Courtesy of Asha Lewis.

Position(s): 2021 Audience Engagement Managing Editor, 2020 Senior Multimedia and Instagram Editor, Staff Photographer

Section(s): Audience Engagement, Photo

Semesters at The Daily: 7

Before I knew what college was, I knew what The Michigan Daily was and that I wanted to be a part of it. 

I heard about The Daily while on a tour of the University of Michigan with my dad and sister in 2013. I was too busy making my Instagram account in the Student Activities Building, mere feet away from the newsroom, to really absorb what was going on, but the one thing I do remember is my dad pointing at a copy of The Daily right outside of the UGLi and saying, “this is a really good student paper.” 

This meant a lot coming from him, a journalist. I’m not going to list all of his accolades, 1. because I don’t know them all and 2. he would hate that, but to give you a picture, he started the journalism program at U-M Flint, was a foreign correspondent in the Soviet Union and worked for the Detroit News. What I remember most about his journalism career were his Channel 4 days: the rare nights my mom let me stay up to watch him on TV or having people recognize him while we’re out and about. You can even buy his press pass on eBay (thanks Claire for the tip; I will definitely be buying it).

Despite all this, he has told me time and time again not to become a journalist. He has some pretty valid reasons too: the field’s lack of work-life balance and its dire future. But he made one mistake: He raised a journalist. 

Even I suppressed it for a long time. Although I had been writing a seasonal newsletter about our family’s dogs since second grade, I was still trying to convince myself that I was going to be something else. From engineering (barely) to politics to law, it took me until junior year of college to realize I was trying so hard to forge a path for myself when I already had one. I should’ve known when I was accepted onto The Daily’s Photostaff the first semester of my freshman year and didn’t look back. I had found my place.

The Daily is one of a kind. From web design to nuanced album reviews to articulating feelings I’ve never been able to put into words until I read them in Michigan in Color, this paper is so remarkable. Although The Daily is so big and we all are so different, what we share is passion and dedication that I have never seen anywhere else. There is no place on campus like the newsroom and no people in the world like those on The Daily. 

To Katelyn and Alexis, thank you for accepting me onto Photostaff. You both created such an incredibly welcoming community on that section and I have such fond memories of your time as Managing Photo Editors. A very special shoutout to Alexis for asking me if I wanted to run the Instagram, and after I told you I had no experience, telling me to apply anyways. You were right, and now I’m the managing editor of Audience Engagement and am planning on going into it as a career. I would not be where I am now if not for you, so thank you so much. 

To Sophia, I’m so sorry I sprayed perfume in your eyes after The Daily party.

To Maggie and Jonathan, thank you for your friendship and for making beautiful designs for me.

To Annika, I can’t believe we met in the airport before the pandemic and now we’re besties. What a character arc!

To Kelsey, I always looked forward to our hour-long newsroom chats every week. Thankfully we don’t need the newsroom for that!

To Elise, my bestie, my only wish is that we would have met sooner. If you are as kind, supportive and insightful a teacher as you are a friend, you are going to change lives! You need to introduce me to Ma soon. 

To Muriel, thank you for always listening to me talk about The Daily and giving me the greatest advice. There is no one else I’d rather chat with. History will say they were really good friends but they’ll be wrong! We’re sister-friends. 

To my Assistant Editors, your talent amazes me. To my senior editors, Evan, Zoe, Bella, Natalie, Martina, Sarah, Cristina, Ryan and Kirti (an honorary SE) you are all some of the smartest, most hardworking people I know. I love this section because of you all.

To Jack, thank you for letting me bulldoze into your section last year. You are so good at what you do and you have the unique gift of making everyone you work with feel so appreciated and respected. You are an incredible leader and I can’t wait to see what you do in the future. Thanks for always answering my texts for like … two years?

To Claire, I have never been so in awe of someone not only my own age but someone I work so closely with. You have more poise, conviction and grace than anyone I’ve ever seen, in such a taxing and difficult job, while also just being someone I’ve enjoyed spending so much time with. I’m so lucky to have been an ME with you!

To Haley, girly. There is TRULY not a single person I’d rather have worked with this year. I used to hate group projects, and I still kinda do, but I trust you, your brain and your instincts so much that I’ve loved this glorified group project. Once this is all over I’m buying you drinks (even though you’re technically 23). 

To Mom and Didi, thank you for always liking our Instagram posts! Of course, your support extends beyond likes and I can’t thank you enough for it. I love you both so much.

And to my dad. You have made me the person I am today, and despite your greatest efforts, that person is a journalist. I am so proud to be your daughter. I love you more than words.