LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: When I said I was ready for retirement, I didn’t mean now

The Vanderbilt Hustler will not be running regular coverage for the rest of the semester.

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Rachel Friedman

The Hustler editorial staff at Hustler Thanksgiving.

Rachel Friedman, Editor in Chief

Dear Vanderbilt,

I used to tell other editors on staff that I was ready for Hustler retirement, to step down as Editor in Chief and become a fully-functioning human again. I take it back. It’s with a broken heart that I inform the community that, in light of the cancellation of in-person classes for the rest of the semester, The Hustler’s coverage will be limited for the remainder of the semester. We will no longer be sending Monday Digest emails or maintaining regular coverage of campus activities and developments.

To inform my thought process, I had to consider a number of factors. Like any other organization, we rely on in-person meetings to structure our regular coverage. Without our all-day Sunday meetings, coordinating strategy and keeping engagement high would be difficult. Secondly, covering the community—in which most things have been put on pause—would be challenging without a presence on campus. I also think of our editors that are seniors: News Editor Eva Durchholz, Sports Editor Max Schneider and Multimedia Director Emily Gonçalves. With their senior year cut short, making the most of their time as an active part of the Vanderbilt community comes first. 

Hustler is my life. If you have ever spoken with me, I’ve probably mentioned Hustler at least once per conversation, if not more. Leading our staff and editorial board has been the most rewarding part of my college experience thus far, by far.

I reflect on my time with optimism for the future of the newspaper. Our staff size has grown substantially, with recruitment and retention efforts refocused and reenergized. Our output quality and quantity is through the roof. And more than anything, there’s a new aura to the newsroom that I haven’t previously felt in my time on staff: bottomless devotion, genuine passion and intense community. I’m so lucky to have been a part of something so special, and I leave behind such a capable staff.

A few lessons also come to mind, perhaps applicable to my successor and to Vanderbilt more broadly:

Seek and demand information from everyone, especially the university, even when people don’t want to talk. 

When something seems weird or too good to be true, it definitely is. Check your sources unless you want to get an email threatening to sue you. 

Demand the best through bringing your own contributions and energy. High expectations may make people angry in the moment, but leading by example and putting in energy and passion makes other people bring more to the table, too. 

And finally, I learned it IS possible to make national news as a student newspaper.

 

I hope you, too, learned something from Hustler this year. I miss you all already.

Best,

Rachel Friedman

Editor in Chief

Emily Gonçalves
Rachel Friedman, Editor in Chief of The Hustler.