My Farewell

Olivia Shackleton, Editor-in-Chief

“Enjoy these last few days of rest because you won’t be sleeping for the next year.” These were the words of wisdom Ryan Brown, former editor-in-chief, imparted as I took on the role last April. I scoffed at his words, thinking that I could easily handle a few late deadline nights. Clearly I was naive, because he was right; I haven’t had adequate sleep from that moment and still don’t now. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the amount of sheer craziness that I had to deal with, from my first moments as EIC until closing out the position this month.

My very first week as EIC, I encountered my first challenge: The Carroll News server crashed. None of our computers would log in — a problem we had never experienced before. I called JCU’s IT department, who were helpful, but recommended that I contact the company that installed our server. Long story short, not only was the new staff not able to publish a paper during my first week as EIC, but I ended up in a meeting where I had to defend why publishing a PRINT edition is so important and why we should not be a solely online publication. This was a very unexpected stress, but it gave me the confidence to face bigger obstacles in the future.

Another challenge I struggled with was starting with an entirely new staff. Almost every editor this year had not been an editor previously, which meant they did not know the flow of deadlines nights. They did not know how to use InDesign, the Adobe software we use to design the pages. They did not know everything that I took for granted they would know.

Not only were the editors new, but our faculty adviser also was taking on her first year. This was another aspect that I hadn’t to taken into account. There were various times when we would disagree with each other, but we had to stay professional and respectful while trying to make decisions and overcome issues.

Obviously the hardest period of my time as EIC was last fall. There is no need to rehash all that happened last semester, but I grew so much through that process.

There were also a bunch of smaller moments that no one else knows about that I dealt with. Working with editors who had strong personalities and asserting myself as the leader of the organization was always something I found difficult. So was waking up to emails from our printer saying something had gone wrong and running to the newsroom to figure it out so that we’d still have a paper out on Thursday. Making sure to work around editors’ schedules when they had to leave the newsroom on deadline night by 9 p.m. was another challenge. So was figuring out why our computers always had issues logging in, crashing, etc. And then there was the headache of fixing all of the endless InDesign problems. I was always answering questions — and there were so many that needed answers. All of these were things I never even considered would be issues when I began my term.

This column is not me complaining. I just am astounded by the amount of obstacles and challenges I faced and overcame. This role has given me the confidence that I can accomplish anything and everything. I know that I have the intelligence, interpersonal skills and positivity to take on any type of leadership role. I also know that even when things seems unbelievably bad, they will always get better and life will go on.

Not only am I so incredibly grateful for the time I have had as EIC, I am also so grateful to all of the people who supported me. Kathleen Mackey, my managing editor, has been my right-hand woman throughout the craziness of this year. Thank you Kathleen for always responding to my texts about Carroll News stuff and answering my phone calls when I am freaking out. Thank you Sophia Maltese, the campus editor, for never getting annoyed at my rants and breakdowns. I appreciate you always supporting me and boosting my confidence when I need it. I appreciate your dedication to the paper and your friendship. Thank you Carrie Buchanan, the faculty adviser, for working with me, being patient and always believing in me as a leader and editor. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. Thank you to my staff, who are the sweetest, funniest group of people I could’ve asked for. I love you all, and I am so glad you trusted me to lead you this year. Thank you to Julie Hullett and Ryan Brown, who gave me words of encouragement and advice while I navigated this role. Thank you to all of my professors, who were so gracious and understanding that I had a lot to balance this year with school, EIC and an internship. Thank you to my roommates, all of my close friends and my family, who knew all of The Carroll News drama and who helped me make it through the year. I love you all, and I am so thankful that you supported and loved me throughout my time as EIC.

A final thank you to all of those who read The Carroll News. We appreciate you so much. Thank you for taking the time out of your week to read student journalism. We will continue to strive to do our best work and improve our publication in the future.

As I leave this position, I wish the best of luck to the next EIC,  who is elected today. I know you will do an incredible job, and I am already so proud of all I know you will achieve during your term.