Position(s): 2021 Digital Managing Editor, 2020 Audience Engagement Managing Editor, Daily Staff Reporter
Section(s): Leadership, Audience Engagement, News
Semesters at The Daily: 6
We were in the newsroom the night of the Michigan Democratic Primary. Lizzy decided to follow the networks and call the race at 9:00 p.m.; the former vice president had won the state in a landslide. I remember another editor saying: “Wasn’t expecting it to be an early night.”
Moments later, we got the press release from the governor’s office: two confirmed cases of COVID-19, prompting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to declare a state of emergency.
That Thursday would be our last night of in-person production. It’d be the last night Ben and I would leave the newsroom together. The last time I’d sit as an editor at the Social desk. The last time Leah and Sayali would yell edits at me from across the room. The last time Alec and Eli would be familiar faces in a room full of strangers.
The news picked up that spring. There was the MDesk. We talked about cutting print and investing in digital. We covered protests and the pandemic. We made plans for a remote fall term. Our nightly Zoom calls kept me connected to campus.
That’s when I took Maya’s advice: to see The Michigan Daily as a place that could change my life. And I let it.
Over the summer, Erin, Julianna, Schuyler, Tara and Zack made me understand this place. Alec, Ethan, Jack and Theo made me passionate about it. Together, they made me obsessed.
Somehow, through all of it, Lizzy didn’t fire me. Instead, she encouraged me.
I was hesitant when Claire first offered me the digital managing editor position. I had just given this place my all and had sacrificed a lot along the way — sleep, grades, health, time with friends. Was it all worth it?
Ten months later, Claire, Brittany and I entered 420 Maynard together for the first time.
The newsroom was barren. Campaign posters and old front pages had been stripped from the walls. Playing cards and ping pong paddles were replaced with disinfectant wipes and disposable masks.
A fear that Ethan articulated in his SportsMonday farewell was front of mind for me: post-COVID-19, would The Daily change into a place people don’t go unless necessary?
At first, it seemed like that was going to be the case. Most staffers were choosing to work remotely. Nights at The Daily didn’t feel the same.
I owe every one of the 400+ beautiful and talented people who work here my everything. You made my college experience what it was. You gave me purpose. If you’re reading this, chances are you made an impact on my time at The Daily, and I am so incredibly grateful for you.
It feels silly to try to go through the names, but…
Asha and Haley, you made an impossible job look easy. Whether it was breaking news on a Friday night or an emergency during a football game, you always answered the phone. Thank you for taking the punches (and throwing them back when I deserved it).
Evan, you have a huge future ahead of you — at The Daily and beyond. You know where to find me if you ever need anything.
Shannon, you’ve done more than I could ever ask and then some. I’ll always be in your corner.
Annika and Iulia, thanks for reminding us that we’re supposed to have some fun along the way.
Parth and Naitian, to say that you are the backbone of Daily digital would be an understatement. Thank you for making me look smart.
Elise, Zoe and Lizzie, it would probably be inappropriate for me to say that I have a favorite set of MEs. People might be upset if I said that you guys were the most reliable, passionate and authentic editors I know. So I won’t say anything at all.
Madison and Liv, you make this place feel like a home. You are two of the funniest and most intellectual people I know, and I’m not just saying that because you guys are editing this. Thank you for always welcoming me at the Copy desk.
Lane, you have a way with words like no other, both on and off the page. Every interaction we have — no matter how frequent — makes me smile. Thank you for showing the rest of us how to be better writers, editors and leaders. And Kent, thanks for finally learning my name.
Gabrijela and Anamika, you pushed me to think critically. You helped me more deeply understand the responsibility that comes with our platform. You made me a better person and The Daily a better place. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Callie, you are the investigative journalist I wish I could be. Thank you for letting me hold your ear to vent about The Daily when we are out on the town.
Andie, you’re a badass editor and great friend. I’m so lucky you’re in my life.
Sammy, thank you for every word of advice, every minute of lost sleep, every conversation from which I dozed off, every ride and meal delivered, every SEO headline written. The Daily is a force that both gives and takes. While it gives people like us a place to express ourselves and to invest our passion, it also takes time and energy. For me, nothing exemplifies that dichotomy more than you. The Daily gave us each other — now, I’m ready for it to stop taking.
To my family, thank you for the unconditional support you’ve given me. No matter the ask, if it was for The Daily, the answer was always yes. Dad and Pete, you are my inspiration, and I hope that I’ve made you proud. Mom and Meg, thanks for dealing with another one.
To my roommates and friends outside The Daily, thanks for the news tips and the jokes and letting me vent when I needed an out. I promise now to put away my computer when we watch sports.
Aya, I can’t imagine someone better to fill my shoes. The future of The Daily is digital — take us there.
Brittany, you’ve given this place more than I could ever imagine. You saved our print paper, were frequently the voice of reason and never let us compromise quality for laxity. The Daily would crumble without you. Thank you for everything.
Claire, we first met covering the protest in Troy. I remember you looking so collected, like you knew exactly what you were doing. Clear-eyed and on a mission, determined to accomplish what you came to do. I was unsure in my work, second-guessing myself and looking to you for guidance. Eighteen months later, that dynamic remains. Thank you for showing me what it means to be great. Wherever we go, I’ll always be standing right next to you.
To Alec and Eli, Alex and Sarah, Allison and Maddie, Barbara and Liat, to the news and copy desks, to Atticus, Amelia, Bella, Jessie, Kristina, Natalie, Raelynn and Ryan, to Joel, Liz and Julian, to Calder, Emma, Lily and Hannah, to Sarah, Cristina, Dom and Dom, to Grace, Julia and Leo, and to so many more, thank you for the late nights, Piada runs, newsroom banter and stupid fights. I love you all.
Together, this class of editors has accomplished a lot. We expanded our digital reach, created newsletters and launched a new website. We reported stories that were important and necessary (and plenty that weren’t, too). We reached Bernie Sanders and Lana Del Rey and went viral on TikTok more times than we deserved. We added new sections and invested in old ones. We made The Daily more accessible and welcoming. And I’m confident that we are leaving it in a better state than we found it.
We fell short sometimes. We made mistakes during my time here that were embarrassing and inexcusable. We didn’t come close to finishing the structural changes we set out to achieve.
But I’m turning the page on my time at The Daily with a full heart. Not because of our successes listed above or the trust I have in our next leaders and editors (though that helps). Rather, I am OK leaving this place because I believe the newsroom culture — once fractured at the hands of Zoom and remote work — is restored.
Eventually, staffers trickled back to 420 Maynard. Decorations went up and candy bowls were filled. The TVs turned on and the music went up. “Electric Love” became “All Too Well.” Sports got louder. Production nights got longer.
And it’s 3 a.m. and we’ve been done with Daily work for hours, but I’m here in the newsroom for absolutely no reason at all.