Farewell from The Mainstream graduates; welcome to new editors
The newsroom: A place of beautiful chaos, challenging headlines, full pots of coffee and most of all, a family.
Being a part of The Mainstream, UCC’s student media, has taught me many lessons and skills that I will hold with me throughout the rest of my education and life. Of course, it has taught me how to write 600 words in a matter of half an hour, but it also taught me how to communicate with just about anyone, how to effectively edit an article, how to speak up on behalf of marginalized groups, how to bring attention to issues and so much more.
Before my educational journey at UCC, I would’ve never imagined myself writing for a school newspaper, let alone becoming the managing editor of one; but the opportunity seized itself, and I have never looked back.
The first time I met Melinda Benton, my advisor, I was tucked in the corner of my living room during the peak of COVID, summer of 2020, and I had a scheduled Zoom meeting to discuss what The Mainstream was. I was freshly graduated from high school, and I was so scared.
I would have never thought from that day forward I would develop a relationship that would not only change my path as a student but alter my life forever.
Then, fall of 2020 came and my first course with Benton. I prescriptively set up my dining room to where the window was in front of the camera, my chair was straight on and my makeup was done to look like I hadn’t been sitting at home for the past six months. I had my first college course through Zoom.
I was intimidated, to say the least; I was shy, frequently spoken over by my peers, and I really had no idea what was going on that first day. But J215 had started, and at this time, my role on The Mainstream was to be a reporter. I got my first assignment and turned in my first story. That first article assignment was edited not two or three times, but four times before being published; I thought to myself “What did I just sign up for?”
Since then, I have written many articles, and I know well now that articles don’t come out perfect on the first draft, or the second, or even the third; articles are seldom perfect, but I have learned that that’s okay.
During my first year on The Mainstream, I went from being a reporter to the social media manager and a senior reporter. Then, by the end of spring 2021, Benton asked me to work closely with her as the managing editor, and I took the position.
Benton is not the intimidating woman I first thought she was, but she is one of the most kind-hearted people who has nothing but good intentions; she wants the best for anyone.
Melinda Benton changed my story; the words she spoke to me that first year on The Mainstream showed me that my intention of going to beauty school, because I thought I couldn’t major in STEM, was wrong; she uncovered my hidden capabilities, and I’ve now completed an AS with 11 science courses.
Being a part of The Mainstream has also taught me how to be confident, in all aspects of life, and I will hold that with me for the rest of my life.
Welcoming new editors
Jazmin Ode and Molly Jerscheid, together you will build a team between yourselves and within the four walls of the newsroom.
The job of being a managing editor is not easy, but it is the most rewarding and the best character-building job you may ever take on as a student.
I see a lot of you in me as you sit back quietly, but scan the room and listen to everything, without saying much.
As an editor, this skill will help you to get the full picture, which is so important. Being able to read a person as a leader will help you to build an effective relationship between yourself and each member of the team, and it will allow you to build an effective relationship with the whole team.
Navigating how to deal with pushback from team members can be hard, it can be defeating, but don’t let this stop you. Your ability to overcome this is so much stronger than you may think.
You have only been on The Mainstream for a short time, but each time you turn in an assignment it comes back so much better than imagined; don’t sell yourself short, give yourself hard assignments, as you will grow so much.
Ode, you have taken on every single article and assignment with such dignity and confidence. Those attitudes will get you so far in life. Your ability to understand different perspectives of individuals will mean so much as an editor.
Instead of saying “I have it harder than you, so I won’t do it,” you say “I don’t have it easy, but that won’t stop me from shining.” Your commitment to bettering yourself is going to help you as an editor.
One of the most challenging parts of being an editor is learning how to communicate with different people, but with the willpower to excel, I know that you will do so well with this challenge.
As a reporter, you have confidently approached people from all walks of life and asked them questions, without fear, and thrived; hold this skill with you as an editor, as it will get you through difficult times.
I am so sad to be leaving The Mainstream. The amount that I have learned is astronomical, but the growth that Benton offers The Mainstream and her staff will never stop.
My advice to Jerscheid and Ode is to listen to Benton, as that woman is full of wisdom, if you follow the path she paves, you’ll go far.
The Mainstream will always be a part of my heart, and I will never forget about the path Melinda guided me to.
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For more articles by Savannah Peterson, please click here.