Editor’s note: A 30 column is a chance for departing senior staffers to say farewell and reflect on their time spent in The Daily Texan’s basement office. The term comes from the old typesetting mark (–30–) to denote the end of a line.
The Daily Texan gave me the self-determination to ask questions, to meet people and go places I never would have otherwise. During my two years on staff, I was surrounded by a group of people that inspired me to make work and look for stories in my community that felt meaningful. The experiences I have had were only possible because of my colleagues — filmmakers, photographers and editors — who had an expansive vision of what the multimedia department of a college newspaper could be.
Memorable among these experiences, stories and characters are Slobodan and his band of renaissance musicians and Karen the shamanic healer. These individuals and the worlds they welcomed me into taught me far more than I ever learned in a classroom. I found their devotion to specialized, atypical art forms to be inspiring and enlightening. Thankfully, in addition to nurturing my predilection for the obscure, the Texan forced me into situations that were uncomfortable and challenging. Being a photographer on staff never let you fall into a routine; no week was the same.
Lauren Ussery | Daily Texan Staff
The Texan is an environment that allows you to fail. You can be sent out to cover a rally, measly rode mic and aging DSLR in hand, with no clue what frame rate is, but you are emboldened, somehow attempting to make a video despite your tsunami wave of ignorance. You are empowered because you have been given a job, to tell a story, and the license to do so.
I want to thank the people who made my time here life changing. First is Taylor Barron, the reason I joined in the first place. We spent a year and a half on video staff together and made some kick-butt videos. Mostly fondly, I remember the beautiful disaster we made on food production in Austin. Apparently, five minutes isn’t enough time to tell the entire story of sustainable food practices in Austin. Who would have known? Taylor taught me what I know about shooting video.
I have always been drawn to obscure subjects. I have endless gratitude to my video editors, Alec Wyman and Dan Resler for accepting and putting up with my more idiosyncratic story pitches. Alec was also my savior in times of technological distress. Thank you Alec for answering those late night, panicked phone calls. Amy Zhang and Lauren Ussery, thank you for putting up with me this past semester. I will miss our Sunday evenings editing photos for Monday’s paper and listening to Beyoncé.