Tuesday marks the last day that I, and many others on The Lantern staff, will have our name in the paper as an editor. Editor-in-chief Ally Marotti and I started working here at the same time almost three years ago, and this chapter is coming to a close.
I’ve known this day would come, but there’s no way to prepare for something that has been a part of your life for three years to come to a sudden end. I find myself already yearning for more time inside our windowless confines that I and about 18 other people call a second home.
I have been spending a little extra time in the newsroom, trying to soak in my last moments here. Listening to the hum of my friends and fellow editors shout ideas back and forth, watching our pet fish swim around, going through bookshelves to see what little gems of history I might find.
And I found some pretty incredible things on those shelves, including a full edition of The Lantern from 1953. The front page is packed with the terribly important front-page news, such as the absolutely riveting schedule of the intramural bridge tournament.
I suppose some things were a little different back then.
But that wasn’t all I found. There was Clark Gable handling a copy of The Lantern, with quotes of him giving it praises.
There was even a clipping in one of the books as well, a story from 1958 on tuition increase, a whopping $15 increase to $90 from $75.
Things were definitely different back then.
But some things have remained strikingly similar.
The Lantern from 1957 had just won the award for best student newspaper in Ohio, and was one of the top nine in the country. Just this year this staff won that very award, best student paper in the state of Ohio, for the third year in a row, and that’s up against noted journalism schools such as Ohio University.
But then, that is to be expected with the staff that we have. In my three years here I have never witnessed a group come together to work as hard as we did day in and day out to get the best possible paper out there.
The audience picks up a finished product every day, but it’s not always easy to get that out to the masses. Breaking news can happen at any time in the day, taking any plans for the front page that might have been set and demanding an entirely new plan from scratch.
Just last week, The Lantern stepped up as a staff to cover some of the most difficult stories anyone can write. A student tragically passing away, Ohio State students witnessing the bombing in Boston and another student who is still in critical condition months after a tragic accident of her own.
No journalist looks forward to those stories, especially a journalist who, in reality, is just another student, just like everyone else.
It is difficult to handle situations like that with poise and professionalism, but I witnessed a group of kids turn into a group of professional journalists and watched everyone handle himself or herself as well as any professional journalist out in the world today.
Personally I believe that is because this group has been through most of the highs and lows a journalist can go through: an undefeated football season, posters of front pages being sold, tragic accidents, a basketball team in the Elite Eight, bomb scares and even newsroom blackouts.
Yes, our own place of work lost power, about 45 minutes before we were done for the day. Everything was on the computers and they, and our server, were down.
With no other option, the entire staff descended upon the 18th Avenue Library and started everything completely from scratch, staying up until 4 a.m. to get out the next day’s paper.
The Lantern was started in 1881. There is a lot of tradition and history in those 132 years of existence, and my three here are coming to an end. Knowing all that’s come before us, and all that we’ve done this year alone, it will be tough to step aside.
I know that I will miss the hum, chatter and friendship. I will miss contributing to the storied history of our organization.
On that fateful night without power, one editor perhaps said it best, “History doesn’t just happen, it’s made.”
And that’s exactly what we’ve been doing here at The Lantern, each day turning out a piece of history.
I will no longer be making pieces of history here, and neither will several others, but we sure have made some history, and we sure are proud of it.