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Working for you

| Sunday, March 2, 2014

All of Notre Dame’s campus lost power 15 minutes into my first night as editor-in-chief, right at the beginning of my shift in the office.
To be honest, it’s slightly terrifying when your one job is to be sure there’s a paper tomorrow morning, and the first time you ever try to pull it off there’s an hour-and-a-half long speed bump like that. But it taught me a few lessons that I’m going to carry with me for the rest of this year.

First, there are days when it takes a village to make a newspaper. It takes people hunched over laptops editing stories by candlelight, people scouring campus for quotes and information about the power outage and, of course, people around to reassure me that all this will be a funny story tomorrow and it’ll work out.

It wasn’t until about 5 a.m. Friday morning that I became convinced that things actually would work out, but it did, and it will every time. And that’s only because of the teamwork and collaboration across the entire staff.
And that’s the second lesson: being able to rely on having a new issue made every single weekday is incredible, and I will not take it for granted anymore.

Sometimes, producing a daily paper goes off without a hitch. But sometimes, you spend your snow day laying out pages in the office that have to be finished before the St. Joseph County driving ban goes into effect at 6 p.m. And sometimes, you spend your first night in charge wondering if it’s at all possible to produce a 16-page paper from a laptop with 40 percent battery left.

Which brings me to the third (and most important) lesson: everything we do, every day, is motivated by all of you, our readers.
There’s no question in my mind that the work that goes in to this paper is worth it every time. We write, take photos, design graphics and shoot videos because we believe that there are stories on this campus that need to be told, and that as your fellow students here, there is no one better equipped than we are to tell them in a way that matters to you.

In the first issue of The Observer, dated Nov. 3, 1966, the editors wrote, “To uncover the truth and report it accurately. This is our goal. This is our purpose.”

Because of them, and for you, we make sure that by the end of each weeknight, these stories have made it into the pages of The Observer and our website so that you, our readers, know what Notre Dame is like today.

As student journalists, this is more than a business. For many of us, it has decisively crossed the line between a hobby and an obsession.

Thursday’s power outage made me realize exactly how committed I am to this paper and to all of you — we would have stayed awake in the office all night waiting for the electricity to come back if it had come to that. Until this time next year, I promise I will always be here to take your comments, address your concerns and report accurately on the things that matter most to you — with or without electricity.

This is not my paper. No one in this office works for me. This is your paper, and we are working for you.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Ann Marie Jakubowski

Senior News Writer, formerly Editor-in-Chief. English and Spanish double major, minor in journalism, ethics and democracy. Grand Rapids, Mich., native. Notre Dame Class of 2015.

Contact Ann Marie