Graduate Goodbyes: Bylines do not matter; coworkers and people do

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May 6, 2015

The temptation to be cliché and impersonal when writing a goodbye letter such as this is hard to avoid if you are not careful.  That is my problem.

Four years at the Royal Purple has taken me from a freshman sports staff writer to leading a 30-man staff as Editor in Chief.

Michael Riley

Commentary by
Michael Riley
Editor in Chief

Every sentence I write while I am sitting in this newsroom I have called home for so long seems cheap and insulting to all the people that have been a part of my RP family.

For someone who prides himself on being able to write and know exactly what to say all the time is speechless.

The truth is that for a couple semesters while I worked here, I only cared about one thing. Me. I wanted my byline on the front page as much as possible. Everyday I picked up the newspaper and let my ego swell as I beamed at my name in print.

I did not see the value in sharing my talent and teaching because I didn’t believe it was worth my time.

It was my junior year, and for the first time in my life when I picked up the paper on campus and I didn’t feel proud or cocky or self absorbed. A cold rush of realization came over me when I thought about where I would be without the Royal Purple.

To belong somewhere is something that every person naturally seeks.  Since the day I walked into UC 66, I have always felt home.  No matter what is going outside or in the world, when I come into my newsroom and I see my editors working and laughing together it all seems right.

We work so hard to produce a newspaper every week. I cannot begin to describe how dedicated my staff has been in the past year.

We don’t get weeks off. We also don’t have the option to have a bad week. We need to produce a campus and community newspaper without fail every week of the semester.

I talked earlier about being self-centered and the feeling I got seeing my own name, but that pales in comparison to teaching someone the basics, seeing them grow as a journalist and finally put it all together.

I have tried to give my last remaining months to everyone else on staff. But this past Spring 2015 staff has honestly been the most talented group of young journalists I have ever had the pleasure to be around.  They have made my life and job so much easier and better. So I want to say thank you.

My future is cemented in journalism and I know I’ll never be able to get away from it, but the Royal Purple will always hold a place in my heart where I became the professional I am today.

Now I would be remised if I didn’t take the time to give shout outs to all my Royal Purple people.

To my advisor Carol Terracina-Hartman: If someone were to ask me who I want in my fox hole at the end of the day, it would have to be you. You’re tough and you challenge me, but I know you always will stand up for me and the newspaper. Thank you for being Momma T.

To my Managing Editor Josh Hafemeister: What a ride. You have seen my best and I’m sure my absolute worst. But through it all you never complained and you just did the work. This newsroom would be nothing without you and I want to thank you for every hour you have spent with me.

To my Advertising Manager Hayley Hughes: Girl. Thank you for being so freaking good at your job. You impress me every week and I always can count on you. I would recommend you for any job on the planet. Don’t stop working so hard. Trust me, the long hours will pay off.

To my former EIC Andrea Behling: I think I will always in some way look up to you. I wish I could emulate how calm and collected you seemed to be. Despite a million things going wrong, you always helped me whenever I asked for it.

To my former EIC & News Editor Samantha Jacquest: You’re one of the first people who I thought actually believed in my abilities. I look back now at some of the pages we designed and wrote… Gosh! We both have come so far.  It was an honor to replace you and I am so happy to see you succeeding in the real world.

To the next Managing Editor Vesna Brajkovic: Once upon a time you were my staff writer, and I am so proud of how much you have grown.  You’re going to be stressed next year but I promise you’ll never regret a minute of it.

To the next Editor in Chief Alexandria Zamecnik: The semester we spent working on the News Section was hands down the most rewarding experience in my college career. We pushed each other to be better people and journalists.

Even though our time together did not last, I know in 10 years I will look up and see a successful woman who is taking the world by storm.

Being the Editor in Chief is not easy and it will test your patience, but I trust you with the responsibility to guide the RP into new heights.

To everyone else I did not mention, I will be adding much more to my online story so look for my post.

Finally, one last shout out to my mother Peggy Riley. I don’t say it enough as I should.

Thank you for everything you have sacrificed in your life and career for me. I love you.