After contributing to The New Hampshire (TNH) for a little less than a year, I became a staff writer in January 2018- the beginning of second semester sophomore year. I had just switched into the journalism major around Christmastime, and in the newsroom, I was surrounded by some of the most talented, detail-oriented writers at UNH: Caleb Jagoda, Adrienne Perron, Jordyn Haime, Benjamin Strawbridge and Gates MacPherson, to name a few.
It was a little less than a month into my staff writing tenure when I realized something a little odd about TNH’s office, MUB 132: Why are there no windows in this room?
Two months later, just before TNH’s annual staff switchover, Bret Belden, one of TNH’s sports editors at the time, sent me a text asking if I’d consider running for managing editor. Bret, my friend since meeting in Gibbs Hall our freshman year, was slated to become TNH’s next Executive Editor. I remember it was one of those warm, late March days where snowbanks would melt away and Bret, a baseball fanatic like myself, and I might have a game of catch on the quad. I was flattered for a second before being overshadowed by a major realization- I’d never heard of a managing editor before.
Now, roughly two cherished years after stepping into that role, our 2019-20 academic year (and our entire in-print product) has been cut short and moved online due to the international COVID-19 outbreak. There was restlessness during our final production night on Wednesday, March 11- the same day the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. That was soon followed by an indescribable jolt of pain the night our year came to a screeching halt on Wednesday, March 18 with the decision to move to remote learning.
So, how does one even begin to describe the wonders of the best team they’ve ever been a part of? Here’s my rendition:
Former staff members (those who trained us in 2018 and those who graduated in 2019) were always gracious teachers and great company. Our staff writers and advertising staff are prepared, thoughtful and are always trying to step up their game. Ben’s exhaustive dedication to written word, as well as his unwavering excitement in his craft, is admirable and graced our pages week after week. Taylor and Devan were eager to learn after being quickly hired and fast to adapt- all with a smile. Hannah has the strongest administrative skills and a fierce willingness to take on many tasks. Caleb is a mastermind wordsmith with an indelible sense of creativity- undoubtedly the best writer I’ve ever met. Maddie, who has three (3!) majors, is fearless and refreshing like springtime. Josh, TNH’s next Executive Editor, is a confident leader and, quite secretly, an excellent imitator of Josh Turner in karaoke. Emily and Katie, on top of being so detail-oriented and a formidable investigative reporting team, are two of the friendliest, caring people on campus. Sam, whose basketball skills resemble that of the mystical Channing Frye, is one of the most passionate and funniest people you’ll ever meet. Kally, our lifeline of a business consultant, is the ultimate support system and a wholehearted mentor. To Bret, our Greta Van Fleet, Wall Street Journal-loving boss: I am indebted to your trust, your skills and your years of friendship.
In short: I’ll miss this group, our achievements, our growth and, above all, our friendships immensely. The world most definitely has a plethora of life-changing opportunities waiting in the wings for all of you.
Every Wednesday night, every staff meeting, every layout, every story, and every little moment in between – no resume blurb can ever reflect the joy and gratification that came from this experience. No matter where our personal and professional paths take us, these skills, lessons and memories are applicable to any job, obstacle, or task we’re presented with; with love in your craft and in the people you share it with, success and good fortune are imminent.
Perhaps, at the end of the day, our newsroom is windowless for just that reason- keeping the love contained and never letting it escape our clutches. Or maybe it was strictly budgetary- I never really asked.