Editor's note: A 30 column is a chance for departing permanent staff 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.
I tried out for a general reporter position at The Daily Texan before I had my first class at UT, and I never left.
Instead, I made our basement office my home base for the last three and a half years. As a reporter, I wrote about transgender students, DREAMers, street youth and the Center for Students in Recovery. Talented photographers and videographers helped bring my stories to life. I spent hours in the Glenn Maloney Room of the SSB and came to admit, grudgingly, that UT’s three student governance organizations occasionally do cool stuff.
In various editing roles, including spring 2012 managing editor, I helped reporters and other editors create content to deliver to the masses. Sometimes we got it wrong, but I never stopped believing in the Texan and its power to educate, entertain and improve UT.
In between the rush of putting out a daily newspaper, I wrote essays, research papers, poems, songs and love notes on my favorite grey couch. I drafted part of a eulogy hunched over the news desk. I’ve been drunk, furious, elated and anxious in the office. Once, heartbroken, I came here to cry in the middle of the night.
The people I met through this job remain my mentors and dear friends. Many of those friends have long since moved along, leaving behind their own -30- columns and the sweet smell of whiskey breath. When I look around the basement, I see few staffers who know what “Nova Haus” means. A few semesters from now, I too will be but a whisper lingering in the news bullpen.
I hope I leave behind an institutional commitment to using reporting to illustrate the diversity on this campus and the challenges many students face. I hope the Texan In-Depth team, which I had the joy of creating this fall with two of the smartest reporters I have known at this paper, will thrive and break new ground.
Most of all, I hope that long after I leave the basement for the last time, the Texan staff continues to tell stories that will make UT better and have a great time while doing it.
I learned how to report, write, think and lead here. I will take my love of people, enthusiasm for reporting and quick typing fingers wherever I go. After graduation, I plan to spend a year in Nicaragua fundraising for a nonprofit. After that, I’ll make the most of the skills I gained at the Texan and see where the journalism job market takes me.
I wish I could offer a shout out to every friend I made here, but I don’t know where to begin, and I would surely leave someone out. I’ll end with some thank you’s instead.
Thank you to the students who let me tell your stories. Thank you to Doug, the Texan’s faculty adviser, for letting me flesh out story ideas in your office and always pushing me to work harder and dream bigger. Thank you to the editors and reporters who supported me, laughed with me and believed in my crazy ideas.
Thank you to every person I have known at the Texan. Whether we were good friends or co-workers who waved from across the office, you are my family. I love you in the way we always love the people who make us who we are.
Audrey White started at the Texan in fall 2009 as a general reporter. She has served as the senior campus reporter, associate news editor, news editor, a life and arts staff writer, managing editor and, this semester, editor of the new Texan In-Depth team. She plans to see everyone in January at Hole in the Wall.