Thank you, farewell to The Wichitan

Kara McIntyre

[Editor’s note]: The -30- term comes from the old typesetting mark to denote the end of a line. It means “the end” or “no more to say.” 

I’ve been involved in journalism since my sophomore year of high school. I started out as a reporter, then sports editor, rounding off my high school career as assistant editor-in-chief. So it makes sense that I never questioned my choice to study journalism in college — until I joined The Wichitan staff.

I know that sounds contradictory, but hear me out.

Before our brand-new mass communication building, there was a small, windowless storage-closet-turned-newsroom called the Wichitan office. There were about four consistent staff members and five computers, one of which would never get past the login screen no matter how many times we called IT.

I met the adviser, Bradley Wilson, when I was fresh out of high school and had just set foot on campus. I had expressed a fraction of an interest in joining the staff, so of course Bradley went full-force recruitment mode on me, and had somehow gotten me to agree to waking up at 5 a.m. to cover Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred as my first story assignment.

After running around in 100-degree weather with zero idea of why people wanted to watch cyclists go around in circles for hours, I decided I was never going to set foot into that office again. I hadn’t written a news article in months and, to be honest, Bradley terrified me. I thought journalism wasn’t for me anymore.

Exactly one year later, I took a media writing and reporting class with — you guessed it — Bradley Wilson. I don’t think he remembered me, but I certainly remembered him. He encouraged me, pushed me and forced me to write stories I didn’t want to write. I started staying in the office later, writing more stories than I needed to and helping out the editors when I could.

I started to care.

Now here I am with five semesters on staff, one as managing editor and three as editor. One hundred and twelve production nights arguing about hyphens, em dashes, Oxford commas and whether we wanted Pizza Hut or Domino’s.

Hundreds of stories. Thousands of hours. Millions of memories.

I’ve learned too many things from this experience to list in this column, so I’ll just share a few. I’ve learned that the general public under-appreciates the work journalists do — and that some of them will always hate what an article says, no matter what it is. I’ve learned how to be a leader, how to push people (even when they hate you for it) and how to show compassion and accountability at the same time.

Most importantly, I’ve learned that doing a thankless job means I can’t get upset when people don’t say “thank you.”

But now it’s my turn to say thank you to the organization and the people that have given me everything.

First and foremost, a heartfelt and humble thank you to Bradley for a) seeing my potential before I did, b) trusting me enough to put the paper in my hands and c) for being my mentor, professor and friend. Another genuine, slightly apologetic thank you to Justin, Brendan, Cortney and Leah for listening to me whine and complain about my editorship. Thank you to Rachel and Fran for coming back on staff and saving me from having a giant hole in the paper too many times. Thank you to Tyler for showing me that I’m leaving the paper in capable hands. Thank you to all the new staff members for taking a chance and committing your time to the paper. And, lastly, thank you to all the beautiful students, faculty, staff and community members for reading my stories and entrusting me enough to take care of them.

As I’m sitting here and typing this, looking at the screen through teary eyes, I’m leaving a piece of my cold, cynical heart in this rolly chair. One final thank you to The Wichitan — you’ve given me more than I could ever imagine.

Here’s to new beginnings, for both me and The Wichitan. It’s been a rollercoaster, but it’s one I’d ride over and over again.

-30-

Kara McIntyre is a mass communication senior.

Bye Kara, hello Tyler

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