Jacob Lauing is a journalism junior and Mustang News editor-in-chief.
My Mustang News career started in the sports section, so it’s only natural I use a sports metaphor to kick off my final column as editor-in-chief.
Last year’s staff was stacked. We had editors and reporters with years of experience under their belts. It was a top-heavy group, a squad of seniors who left big shoes to fill. And, seeing as our current junior and senior classes are a bit slim, the “sophomore surge” followed. We came into this school year with seven sophomores in editor roles and a batch of young talent comprising most of the reporter roles as well.
This was a rebuilding year.
But that doesn’t mean this year was a lost cause, as the term implies in sports. On the contrary, we did great things in 2014-15.
Take the 14 editorial awards we won at the California College Media Association conference in February. Or the increase in web traffic we saw year over year — our three biggest days for page views this year were all higher than last year’s highest daily tally. How about our coverage? From faculty salary disputes to greek life probation to ASI’s Spring Stampede, we were there to tell the biggest stories of the year. Check out our front page. Lately it’s looked better than ever, and I think we’ll be racking up some more awards for our design and photography pretty soon.
But perhaps our biggest success this year isn’t something tangible.
During my first month on the job, I wrote my introductory editor-in-chief column. I challenged our staff and our readers to — in the second year of our converged newsroom — think of Mustang News as a storytelling platform. Not just a newspaper. Not just a broadcast news station. Not just a website.
In my eyes, we’ve dissolved that rift between print, broadcast and digital. Now we tell stories on their most effective platform, whether a written article, a video, an infographic or a photo post.
Culture change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s also something that can’t be quantified. When I look back on this year, I’ll remember that culture, the dynamic we created.
We were young. We were scrappy. But most importantly, we were learning.
This group of raw, young journalists took every opportunity to get better, grow smarter and perfect their craft. And I know it’s only going to keep getting better. If this year was the sophomore surge, just wait. You heard it here first — the 2016-17 Mustang News staff will be one of the best we’ve ever seen.
This year has been a journey of with ups and downs, triumph and failure.
It’s been an honor serving as editor-in-chief, and as my time runs out, I have the utmost faith in the leaders taking my place. Mustang News is being left in the most capable hands, and I know this product we live and die with will only get better, long after I’m gone.