If it weren’t for student newsrooms – the Herald specifically—I wouldn’t have found a home when I went off to college.
Working in that newsroom brought me more of a sense of community, support and love than I have ever felt before. It’s likely something I will never experience again. Maybe that sounds dramatic, but it’s true. It truly changed my life.
This was a place that allowed me to fail, learn and grow. It allowed me to push myself creatively, and experiment with new ideas. It built the foundation for my professional skillset. It forgave me the one time I accidentally misspelled the word assess in the print edition. I’ll never forget that extra “s” again, by the way.
The Herald has also been behind most of my career moves. I completed several internships either because of the Herald directly, or because of recommendations coming from someone within the building. Heck, if it weren’t for that newsroom, I never would have interned for Walt Disney World. That entire experience was a dream, and it wouldn’t have come true if I hadn’t found my Herald connection.
Most importantly, I met my best friends there, too.
Through all the chaos – the late nights, the constant issues sending pages, the breaking news and all the times I just collapsed on the carpet—I found a community of people that became my family. I found people who got to know me at the core of my being and vice versa.
We laughed. We cried. We played the Ghostbusters remix entirely too often. We met at El Maz religiously. We binge watched Disney movies. We quoted Seinfeld almost daily, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
I can’t express the value these people have in my life. Not only did they make my college experience one of the most memorable times of my life, but some have gone on to be the biggest part of my support system today. I know I can hop in a car and be with one of my best friends in just a few short hours, or pick up the phone at any time and immediately connect with those a little further away.
In short, student newsrooms are not only integral to the college learning experience, they allow you to find your community. Yes, you learn valuable lessons in news judgement, AP Style and headline writing, but you find your people. What’s more important than that? What better reason to save them for years to come?
I owe everything to that newsroom, and I doubt I’ll ever be able to fully repay it.
This letter is part of the #SaveStudentNewsrooms movement. A student-led campaign designed to bring attention to the challenges student newsrooms face.
Kae Holloway is a former Herald editor-in-chief for the fall 2015 semester.