You might recognize the phrase “Print is not dead,” reading it on the front of a black T-shirt that also says “PRESS” boldly on the back. This was our mission, short and yet profound.
When I pulled onto campus the Fall of 2016, driving past the now-alums waving their welcome signs and cheering me on with megaphones, a knot tied itself in my stomach. I had never felt so intimidated in my life, especially being a 97-pound, 5-foot 18-year-old.
I originally planned on not involving myself in any ORU organization that looked like a club. But I did happen to stall at one club-rush booth — Student Publications — simply because it involved writing. I thought about it, then continued walking. I didn’t want to join something that would take away time from my friends and social activities (at least, that’s what I assumed it would do).
During one 7:50 a.m. class in the LRC, my classmate and friend Haley Gibson said, “You should join the Oracle.” She was the Oracle’s Lifestyle and Sports Editor at that time. I agreed. The first story meeting I attended, I was assigned a reverb story about LANY, who were still up-and-coming in 2017. For my second story, I wrote about Colton Burpo — the well-known boy who died, visited heaven and returned — because he happened to volunteer at Victory Youth with me.
The Oracle handed me an opportunity to fall even more in love with writing. Sure, I enjoyed writing essays and posting blogs, but with the Oracle, I wrote about people’s stories and passions. It taught me to put a purpose into the passion you possess.
My junior year, I stepped in as Lifestyle Editor, assigning, editing and arranging stories about fashion, concerts, Tulsa hot-spots, people and films. Assuming it would be a breeze, I quickly found myself handling more than I thought possible. In the midst of projects and mission’s meetings and church commitments, I’d have writers texting me at midnight asking for help or advice on a story. While spending prolonged periods of time with the team in “stud pub,” I realized that I was not missing my friends or social events, I was working right beside my friends.
My senior year, I followed in Kayley Forshey’s footsteps as Managing Editor, accompanied with the ever-so talent Zoe Rubottom, Editor-in-Chief. As the rest of our team changed or joined, we secured the best of the best: our sassy, incredible Design Editor Alejandro Contreras, our always-laughing, environment-loving News Editor Chae Woon Yoo (Pauline), our candid, vegetarian Opinion Editor Faith Wilson, our peace-in-the-storm, devoted Sports Editor Brendon Martin, our unpredictable Photography Editor Gabriel Jaggernaugth, our consistent, good-with-math Business Manager Camden Swan and our dog-bringing, detailed Digital Media Editor Nina Lange.
Hunkering down in LRC 175 until 3 a.m. on publication weeks became our normal. Test the next day? Forget about it, you’ve got headlines, captions, bylines, widows, syntax, photos, graphics and typos to focus on. Every piece of the paper from the cover photo to the one-point line separating the graphic from the attribution needed to be perfect, especially considering the EIC and I are both Enneagram Ones. I fell in love with the work and my team.
Our team became a family, roasting one another, mocking one another, debating one another, irritating one another and building memories together. Together, we created stories that presented the heart of ORU. Our conversations ranged from ORU happenings, quotes-of shame stories, Gabriel never telling us about his girlfriend back home, who was getting Moe’s, which writers impressed us, Pauline’s appreciation for mushrooms, Camden explaining taxes and much more. I’ll forever miss casually hearing “this graphic goes with sex trafficking,” “homelessness won’t fit with Apple Watch,” “opioids, opioids, opioids” and “we’re waiting on Down syndrome.”
Even when students blatantly tossed the crisp newspaper into the trash five seconds after I slipped it into their hands, I adored my team and our work. We’d receive side-eyes and avoiding-eyes, but I didn’t care — they didn’t just create a printed paper with what felt like our bare hands. My hands stained with fresh ink from the paper and my clothes smelled like recycled paper, I couldn’t be happier yelling at my friends to read my stories.
So thank you to those who had a hand in one of my favorite parts of ORU. Thank you, Professor Overall, for introducing me to what quality journalism and feature writing looks like. Thank you, Professor Royall, for always pushing us to dive deeper and tell the whole story. Thank you, Haley Gibson, for encouraging me to join the team. Thank you, Cicely and Kayley, for supporting and believing in Zoe and me. Thank you, editors, for making all of the work nights and meetings some of my favorite late nights. Lastly, thank you, Zoe, my EIC, for championing your position and the team, setting the Oracle on a platform worthy of our students and their stories.
Our time in LRC 175, eyes strained from hours on a computer screen, minds bogged down from skimming stories eight times through, accomplished our goal — “Print is not dead.”