I’m not sure when I realized how important working at The Famuan had become to my life. But, I think it was when I couldn’t recall the last time I went out with my friends who weren’t on staff or when I began to feel guilty for leaving the office to go to class.
I just joined the staff this semester, but I have already had a variety of memorable moments.
When I first started coming into The Famuan office in the fall, I just did my work without really talking to anyone and left when I was done. After all, I was just a freshman and most people on staff were upperclassmen who had known each other forever.
Some staff members even nicknamed me “Peace Out,” because I worked quickly to leave the office.
I slowly began to make friends, and now I know everyone on staff. I quickly befriended my co-assistant news editor. Now, everyone talks about us as if we are one blended person.
Writing for the news section requires knowing what is going on on campus and being prepared to cover breaking news – whenever it happens. I can recall many times when I was about to do something – and then I got a call from one of my editors. This means there’s news.
There are many aspects of writing for The Famuan that I’ve tried to escape, but they have actually enhanced my experience. For example, the forced nickname of us assistant news editors as “newsies.” I hate nicknames, especially those that make me seem young or inexperienced. Or the coverage of the lengthy senate meetings every Monday.
At the beginning of the semester, it was agreed that one person wouldn’t cover the Senate.
Yet, at some point, the staff decided I was the senate reporter. Whenever I asked who was going to the senate meeting, I received “looks” that meant I was the one going.
However, I actually enjoy going to senate meetings now: (I just can’t let my editors know or I’ll be the senate reporter until I graduate).
And I can’t forget staying in the office on election night to cover the spring SGA elections or running down to the cafe with my co-assistant news editor when a student was shot.
But I can’t complain.
I’m blessed to be doing my job as a freshman.
And even though some people have asked me why I do this if I’m not getting paid, (I’ve asked myself the same question), The Famuan is an institution that you can’t move up in until you prove yourself.
I never realized how much of an impact the newspaper had on campus until people began to tell me they read my articles, someone called the office because I wrote something they didn’t like or I forgot one letter of a source’s name.
Of course, I get tired of writing articles when people don’t want to speak on the record or when I need to be studying and I’m in the office. But I would never quit.
Next year, I can be paid and boss the new staff members around.
And they can quickly take the “newsie” nickname too.
Ebonie Ledbetter is a freshman newspaper journalism student from Atlanta. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org