Editorial: A final note

I could be maudlin and tell you about my history – how I came to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in the fall of 2016. I could talk about how, during my campus visit, I had the pleasure of meeting former Exponent advisor Mary Rose Williams, who was very encouraging to me over dinner. I could also go on about how the whole faculty and staff were extremely generous and how they’ve been supportive to me throughout my time here.

But I don’t want to talk about that right now. I want to talk about the reality of a newsroom, or OUR newsroom, rather. It takes a certain kind of misfit to willingly volunteer to spend their Monday afternoons and Tuesday evenings getting into arguments over prepositional phrases, dangling participles and lack of awareness over the Associated Press Stylebook. Whether in Russell 103A or in our new home of Warner 428, they’ve become accustomed to cramped quarters, petrified food left in the fridge and the occasional toy football getting tossed at high velocity as a friendly reminder to get back to work.

Honestly, it takes a true misfit to willingly volunteer countless hours every week for little to no pay. Some nights, particularly early in the semester, students stay until midnight to make sure the paper goes to print. Obviously, I don’t stay that long because I have other demands, such as the more than 80 student papers I have to ignore.

It’s thankless, tiring work that these students do. I myself have felt the effects of this, and I’ve only been here for three years. With the state of journalism right now, I would not blame students for avoiding the field with every fiber of their being. According to The Guardian, newsroom jobs have fallen by 43% since 2007, and the immediate outlook does not seem promising.

But these students continue to show up every week. They continue to fight through their mid-terms, scheduling conflicts and a derelict advisor by producing a paper they (and I) can be proud of. By no means is it perfect, but let me be clear: this is their paper. Your paper. The Exponent continues to be the longest continually published newspaper in the state, and I know that they will continue to survive. I’ve been (mostly) hands off as an advisor because I believe that students should take ownership of the newspapers they produce. All of the work you’ve read is a result of their hard work.

Unfortunately, I will be stepping down as advisor as I am moving to the pacific northwest with my family, where I will inflict my personal brand of disgruntlement on a new student population. I do want to thank the faculty and staff who have supported me throughout these three years. I particularly want to thank the English Department and the College of Liberal Arts and Education for being a welcome home for me. I also want to thank the real MVP Sara Koeller, who is the only reason this transition to our department has worked. I want to thank all of the students I’ve had the pleasure of teaching. Mostly, I want to thank the current and past staff of the Exponent for their stubborn refusal to let this paper die. May your continued obstinacy guide you to great success.