To writers and readers
Douglas Farmer | Thursday, March 1, 2012
Substitute “The Observer” for “Hotel California” and the old Eagles classic rings even truer for us in South Dining Hall’s basement.
“This could be heaven or this could be hell … You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”
One difference separates The Observer and the hotel, such lovely places they both may be. There, you bide your time with only the “mirrors on the ceiling” for company. Here, we toil as a unit, a full newsroom supporting all within it. That comforting fact became more and more apparent, and more important, to me during my term as Editor-in-Chief, which ends today. For the last year, that newsroom supported me, motivated me and encouraged me.
Sarah Mervosh went to Egypt, yet held me accountable. Adriana Pratt made a movie about me, yet cut me slack. And Amanda Jonovski criticized me, yet covered my mistakes.
Pat Coveney humored and humbled me. Brandon Keelean served as my taskmaster of a teacher. Eric Prister laughed while maintaining my sanity.
So, after a year of watching this newsroom’s collective efforts add up to the paper I was in charge of, I bow in gratitude to that newsroom. I bow to every member of that newsroom throughout these last four years.
First on that list would be 2009 graduate and former Sports Editor Dan Murphy, who advised me to rewrite my email address more legibly on Activities Night in August 2008. Between Dan and those now rising up The Observer’s ranks are a few crucial people completely separate from the bowels of South Dining Hall. Call them my personal newsroom.
A thank you to my friends for not forgetting about me when I disappeared for whole weeks at a time.
A thank you to my mother for understanding, though assuredly not liking, when I chose El Paso, Texas, or New York City over a few days at home.
Even a thank you to my professors, assuredly fed up with my attendance habits, yet understanding (I hope) at heart.
But lastly, and easily most importantly, a thank you to whoever takes the time to read this. On a personal level, every time I was complimented on an article, be it on quarter dogs, Dayne Crist or Snoop Dogg, it drove me to a higher level the next time I put fingers to keyboard.
On a paper-wide level, your readership is the only reason we exist. Your two moving eyes motivate and hold us to a higher standard.
Each person at The Observer, myself especially, survives and thrives thanks to the newsroom. That newsroom gives us reason to neither check out nor leave.
The newsroom, meanwhile, survives and thrives thanks to you, our readers. You give some light and purpose to the dark, desert highway I have traveled these four years, now reaching its bittersweet end.