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Passing the torch

Katie Kohler | Thursday, February 21, 2008

So, I’m sitting in Observer headquarters in the basement of South Dining Hall at 1:43 a.m., and I realize there’s no Inside Column. (This is one of the many joys of being an editor).

And, unfortunately, I am not very creative. So, I’d like to take this opportunity first, to apologize for wasting space, and second, to discourage people from reading on.

I guess this is as good a time as any to talk about a relevant issue in my life and many others who work for The Observer.

Tonight is our annual “Turnover Dinner.” What this means is that the Editor-in-Chief turns in her nameplate and, thus, all her executive responsibilities at the paper. And next week, all the remaining editors will do the same.

Tonight, at 6 p.m., Maddie Hanna will get her life back as a college senior and, hopefully, enjoy her newfound freedom.

It’s almost like a mini-graduation – moving forward from something you’ve invested so much time and energy in for the past four years. It is emotional. It is sad. It is exciting.

Our turnover dinner is one of the few times a year the majority of the staff gets together. The sports writers get to know the news writers. The photographers share a drink with the graphic designers. We say a few speeches, have some pizza and look on to the next two months where the incoming editors have to come into their own.

The year doesn’t start in August for The Observer. It begins in March (or February for some). We have to train a new staff, recruit writers and do all the grunt work you never imagine it takes to give you a daily newspaper. We like to do it, don’t get me wrong. But tonight, we get to pat ourselves on the back and reflect on our 42nd successful year as the “Independent Newspaper Serving Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s.”

From scandal to lecture, from Big East win to devastating football loss, The Observer is there to cover it. Some days, we struggle. Other days, we are one of the top-read college newspapers in the nation. We strive to be that for you everyday, but we know that’s not possible.

So, tonight I want to hail the outgoing senior editors for all their hard work and dedication to the 2007-2008 Observer and also let the student body know that there is a new set of editors in town who will be striving to make an already great newspaper better.

To Maddie, Ken, Kyle, Mary Kate, Karen, Chris, Tae, Dusty and Joey, good luck and thanks for your help and dedication to The O. Have some fun tonight.

(And P.S. It has been the greatest honor and privilege to work for Kyle Cassily for the past three years and learn from arguably the greatest hockey writer in Observer history.)