COLUMN: It’s been a fun ride

Cole Claybourn

I’m an extremely blessed person.

Now that my time at the Herald and WKU has come to an end, I’m also an extremely thankful person.

It was not in my original plan to end up here. I grew up in Indiana, and a school in Kentucky wasn’t on my radar until the second semester of my senior year in high school.

I was fortunate enough to join the Herald staff during the spring semester of my freshman year, and since then, these last three-and-a-half years have been some of the best years of my life.

I’ve gotten to cover some pretty exciting events during my time here, most notably this past year when I watched the WKU basketball team make one of the most remarkable postseason runs in a long time. That’s something that will stick with me years down the road.

I got to cover WKU athletics in a time period that probably saw some of the most changes in a four-year span that any college has endured. But that’s also allowed me to meet a lot of coaches, athletes and administrators who all have interesting stories to tell.

I rose through the ranks to become sports editor and eventually editor-in-chief, where I was able to direct coverage of some major news events this past school year. I was especially proud of our staff for our series about WKU’s social media policy and its unconstitutionality.

I’ll leave the Herald and WKU with plenty of stories to tell, like the time I had to cover the Vagina Monologues as a freshman, and the witty editors put it on the front page with the headline reading, “The Right Spot: Vagina Monologues pleasurable for all audiences.” Yes, that really did happen.

Or the time when former athletics director Ross Bjork called me into associate athletic director Todd Stewart’s office to lecture me about the negativity of some of my tweets.

But those are the kinds of stories that I’ll be able to tell years from now and get a good laugh out of them.

I could not be more thankful for everything I’ve been able to do at the Herald and WKU.

It’s provided me with everything I need in order to succeed in the journalism business. I learned how to be a journalist and how to collaborate with others.

My experience here has also taught me how to conduct myself as a professional, and at times I’ve had to learn the hard way.

So now, it’s time to thank those who have made this all possible.

First and foremost, I’d like to thank Bob Adams, director of Student Publications. There’s hardly been anyone in my life, outside of my family, who’s been more influential in my professional and personal life.

I’d also like to thank my co-worker and editor for several years, Jonathan Lintner. Much of who I am as a journalist is because of what I’ve learned from Jonathan.

Thank you to all the people in WKU Athletic Media Relations — Todd Stewart, Michael Schroeder, Chris Glowacki and all the others that I’ve dealt with on a regular basis.

Thanks also to the coaches I worked with over my three years covering sports — Jason Neidell, Willie Taggart, Mary Taylor Cowles, Ken McDonald and Ray Harper.

Thank you to all who have taken the time to read my stories and give me feedback. You all are ultimately the reason we all do this job.

Lastly, thank you to my friends and family who have been understanding when I spent a lot of time being busy with the Herald — maybe too much time.

I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I do know that wherever I end up, it’ll be my time at the Herald that provides the foundation for who I am as a journalist.

Five years ago, I never envisioned I’d be here. But I could not be more thankful for all the experiences I’ve had and all the friends I’ve made along the way. It’s been a fun ride.