Position(s): 2023 Statement Managing Editor, 2022 Statement Deputy Editor, Statement Columnist, Illustrator and Design Recruitment Chair
Section(s): Design, Statement
Semesters at The Daily: 6
When I first joined the Michigan Daily, I was an inept illustrator who had just wanted a club to tout, something to fill the negative space in my resume. I parked myself at the Design desk every Sunday and compiled campus statistics into an infographic entitled by the numbers — I loved the name because it reminded me of the NPR schtick, but the affections generally ended there. For an art student, I felt surprisingly ambivalent about the creative role I occupied. Hindsight, of course, illuminates the situation: too shy to connect with anyone, the newsroom quickly became a friendless, aimless space for me, populated by intimidating, learned upperclassmen who, so properly consumed in their journalism, didn’t want much to do with a freshman with no editorial stake.
When the pandemic hit, I abandoned the illustrating and swerved my attentions to writing. I would, around this time, declare a writing minor, find a cheap typewriter at an antique sale, and lean into the tropes: I read all summer, and furiously, as I always have — and in the fall I applied to the Statement section, finding it to be the intersection of all that I wanted to do with words. The personal, the matterful: the why of creative journalism.
My sample column, young in theme and undecided in its style, though it managed to win a spot in the first edition, didn’t earn me a permanent writing position. I shrugged off the half-win, contributed a few more pieces to the section, and retreated to the art school. In the interim, I kept writing, eager to improve, and in fall of the following year, hopeful, I reapplied.
When I was officially hired by Andie Horowitz as a columnist for the Statement, I was elated — I spent the following semester writing sprawling, attentive pieces that wove the intensely-personal with the restlessly-broad, and hoped desperately that they resonated. From the emails I received, one of which hilariously insisted that I stop taking Prozac, proved that at least people had read them.
But it wasn’t until I took on an editor’s position at the Statement that I began to feel a sense of belonging that I hadn’t previously known at The Daily — from the volleying of ideas at story meetings to the diagramming of sentences during the edit process, I grew to be on even more intimate terms with the narrative purpose and its possibilities, began to feel it in full. The newsroom came to be a comfortable space; colleagues became friends.
When I write, I often become aggravated with the sheer possibility — the potential meaning hidden, latent, in that linguistic waiting room. To chase down my actual intent, and to wield language in a way that transcends the individual, remains in some ways a relatively enigmatic act. There’s worry that lives inside that aggravation, too, a fear that I won’t get it right, that I’ll have stopped just short of earning the writing’s existence. And when I do finally get it down, when I begin to feel good, even, about what I’ve got, there’s always more that hides behind it — there always will be. When I wrote my columns, I wanted words to do more than nominate, I wanted — I still want — to insist that they do.
Julian Wray: I’ve always considered you to be my first real friend at The Daily, someone with whom I could share complaints, bounce off ideas — someone I could celebrate with, someone I could trust. When I took on a columnist position, and started writing the pieces, my memories with you hummed in the background — conversations about books, about writing, about art and movies, about what the world contained and what made it knowable, what made it not. To see you oscillate between crafting book reviews lithe in their discretion to leading sharp, pressing investigative work — to see you move fluently between editor and writer — has been one of the greatest pleasures of knowing you. It’s never mattered, and still doesn’t, whether you’re near or far, whether the last time I’ve talked to you was months or minutes ago — you write with a precision so poetic in its bluntness that I can’t help but feel attached to, in awe of. Your ability to notice, to shape meaning and to find it in unlikely places, has always been of the most enviable sort. I can’t wait to see where you go, what you write, who you lead. I’ll read it all.
Andie Horowitz: You’ve since graduated, but I can’t write a goodbye to the Daily without writing to you — your suggestion to apply for an editors’ position awarded me a feeling of confidence that would propel me into the rest of my involvement at the Daily, and for that, and for you, I’m forever grateful. You led the Statement effortlessly and with an editorial savvy that I can only hope to emulate.
Grace Tucker: I’m forever impressed — at every story meeting, in every conversation,
how empathetically and efficiently you deliver critique and compliments alike, how you manage to navigate the tricky social structures of the newsroom with such grace, (ha) and how welcome you’ve made all of our staff feel. You are a true editorial powerhouse, someone who knows a good story when she sees one, and I feel so lucky to have worked with you, and to call you a friend.
Julia Maloney: What a privilege it’s been to watch you work, and to be your friend — whether it’s recalling scores of facts or a slate of statistics at the drop of a hat, or donning the latest Daily gear, you navigate every environment with a learned, confident sensibility. I can’t wait to spend one more semester in the newsroom with you, and to watch you excel in your new position — you deserve all of it and more.
Jeremy Weine: Nobody else does what you do — your visual sensitivities, their acuity, your enviable ability to connect seemingly disparate events together, insisting upon their weight, remains, to me, nonpareil. At every story meeting, and in every conversation, you cast a kind of critical net — you help wrangle pitches and question the shape they take on, you playfully deploy anecdotes and noticings alike, and I find that in those moments I feel an awe for you so startling that words, for as much as I love them, seem to fail me. It cheapens the point to say that I can’t wait to see what you do with the rest of your time at the Daily, but it’s true — I can’t wait to watch you continue to make your role as Statement’s Photo editor all your own, and for you to deepen your already-sizeable impressions on the people lucky enough to know you.
and to all the incredibly talented writers I’ve had the privilege to work and talk with: Valerija Malashevich, Dani Canan, John Jackson, Charlie Pappalardo, Sarah Stolar, Emily Blumberg, Oscar Nollette-Patulski, Haley Johnson, Riley Hodder and so many more — you embody the Statement in all its varied, piercing and insightful forms, and I can’t wait to pilot one final semester with you all.