Editor reflects on highs, lows at the Echo

By Hannah Lazar, Chattanooga, TN—Well, guys, this is it. This is my last University Echo as its editor.

Many of you probably don’t know who I am, and you might not have followed the University Echo in any sort of dedicated manner.

But still, I feel like I have had a personal relationship with every reader of the paper during my time as editor.

I have been working with the Echo for four years—since my freshman year. During those four years, a lot of things have happened.

We have dealt with crime, death, politics, protests and controversy. But we have also dealt with great academic achievements, fun events, campus progress and amazing people with a passion for serving.

I won’t lie to you—I haven’t adored every minute of it. I have hated my job. I have gotten annoyed with my staff and my advisers. I have become thoroughly exhausted with the whole process. Sometimes, I really don’t like talking to people.

But there have been so many successes, so many victories, and so many fun, heartfelt moments, that I cannot even describe what the overall experience has meant to me.

Stories like the ones about students dying unexpectedly, acting like fools, getting in trouble with the law and causing unnecessary conflict have made me want to beat my head against the wall.

I never wanted to report on these issues—they made me sad and frustrated every time. It was these times that I really had to question my own ethics and morals and weigh them against the standards of journalism.

But stories like the ones about students and faculty making a difference through their organizations and their own hard work have made it all worth it.

I would have to say, writing a story about my own experience with a great group of students that visited the nation’s capitol for the 2013 Inauguration was one of the highlights of my career. So was highlighting issues that I felt needed to be discussed, like the story I wrote several years ago about homework programs not being blindness-friendly.

But it wasn’t just writing these stories that has fulfilled me—I have really appreciated all the feedback, positive and negative, that I have received from you, the readers. You have blown me away with letters to the editor, comments on social media and simple words of advice. Rest assured that I have taken all of this feedback into consideration, not just for the paper, but for how I operate as a professional adult.

Lastly, I have loved Tuesday nights hanging out with my staff and seeing the hard work they put in to make a great product. Wednesdays, when the paper is due, we have a ton of fun as I go crazy and drive everyone else crazy in the process.

This experience has shaped my entire college life and what I’m taking out of it. I will never forget the memories or the friends I have made.

In conclusion, I hope that I have provided you, the reader, with the highest quality of news, features and opinion writing possible, and I hope you have enjoyed picking up the Echo every Thursday morning. That is all that we can ask.

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