Saying goodbye to The Wichitan: I came for the writing and I left with a family


Emma Perkins

Amos Perkins poses with Wichitan staff at the spring 2021 end-of-semester party, April 9, 2021. Photo courtesy of Emma Perkins.

I first came to The Wichitan in Fall 2019 about a month into my freshman year of college on a total whim. After all, I was an education major writing a book on the side, just looking for some way to keep my writing skills from getting rusty. I hadn’t ever written journalistically, knew nothing about AP style or Oxford commas and thought I was in for a smooth ego-padding ride.

I remember how proud I was of my first article, of my over-the-top diction and narrative style, only for the then-managing editor Kristin Silva to dissect it down to nothing. I was crushed, and that would become just the first of many times I considered quitting the paper during my first semester. Nevertheless, I stuck with it and ended up writing 17 articles in two months. When Kristin became the editor in chief, she brought me up as her managing editor. Although I’m not sure she’d admit it, I’m fairly certain I only got the role on a technicality. At the time, the managing editor had to have been a section editor first, and I was the only one who fit that bill as I was the editor of the sports section (a section that at the time included me, myself and I).

By a product of Kristin’s friendship and guidance and an admittedly excessive workload of 30 articles written in one semester, I grew into the position I had lucked into. After Kristin graduated, I was turned down twice for the editor-in-chief position my sophomore year. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I got to learn more as the managing editor under Bridget Reilly for two more semesters. Bridget taught me more about the world, journalism and professionalism than anyone could ever expect from a university job, and she did it while also becoming a close friend and confidant.

When the keys to The Wichitan were handed to me in May 2021, I knew the expectations among the current and former staff were high for the paper. We were coming off of a year of improvement in writing, photos and overall design of the issues, and we were expected to take that next step. While I can’t say I’ve accomplished everything I wanted to do as editor-in-chief (unfortunately there’s still no Wichitan podcast), the issues we’ve produced have been more cohesive, the design has been mind-blowing, the photos and graphics have been beautiful and the writing has only gotten more in-depth and immaculate. More importantly than any of that, The Wichitan is even more of an open and inviting family than it was when I joined over two years ago.

Unfortunately as cliché as the saying may be, all good things do in fact come to an end. After 36 issues and 84 articles, I’ve decided to step down in order to focus on school for my last two semesters, rededicate myself to teaching and spend more time with my amazing and supportive wife Emma, without whom I would have never had the courage to become editor-in-chief in the first place.

I wouldn’t be able to step down if it weren’t for my absolute confidence in those who are continuing on after me. For the fourth straight semester, The Wichitan will be designed by the greatest designer in the western hemisphere (and creator of the official TIPA logo), Omar Combie. Abigail Jones, who has worn every hat the paper has to offer, is going to crush it as business manager while still somehow managing to create mind-boggling designs and graphics. We’re returning the highest number of photographers we’ve had since I’ve been here, and they’re headed by an absolute photographical genius in Colin Stevenson. Last but never least, our insanely talented roster of reporters will be led by the somehow even more talented Stephanie Robledo.

While my heart hurts while writing this and thinking of leaving this family, my mind rests easy knowing they’re in the best hands possible.