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An editor’s farewell

| Friday, February 27, 2015

My entrance column last year practically wrote itself. It was every journalist’s dream, a perfect lede that fell into my lap in the form of a campus-wide power outage just 30 minutes into my term as editor-in-chief. As stressful as that first night was, as soon as the lights flipped back on and there was a happy ending, it was bound to become one of my all-time favorite stories.

Forgive me, but I couldn’t resist the chance to commemorate that night again today and shamelessly use it as a hook in the lede of the last piece I will ever write for this paper with the byline of editor-in-chief.

What a year it has been.

I firmly believe that a journalistic perspective on the world allows you to see things that you would otherwise spend years overlooking. My time behind the scenes of this fumblingly heroic little publication has taught me more about Notre Dame than anything else I’ve done in my four years here. Through journalism, I was able to repeatedly exercise my ability to see the same place from hundreds of different perspectives, through the eyes of the sources I interviewed or the letter-to-the-editor writers or the readers who called, wrote or stopped in or otherwise provided some form of feedback.

I learned that for its relatively small size, Notre Dame is an extraordinarily complex place. After four years and dozens of articles and hundreds of conversations, I see just as I prepare to graduate that there is a dizzying number of stories yet untold here. And as long as there are stories to tell, The Observer’s work will always be crucial to the community here on campus. Knowing next year’s team of leaders, I have no doubt they will keep all these stories coming to these pages, every single day.

I’ve been lucky enough to have had many mentors, both people with journalistic backgrounds and many people without. Those inside the field have taught me plenty that applies to life outside the newsroom, and those outside it have profoundly shaped the values and motivations that I bring to the table whenever there’s a journalistic issue at hand.

The Observer gave me a chance to see our community from a special perspective, and after spending my four years here writing and editing and reading your stories, I’ve grown a special appreciation for what it means to be a student among all of you. Having the chance to more thoroughly understand who we are as a community was unquestionably worth all the rest of it, the late nights and canceled plans and looming deadlines and 4 a.m. phone calls.

A special thank you to my parents, whose long-distance support and encouragement kept me sane. Thank you to my predecessors from the two editorial boards before mine for first setting such a high standard and then staying accessible to help us achieve that level again. Thank you to Emma for refusing to allow me take myself too seriously. And thank you to Michael for nailing the balancing act between pushing me to be better while also celebrating along the way.

I know The Observer will continue to improve year after year, despite any speed bumps or power outages or other challenges on the horizon. I also know the members of this community will keep making news and giving us plenty of work to do — and I know we’ll keep telling your stories.

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