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A farewell to all

April 27, 2018

After this issue prints, I am officially retired as Editor-in-Chief. I hand down this responsibility to a talented, responsible, and capable Kaelin Sommer. I look forward to seeing what she and her staff will produce in the future. I have been dreading this day for a few months. It is now or never.

I was originally going to write about leadership because leading, or attempting to lead, has been a huge factor in my college experience. I have formed my identity around leadership because I have witnessed it, studied it, and experienced it. Instead, I am writing a proper farewell. It felt necessary.

I have been working with The Courier for the past two years. First as the News Editor and now as the Editor-in-Chief. I also wrote as a contributing writer the year before which initially got me hooked. I fell in love with it. I saw writing news articles as a challenge more than anything. You see, newswriting aims to inform the readers with as little words as possible. The trick is forming an entertaining voice through the writing that makes people want to read it. Well, that is how I see it.

The funny thing is that before college I used to absolutely hate writing, but Monmouth College and The Courier assured me that I had a skill and a voice. A voice that, through the persuasion of my friends involved with the newspaper, could be expressed. There is something thrilling about publishing your writing. It is terrifying because potentially hundreds of people could hate it, but it is amazing because so many people could enjoy it. Also, seeing your name and work in a newspaper is pretty cool too.

I am not going to lie though, working in print media is stressful. Sometimes articles do not get written in time and you have to figure out how to fill the space. Sometimes mistakes are made, and they were not caught before printing. Then you have to deal with the consequences whatever they may be. The important part of that process is to learn and grow from it (and sometimes apologies are helpful too).

Those stressful times, although a pain in the you know what, were addictive. The pressure to create a newspaper each week with 10 other people, and sometimes more, is rewarding when you pull it off. It is a lot of work to get it right, but the gratification is phenomenal. The only thing that beats the feeling of making something good with a group of your peers, is the people themselves.

I have worked with two different Courier staffs and each one taught me two important lessons. The 2016-2017 staff taught me that the people you work with can quickly become your best friends no matter what backgrounds you are from. This year’s staff taught me that no matter who is available, the newspaper will be made. This year’s staff has worked so hard, especially during first semester when it was only a few of us, and I cannot thank them enough for their effort.

There were so many speed bumps this year that it truly felt like an uphill battle. Our original advisor Joe Angotti surprisingly retired during the summer which left us without a “head” for our organization. I had to make sure we got paid, we had a budget, we could print in Galesburg, we could go to the ICPA Conference, and lots of other duties that the advisor takes care of. Luckily, our current advisor Duane Bonifer volunteered and saved my sanity. I will forever be in his debt.

At the end of the day, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to those who read the newspaper. Thank you to my friends and family supporting me when confidence was low, and tensions were high. Thank you to my old staff for being incredible friends to a clueless News Editor. Thank you to my wonderful girlfriend for being my actual biggest fan even before we were dating (she actually collected every single issue from this school year. How cute is that? What a catch, am I right?). Thank you to my talented and hardworking staff for the hours of extra work we all had to do. Thank you to Duane Bonifer and Joe Angotti for being such skilled mentors.

Goodbye everyone. It was a fun ride, but Hess has officially left the building. Hopefully finals will not be too bogus for you. Peace.

Riley Hess
Former Editor-in-Chief

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