the editor's soapbox: Road of experience, cockiness leads to the top

    Three and a half weeks ago, I was elected next year’s editor in chief of the Guardian. As one of my “”duties,”” I was supposed to write the last editor’s soapbox of the year. I knew it was coming. I knew what I wanted to write about … basically.

    Believe me, this is harder than it looks. But as one of my old editors used to tell me, when you can’t think of anything to say, just start writing. If that turns out to be a worthless pile of shit, then start writing with someone else’s words. It was something to that effect, anyway.

    Since everything that I’ve tried to say in my own words has been worthless, I’ll just start with an old quote from Jerry Garcia.

    “”What a long, strange trip it’s been.””

    For me, the trip began five years ago — almost to the day — when I was a broke-ass high school sophomore looking to put some coin in his pocket for the summer. As I perused the want ads, I came across a listing for a sports writer for the local paper, a small rag with a circulation of about 30,000. I figured that writing sports would be a lot better than flipping burgers and cleaning toilet bowls all summer, so I applied for the job.

    I ended up writing at that paper for the rest of my high school years. By the time I left for college, I had become part of the Turlock Journal family. I still went back to write for the paper during summer and winter breaks, but the personnel changed a little bit each time I came back, until finally I hardly knew anyone there. The feeling of family had deteriorated.

    Enter the Guardian.

    I still remember the first time I walked into the Guardian office. I was the cockiest bastard to ever stroll through that door for the first time. One hand carried a binder full of three years’ worth of article clippings. The other hand was supporting my elephant-sized head, swollen with an inflated ego.

    The ego was only stroked when then-editor in chief Marc Comer bypassed the application process and took me straight back to meet the editors. One of the first editors that I met that day was Jessica Scheppmann, the resident features femi-nazi. She hired me on the spot as her editorial assistant (read: “”bitch””) and informed me that I would be in charge of production that weekend since she would be at a wedding and the associate editor was having her wisdom teeth pulled.

    After surviving the initial shock of Guardian production, I settled nicely into the features section. I moved up through the ranks to associate features editor and then features editor. This year I have tackled both the sports and news sections.

    Ever since I started at the Guardian, I’ve had my eye on the editor in chief position. It all came down to three and a half weeks ago when I applied for the top spot. I had never been as nervous as I was during the editor in chief interviews. When I got the job, I nearly cried. It was one of the best feelings of my life.

    Now I am looking forward to next year. I see nothing but great things in the Guardian’s future. While there are many amazing people graduating, we do have really talented people returning to staff.

    To those that are leaving us, I would like to thank you for not only teaching me a lot about journalism, but also for making this a great place to work.

    Alison Norris, one of our outgoing editors in chief, has had a big impact on my life journalistically and personally. When approached with a problem, she always seemed to either know the answer or know exactly where to find it. She is extremely dependable and she was one of the people that convinced me to come back to the Guardian this year. She’s a great person who will be missed at the Guardian.

    Jeff White, the other outgoing chief, is someone who I will really miss having around the office next year. More than his knowledge of journalism, which is quite large, he was always a calming presence in the office. He is a guy who could always make you laugh, but was a go-to guy in the clutch.

    Geoff Dietrich, my co-editor in the news section for most of the year, is also leaving us for greener pastures. His ability to search out stories, see all the angles and deal with writers made my life a whole lot easier this year.

    The opinion duo of Divya Runchal and Jennifer Sposito will also be missed in next year’s editorial ranks. The two were very dependable and great to have around the office. They are two of the nicest, sweetest gals I’ve ever met and it will be rough losing a pair like that.

    Isaac Pearlman will be taking next year off from the editorial ranks of the Guardian. Isaac has put in countless hours the past two years in the sports section. He is extremely dependable and always has things together.

    Similarly, I will miss outgoing associate sports editor Tait Miller. Always the laid-back guy, Tait was a pleasure to have around the office and chat with when things got stressful. However, when the going got tough in sports, he was always ready to get it back on track.

    The hiatus section certainly won’t be the same next year without the presence of Joseph Lee, a hiatus staple for the past two years. While his style kept a lot of us on our toes during production days and Monday meetings, Joe always came through with a high-quality product that made us proud to have him on staff.

    Features will lose a solid journalist in Malavika Gangolly, who got her start working with me in the features section. She was always someone I could count on. We’ll miss her.

    The photo department will be without the leadership of Lyon Liew, who, in his short stay at the Guardian, has made photo into our most dependable section week in and week out.

    The copy department is losing Andrew Quadri, a guy who was extremely dedicated to his job and never shied away from the extra work needed to make his section a little better, and Maryam Banihashemi, who will take a quarter off from the Guardian before hopefully returning to us as a copy reader.

    Design will be without it’s two leaders from this year, Laura Brown and Ed Wu. The two of them have expertly guided the design of the paper through the good and the bad. The two of them have put in as many hours in the office as almost anyone else on staff, save our beloved departing chiefs. They will be hard to replace in next year’s staff.

    While we are losing all of these great people, I am confident that we can continue to provide UCSD with a place to turn to for news, sports, opinions, features, arts and entertainment. As Ben Parker said in Spider-Man, “”With great power comes great responsibility.”” We at the Guardian take that power and responsibility seriously. If any of you ever feel that we are not doing our part to provide high-quality journalism every Monday and Thursday, please e-mail me at [email protected].

    Until next year, keep reading the Guardian, have a beer, have sex and, for Christ’s sake, have some fun.

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