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Thank you

Matt Gamber | Friday, March 4, 2011

When we use this space to talk about our work at The Observer, there’s a tendency to focus on the nuances, if not the nuisances, that make the publication of a daily college newspaper a unique challenge.

As I reflect today, the last day of my term as Editor-in-Chief, a part of me is relieved it will never again be my responsibility to deal with a malfunctioning printer, a crashing server, a dying computer or a leaking ceiling in our office here in the basement of South Dining Hall.

Another part of me, though, remembers those speed bumps not as challenges, but as opportunities for some team-building comedic relief.

Like the time(s) we’ve had to restrain each other from going Office Space on printers that could probably qualify for Social Security. Or the time we carried our server from computer to computer like a flash drive just so we could finish the first issue of the year. (The printers were, of course, broken that day, too.)

Or the time, after spending an hour trying to turn on a computer that may as well run MS-DOS, I called our systems administrator to “fix it” — which he did by pushing the “on” switch that was apparently impervious to my touch.

Or the time(s, again) we’ve sent a staff member running up the stairs to fetch building maintenance while the rest of us tried to stop a leak by catching the water in Solo cups.

You’d think these instances of absurdity would derail the production of our paper. I’ve come to realize, however, that it is precisely instances like these that highlight the ridiculousness of our collective situation, bring us closer together and allow us to put out a paper every day.

Overcoming these seemingly trivial obstacles — and doing so in a musty, outdated office in the basement of South Dining Hall — is what enables us to make the tough decisions and handle the real challenges of journalism that we, like all newspapers, face.

It’s what allows us to step up and spend a 16-hour day in the office when the coverage of an important campus issue demands it, and then come back the next day to put out a paper in a “business as usual” mindset.

It’s what allows us to pick each other up, whether it’s a busy week academically or a rough day personally, knowing that favor will be returned when you need it most.

It’s what allows us to step away and play ICPA, “redecorate” the walls of my house, laugh about cinnamon toast and enjoy a night at Bruno’s.

I’ll look back on my four years at The Observer and know they weren’t perfect. I’ll remember those little obstacles and those big challenges. But, most of all, I’ll remember overcoming them with all of you.

Thank you for helping me survive my year as Editor-in-Chief. And thank you for making it one heck of a ride.

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Matt Gamber at mgamber@nd.edu