A Bittersweet Farewell

Johnan Mitchell

PHOTO | Submitted

I remember my last editor, Amanda Hampton and Camden Burris. Because of my classes, I often got my classwork sent to the newspaper, with the opportunity to perhaps have it published. She came up to me one day, during an orientation leading training, and asked me if I would be interested in graduating from contributing writer to staff writer. It was an instant yes.

I remember my first story that made it above the fold. It was about the Vex University robotics team. I stumbled into a good story, because they were heading to a world championship. Originally, my angle was just to write about them. I had a keen interest in robotics, and I thought the best way to bring that out was to talk about them via a news story highlighting the club.

I remember, much like the Editor-in-Chief Tara Espinoza, calling my mom, elated that someone that wasn’t her actually read my work. Someone actually wanted my writing, my clunky sentence fragments and odd word choice, in their weekly publication. On the front page, no less.

This seems like small potatoes, I understand that. Writing for a D2 college newspaper doesn’t seem like it would be such an accomplishment. But to me? It meant so much more.

To think that now I am writing my goodbyes as an editor is strange to say the least. I went from writing stories about robotic lawnmowers and new trees being planted to helping my editor-in-chief, Tara, run a multimedia news organization.

I just want to thank everyone who made this possible. I especially appreciate Avery Harrah and Brooklyn Russell, who stayed with me and Tara every Tuesday, sometimes for countless hours, finishing up the newspaper.

I also appreciate our staff advisor, Tommy Mumert, who imparted upon me a staunch and relentless love for true print journalism. If there was ever someone to light a fire within me, especially in regard for my passion for writing, it was him.

I wish to especially thank Tara, who taught me the ways of journalism. It was her who got me into print journalism in the first place. The first day we met, I told her print journalism was a dying field, and I am studying Broadcast Journalism.

For the record, that is not something you should say to an aspiring freshman print journalism student. As a senior print journalism student, who switched his major to print journalism one semester in, I now know how annoying that statement is.

She was angry at me for a while, but despite our rocky start, our friendship has sprouted into something that transcends our love for print journalism.

We have added so many more facets, turning the humble paper into something far greater and larger than a weekly publication, thanks in part to those on my staff who have a keen interest in transcending the limits of classic newspaper composition.

For this, I wish to especially shout out our radio and social media managers, A.J. Chauffe, Madison Herring, and Sabrina Rountree, who took the initiative and have continuously made podcasts, radio news packages, and social media posts to ring our message out on multiple platforms.

I am glad to have gotten this opportunity to work as the editor alongside my staff for two years. I hope this is not the end for The Arka Tech. Because to me, we are more than just a newspaper.