Most editor-in-chiefs of the Oracle have nine months to lead the student newspaper. I had four. Four months to find a routine, establish leadership and leave a legacy, but I like a challenge and I definitely value efficiency.
I started this year as managing editor, Dominique Johnson’s right hand woman, but life happens and school is the first priority for any student. Thus, I received the job simply by default, not because I was chosen. In fact, I often joke that there was a long list of potential leaders before me, and I was listed somewhere after a pet iguana.
I spent a little time wondering why I was not the go-to replacement, much like a vice president, but I quickly realized it did not matter. Instead of analyzing my journey, I prepared for the job waiting at my destination.
I learned a significant amount about leadership this semester, specifically the most important part of leadership, finding people willing to trust me enough to follow along.
Deep below the surface of the earth, on the first floor of the LRC, you will find the hardest working staff on campus. The staff works not for money or prestige (how often do you read a byline?), but to serve the student body by giving the students a voice.
They work every week late into the night writing and editing stories. They unbury leads, write centerspreads and take photos. They push themselves to the limit for you – the student body.
They are a team who does not always get the credit they deserve for their sacrifice. If nothing else, I hope they know, if I could thank them a thousand more times for their hard work, I would.
They are a team like no other. They can joke, especially when someone leaves their Facebook open in the office, but they always get the job done -without fail.
Every other week the best student newspaper in the state of Oklahoma (objective statement, the Oracle did win the title this year) is thrust into students hands as they quickly try to leave chapel in a futile effort to beat the enormous lunch line at Saga or the Deli. The army of students willing to cover themselves in ink from freshly printed newspapers is yours truly, the Oracle staff.
Maybe for some students it’s hard to see the purpose of a student newspaper, but every issue is written with you, the ORU students, faculty and alumni, in mind. The Oracle staff works hard to push boundaries and consistently tries to deliver content with meaning and purpose.
Our team has learned much from the stories we’ve published this semester, and even the stories left unpublished.
The greatest lesson I learned this semester, is whether I am the first choice or the last choice, I must serve the role with excellence for the team and for the team alone; for the ones who are willing to run the extra mile, push when it hurts, and ultimately finish a job well done.