evening in this basement that has once again become my home.

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