Wrapping up this year is the definition of bittersweet. My time as Editor in Chief has been rewarding, enlightening and fun. I’ve had the privilege of overseeing the Hustler’s second year as a completely digital news source, and not to brag, but we’ve been wildly successful. Our campus team has perfected their coverage of breaking news. Our sports staff has done deep digging into more than just games and plays. Our life staff has expanded their coverage of topics such as fashion and food. Our multimedia squad can be found at events all around campus, documenting Vanderbilt’s daily life and never missing a beat. There are never enough hours in the day to cover everything that we want to, but we spend every moment we can researching and reporting on the stories you’ve seen on the site all year. We’ve made mistakes, and we’ve handled them gracefully. While I’d love to take credit for all of these incredible accomplishments, I need to give credit where credit is due. The Hustler’s staff is composed of the most hardworking, bright, kind and inspiring people I know, and each and every one has played an instrumental role in our success this year. I’ve just been the lucky one that gets to guide and support them.
But I won’t lie to you–it’s also been a hard year. Moments that come to mind include the all-nighter I pulled fact checking this story about sexual assault allegations against a Board of Trust member and crying hysterically as I wrote this letter about the Nashville statement and this story about Perry Wallace’s legacy. I’ve seen students criticize the Hustler for posting clickbait and for being ethically and journalistically irresponsible when I know that those things aren’t even remotely true. But these challenges have taught me the true meaning of strength and conviction. Facing criticism in such a public way has taught me to never back down when I know what I’m doing is right, and to lean on the people I trust for help and support. I’ve learned to view feedback for what it is, and to distinguish helpful, constructive comments from hateful, uninformed ones. I have learned the power of treating everyone with love and respect, even when I’m upset or angry. I’ve embraced Michelle Obama’s famous remark: when they go low, we go high.
There are several people I want to thank as I wrap up my time as Editor in Chief. I’ll name a few here, but the list truly goes on and on. Dallas Shatel, Deputy Editor, has kept me sane and grounded, not to mention that he’s the best friend I’ve ever had. Paige Clancy, the Hustler’s advisor, has made herself available to me and the Hustler’s editorial board at all hours of the day and has been both my biggest fan and my biggest critic from day one. Sam Zern, Campus Editor, has impressed me beyond belief with her talent and interpersonal skills every day of the past year. I can’t wait to see the amazing things she does as the Hustler’s Editor in Chief next year–you’re all in for a treat. Cutler Klein, Sports Editor, has made it very clear that he will fight anyone that stands in my way, and I can’t wait to say that I know him when he’s a famous sports journalist someday. Claudia Willen, Life Editor, completely reshaped the Life section and brought her vision to life in an unbelievable way. Claire Barnett, Multimedia Director, inspires us all with both her dedication and with her unbelievable eye for good photography. Jenna Moldaver, Voices Editor, oversaw the birth and growth of the Voices section, which has recognized students as campus experts on the topics they’re passionate about. Allison Boyce, Social Media Director, has revolutionized the way that the Hustler communicates with the Vanderbilt community. My sister, Rachel, has dealt with me being all too unavailable during her first year at Vanderbilt and is still my best friend and role model, even though she’s the younger one (watch out for this one, world).
But the biggest shoutout goes out to each and every one of the Hustler’s readers, who are the reason why this publication has attained the success that it has this year. Without all of you, I wouldn’t have a reason to spend long days and long nights writing and reporting. You have provided your feedback, both positive and negative, which has made the Hustler something we all shape together as a campus community.
So thanks, Vandy, for lending me your pupils, even if it was only for a minute on Monday mornings when my email landed in your inbox. Serving as the Hustler’s Editor in Chief has been the greatest honor and challenge of my life, and I will cherish this experience forever.
All the best,