It’s not often that a graduating class moves into the world amid a pandemic and nationwide unrest. Uncertainty is everywhere and we are collectively grappling with issues that do not have clear answers.

But I believe no class in history is better positioned to be the change the world needs. We are disruptors. We are driven and passionate about making things better. And the current environment in the world gives us purpose. Use this as an opportunity to embrace a new responsibility.

While student media has taught me countless lessons, one I will always live by is that you get back what you put out. Extraordinary things do not happen by going along with the status quo. They happen by putting everything you have into it. Skills and knowledge are one thing, but having grit is power. 

To our nearly 150 Mustang Media Group staff members, you have all personified this throughout your time in student media. You tackled complex stories. You dug through information and conducted thousands of interviews to share the truth. You always strived for accuracy. And you brought beauty into our community through design, imagery and words.

You have lived the journalist’s code of ethics — seeking truth, acting independently, minimizing harm, and being accountable. Whether you work in media or a completely different career path, hold these values close.

The first (and last) time I was on camera during four years of Mustang News. Kyla Calzia | Mustang News

Being your editor in chief these last two years has been an honor. We broke nearly every digital record, won top journalism honors across the nation and became a family along the way. You have consistently gone the extra mile and turned challenges into triumphs. I am incredibly proud of everything we have accomplished together and I cannot wait to see where you go in life.

And to our dedicated readers, I thank you for continuing to follow Mustang News and KCPR. I hope we helped strengthen our community and shed light on issues not often discussed. I am grateful we get to serve Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo.

Graduates, this is your moment. Take everything life has to offer and let’s make the “COVID Class” the best the world has ever seen.

With gratitude,

Austin Linthicum
2018-2020 Mustang News Editor in Chief and Mustang Media Group President

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