Thursday, April 12, 2012

Goodbye old friend

Sadly, the Daily Universe at BYU is no more. It is being replaced by a weekly paper titled The Universe and a few extra stories on the web. When the change was announced, most people who never worked for the DU said "So what?" but you're just going to have to trust those of us with experience there who aren't drinking the Kool-Aid when we say the whole thing has been a poorly-handled tragedy so far. I'm not going to get all sentimental here, but a couple of other people posted their "Top 10" (actually more like 20, but who knows how to count in a newsroom?) favorite moments in the newsroom and I wanted to share a few of my own, in no particular order.

1) Seeing my byline in the paper for the first time. I was making an important contribution to society! I was changing the world! Actually, that very first article was about worms in Antarctica. So maybe not. Nobody probably even read it. But it was still awesome, and so was the first time I walked past a random person on campus who was reading an article of mine.

2)When I was metro editor, in a less dignified period of time at the paper, whoever was the last one to the conference room for our daily front page meetings had to say the prayer. It was cheating to wait by the door. So the news editor would holler "front page!" and all of the other student editors (and some professional staff as well) would vault out of their seats and run pell mell down the hall, occasionally shoving each other (or our reporters, or the disapproving broadcasters) out of the way if necessary.

3) We had a lot of really great debates about current events in the newsroom during slow news days. I remember the night after the State of the Union address one year everyone was sitting quietly working when McKay suddenly said "All right everyone, favorite State of the Union moments," and everyone instantly turned around with great anticipation and started saying gleeful things like, "When he mentioned Citizens United, did you see Alitos's face?" I loved working with people who could be as nerdy about stuff like that as I was.

4) The spontaneous game of newsroom football that broke out between editors one afternoon when there were no reporters and no professional staff around. Fortunately, no university property was harmed in process

5) When we made a "scratch and sniff" edition for April Fool's day that was actually just plain newsprint. Sitting in the Cougareat at lunch watching people was priceless. Some people kept scratching harder, sniffing again and looking disappointed. Others clearly suspected maybe it was a prank but couldn't help surreptitiously sneaking a sniff when they thought no one was looking.

6) Watching BYU beat Florida in double overtime during March Madness while the Arts and Entertainment editors tried to get work done because they couldn't appreciate what all the fuss was about

7) The BYUSA story. Also the cheating story. Pretty much anything investigative that totally put the campus in a tizzy

8) Reading the infamous Jimmer thread with everyone after I published Michelle Peralta's letter to the editor against Jimmer worship. Also, reading the full collection of letters that came afterward

9) Christian and Danny yelling at each other in Professor Hughes's class

10) Working on the opinion page Monday and Wednesday nights while listening to the copy desk, plus Rich/Kaye/Brandon/RJ, laugh over funny typos

11) All of the special holidays Kaye had us celebrate, like Pancake Day and Cardigan Day. Also, all of the "surprise" birthday parties in the conference room, including the time Kaye invented a front page meeting because my birthday was on a Thursday

12) Pranks, from super glued quarters to candy hearts

13) Coming up with photo illustrations for stories on every possible topic. I particularly enjoyed my career as a hand model for various packages.

14) Hearing horror stories about other editors' reporters, like the one who made out with his girlfriend in the press box during a game

15) When Courtney was gone and Jordon pretended to be her all week

16) Reading all of the really hilarious letters to the editor I didn't print for various reasons (mostly because they were from mentally unbalanced non-BYU students, like the guy who always talked about how the "Mormon CIA" kept erasing his blog)

17) Winning a Hearst for a column about free speech (also finding out that one of the random days we were supposed to submit for a contest was the BYUSA story)

18) Watching the Divine Comedy spoof on the BYUSA article together

19) Courtney and I chatting over Gmail chat when we were sitting across from each other because we didn't want the reporters to hear us talking about their stories

20) A ton of hilarious quotes, great people, lessons learned, fun moments, hard work, and sticking it to the man over three of the best years of my life

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you took the time to do this and share it. Mine was a little long but even now I missed a bunch of favorite other memories - just too many to list, I guess. I'm glad you put the Hearst win - that was a biggie! Thanks for being a part of a winning team - memories for a lifetime!