Time to Boot-Scoot Boogie


Morgan Fuerstenberg graphic

The time has come for the ol’ man (me) to say goodbye to the Exponent.

I’ve been with the Exponent since late September 2019. I joined because my Introduction to Creative Writing professor, Dr. Terry Burns, mentioned that we should check the Exponent out. She was also one of the advisors at the time, co-advising with Dr. Pip Gordon.

I attended the following Business Meeting scared out of my sleeves. I don’t recall if I knew anyone or if I picked up a story right away. But, regardless, I obviously stuck with it.

My time with the Exponent has been tumultuous. We endured a global pandemic! That wasn’t easy. The previous Editor-in-Chief, Stephanie Johnson, and former advisor, Liam Kane-Grade, bore the brunt of the pandemic as leaders. My job after Steph, and Pip’s job after Liam, was to ensure we survived the return to campus.

Steph had the unique challenge of running the Exponent on a strict four-person office rule. We’d run production night with only four people: Steph as Editor-in-Chief, Emily Byrnes as Chief Copy Editor, Liz Kaiser as Chief Photo and Chief Graphics Editor, and me as Managing Editor and Chief Layout Editor.

I am very thankful for the learning space that Steph provided. I had the time of my life learning layout and the great intricacies of our in-house layout rules. And then I made some of my own standards and recurring content within that position, like the classic O graphics you see on the front page.

I look back fondly at the chaos, the bonding and the learning that the short-staffed office provided.

But by goodness, I am glad we are past that. The times of the four-person office and the allowance of dual-positions are over.

Liam was instrumental in keeping me sane during this time. There were late-night emails often sent to him lamenting the situation, which he handled like a professional. I am eternally grateful for Liam’s unending patience and support, even when I was uncooperative and unwavering in my panic.

Beyond just Liam, so many other folks have been instrumental and important during my time at the Exponent.

Morgan Fuerstenberg, our Chief Graphics Editor, started at her position the same semester I started as Editor-in-Chief. We’ve shared our office hours for the entirety of our tenures, and now we must part ways. I will miss many hours of productive work (gossip).

Jello Garcia-Bautista, our former Circulation Manager (F21-S22) and my former roommate (Pickard Hall, F19-S20), endured so much Exponent talk and babble that he joined our team (and started a club within the Exponent for his office hours). It was always nice to see him around campus with the dolley full of newspapers, happy as can be.

Natalie Downie, our Chief Copy Editor and newly elected Editor-in-Chief, has done so much these past two years. Natalie has been involved in revolutionizing our copy-editing processes, creating the Raven Revived and implementing procedural changes to help with the flow of production. I will miss our Sunday-night email correspondences (it’s the best time to do newswriting).

And of course, Pip, who, as advisor, has been a beacon of triumphant hope. They have helped with so many aspects of the Exponent while balancing being an English professor. I will miss Pip’s enduring humor and southern charm.

Just last week, I stepped into Pip’s office to discuss some executive business (so fancy!). We had been discussing our times with the Exponent and Pip said something along the lines that they have “wanted to give students a space on campus … it just so happens that y’all’s space has a bunch of words.”

I like to look around the office sometimes just to observe it. To Pip’s point, it is our space on campus; we’ve taped many memes on our walls, chronicled our various celebrations and let’s-not-do-that-agains, and left our mark in our unique ways.

This space is special to me, and the people within this place are as well.

There have been so many people who have worked in the Exponent office and have built the foundations for the space we have today.

My college experience has been almost entirely guided by this space. For only a month and a half of my college career, I was un-associated with the Exponent.

It’s been a thrill, truly, and I am afraid of what I’m going to do on Tuesday nights next semester.

I do not doubt that this is a novel experience for ‘graduating’ Exponent folks, but it’s completely new to me.

I would like to note at this moment in my goodbye letter that the tradition of the Exponent began 134 years ago, and it became a weekly newspaper (rather than some version of a monthly magazine) in 1900. The Exponent, as we understand it as a newspaper, is 123 years old.

That’s so, so cool, and I am so, so proud to have been a part of the Exponent.

The Exponent predates everyone here at UW-Platteville and I hope that it will outlast us, too; it is, after all, the student newspaper of UW-Platteville. The time each of us spends with it is simply our time as stewards and representatives to pass it down to the next generation.

I am very thankful to have been involved with the Exponent throughout the years. We’ve done marvelous work, and we will continue to do marvelous work. I am very confident that Natalie and her Executive Board will carry the torch of the Exponent to continue the many great things we do.

I will miss everything about the Exponent. The late nights. The insanity after 10:00 p.m. The interviews, the news writing, the editing, the layout. I will miss my friends that I have made along the way.

I’ll still be around campus for one more semester, and I may write occasionally, but it’s time that I pass the mantle forward. It’s time for the future to arrive.

Thank you everyone for making my time at the Exponent a thrill. Good job and, like always, good on ya.

John “John ‘Danger’ ‘Rizzwell’” Daniel Rodwell