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Letter from the director: The sweet sorrow of parting

It’s hard to write about writers, or photographers or designers for that matter—especially if you’ve watched them grow and morph from talented and curious students into these spectacular storytellers. They have all matured into professionals in their fields, many of them already moving on to exciting careers as journalists, editors and visual/multimedia practitioners. The best part of the process is watching their work exceed yours. Oral would be proud. And so am I—always.

What many of our Oracle readers do not realize is that about 40% of the students who work on the Oracle staff are not journalism students. Our last photography editor, the ever-creative Jeremy Luczak was a mathematics major. We have future teachers, nurses, theologians, musicians, social workers, athletes and more pass through the doors of the Student Publications office. They come into a community of deep-thinking creatives and quickly fall in love with storytelling and the synergy of newsgathering.

Some switch their majors to journalism if they feel called—and it is a call, like preaching or medicine—others learn the craft and use it to augment their professional skillset for their chosen career field. Regardless of how they choose use this storytelling toolkit, they will be better communicators, team players, managers, teachers, mentors and truth seekers from their time here.

It’s a beautiful thing to watch the camaraderie that builds from issue to issue. I see a great deal of value in the peer-teaching and learning and  in the responsibility and accountability that occurs within dynamics of publishing a newspaper as a team. This year’s Oracle team are champions all!

It will be particularly hard to watch the seniors leave who signed up during my first watch, especially those who switched majors, like Managing Editor Haley Gibson, who made the leap to journalism when the news bug bit. Her enthusiasm, strong leadership ability and nose for a good story are invaluable. I expect we will be seeing her byline a lot in years to come.

Emma Giddens, the Editorial Editor, is our writing expert, who can turn a tattered rag of a story into a stellar article. Her own journalism is packed with descriptive phrasing and compelling details, and she has an artistic flair as well. Emma is a natural at covering social and cultural issues—truly an author extraordinaire.

Our strong and steady Editor-in-Chief Raegan Dougharty, who walks softly, talks sweetly and carries a big stick when necessary, has set the standard for steady, consistent quality and the best management practices. The newsroom under her leadership has become a happy place where deadlines are met without stress and everyone has a good time doing what they love, and doing it well. Did I mention she is also a great journalist?

As these editors hand off the Oracle to the next editorial team, I am confident that the Oracle will go on to even greater success, for those stepping into their roles have been trained by the best. Godspeed to all, and we will see you in the NEWS.