Editor in Chief
I’ve got 20 inches of newsprint to fill, and I’m thinking about urine. The urine that’s flowed into the toilets at the Journal office, containing within it enough caffeine to kill a school of fish. But coffee intake isn’t what drives the people who work to fill these pages.
It’s because when you’re standing on the porch at this office, the campus often looks like a bowl of Jell-O. And when we produce the right kind of story, it jiggles. We like to think we can change things with the hours of reporting, photographing, writing and editing. But the events of this past year have disproved such a one-dimensional attitude towards journalism.
Sifting through the thousands of online comments that appeared beneath our articles, it’s obvious that we’re dependent on people to read and react. Our coverage of Queen’s Bands sparked a 600-comment discussion ranging from the role of campus media to the Administration’s in loco parentis approach to governance.
To those who spent time to pick up our paper, comment on an article, got pissed off, asked questions, yelled at us, wrote a letter — thank you.
These reactions are what continue to motivate the yearly turnover of unsuspecting Queen’s students who sign up to write for the campus newspaper and end up plummeting into a lifestyle of social seclusion, poor academic standing and neglectful romantic relationships.
We know it’s a privilege to be able to tell the stories on this campus and generate discussion. That’s why each misspelt name or incorrect fact this year inspired a mournful attitude amongst our newsroom. For the errors, I’m sorry.
But I have not, and will not ever question the abilities of the faces pictured above. They traded a regular student existence for timbits and a chance to produce something worth reading and reacting to. I’m constantly gushing to say I work with you all.
To my embattled co-editor: Clare, you are the reason I did this and the reason I didn’t stop doing it halfway through. You’ve made me better. To the Journal Business Manager: Weinshenker, we’d be publishing this thing on toilet paper and sticky notes if not for you.
Maggie, you’ve been the antidote to all the self-doubt and inner turmoil so common with this position. You make bad days better. And to my family: I’m lucky to have you.
The Journal operates somewhat like a virus, depending on people to transmit it. Mike and Jane, you infected me. Tyler and Rachel, you let it grow.
And Labiba and Katherine, here’s my germ-filled handshake. I leave this place, without fear, because of you.
But there’s someone missing from the above picture. Gabriele King, our long-suffering Administrative Assistant, is retiring and it’s going to be like donating a kidney. The Journal will live, but it’s going to be painful.
Gabe, as you are transplanted into retired life, know that you will be missed. But there’s hundreds of Journal staffers that will always remember you at that desk. I know if you weren’t there this year, I’d be bald and riddled with ulcers.
And if you’re still with me dear reader: Thanks for jiggling.
Editor in Chief
This was a newsworthy year. It kicked off with the threat of a faculty strike, the resignation of Queen’s Rector, a leaked letter written by the principal and an unprecedented Frosh Week alcohol ban in residences. And that was all before our first September issue.
This year, the Journal proved the relevance of campus media once again. From the get-go, our plan was simple: to push for good coverage. It’s clear people noticed. We saw national coverage of stories we broke, including the suspension of Queen’s Bands.
Compelling stories are what I’m proudest of this year, but I can’t take much credit.
To the over-worked, under-appreciated staff of Volume 139, you are the definition of journalists, each with a built-in shock-proof shit detector. You always dug deeper, sacrificing your academics, relationships and general wellness for this paper. Because of you I’m still in love with journalism and I’m lucky to call you friends.
To the editors who came before me, I owe you so much for paving the way. Erin and Angela: When you hired me as an Assistant News Editor, I didn’t know what was in store for me. You bred the necessary journalistic skepticism in me and also encouraged me endlessly. Jane: You’ve been a mentor to me since I walked into the Journal house, so don’t hate me for telling the world. Tyler and Rachel: I’ll never know why you hired me as News Editor when I was half way across the world on exchange, but I’m grateful you did.
Katherine and Labiba: A year from now you’ll understand how hard it is to leave this place. It’s a little easier knowing you’re taking the helm. I’ve seen you both do amazing things and I have full faith you’ll leave the Journal better than you found it.
Dan: You are the ultimate Business Manager. I’ll never know what we did to deserve you this year. During your first week on the job, you hunkered down in the Journal house and refused to leave, just to keep this place running.
Gabe: There are so many moments I love you for. After May’s summer press weekend, Jake and I were delirious from lack of sleep and returned to the Journal at 6 a.m. to see the first issue in print. Irrational fear won out and we were convinced there was a glaring front-page error — it’s the only time I’ve dreaded seeing the Journal. All it took was a hug from you and I knew it was all okay, that the error was in my head and my sanity would return. Over my three years in this place, you have been a source of comfort during the worst times. I know now that the same is true for every Journal kid over the past 28 years. You will always have my love and friendship. Stay sassy in retirement.
Jake: Thanks to you I didn’t feel alone in this for even one second. Not only are you the best co-editor and friend I could’ve hoped for, but you’re also the best reporter I know. Every all-nighter, bizarre news tip and stress-induced panic attack was worth it, and you never let me forget it. I already miss you so much it hurts, but I’ll make do with having you on speed dial this summer.
And to you, the reader: Thank you for every letter to the editor, online comment and angry phone call. You pushed us to be better.
And so, three years and 120 issues later, I’m leaving the Journal, ready or not. It feels like saying goodbye to an old friend.
Dear Journal: I grew up under your watch. As a 139-year-old institution, I know I’m just one in a long line of passionate, fresh-eyed students to find you, but thanks for being there. And thanks for one last byline.
We want to thank the volunteer writers and photographers who contributed to Volume 139. You made every issue better.
Caitlin Jonni McKay
Marcin Mazur Rusak
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