Last words

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Jane Willsie 
Editor in Chief
 

I’ve been writing these words in my head for the last 12 months. I’ve been revising and rewriting as I went, as the things I thought I’d be saying by the end of this year became less and less true. 

There’s a saying, something about a fool and a hopeless cause, that’s appropriate to describing student journalism. 

To the rest of the world, The Journal can seem an exercise in futility; in long nights with little reward, in thankless and tedious toil for little praise or glory — not to mention money. 

At The Journal, it takes 26 people to put out a newspaper. 

Twenty-six people who, regardless of the struggles they face in their lives or their squabbles with each other, regardless of their lack of sleep or mounting piles of schoolwork, are willing to work together to create something because they believe in its common value — because something created together is so much more powerful than each person working alone. 

Maybe I’m a fool, but that doesn’t seem like a hopeless cause to me. 

While at the end of this month I’ll walk through the shabby, paint-chipped rooms one last time and think that I’m saying goodbye, I know I’m not really leaving. 

I’m glad to lift the weight of what feels like the world at times from my shoulders, but I’ll miss feeling a part of that world. I know that I won’t be able to stop myself from anxiously peering over the shoulders of Volume 145, wishing I’d thought of it first or had time to implement it. 

After all, a year is a blink of the eye to an institution like The Journal

It’s not easy — but often more honest — to admit when you don’t know everything. So, in that way, if somewhat grudgingly, I’m thankful for the lesson in humility that was this year of frequent failure and small victories. 

A leader isn’t defined by what they have within themselves, but by what they’re able to bring out in others. As I sit in my office on my last press day in this house, I recognize the footsteps of each person walking past my door. I know their voices as they call to each other and of course, the unique sound of each of their laughter. 

Their tirelessness, their hope, love for each other and genuine wonderfulness are the only evidence I need that this year was well spent. 

Kayla — I’m completely serious when I say that I wouldn’t have made it through this year without you. Neither, I think, would a lot of people. You kind of are The Journal

Shivani, Mikayla, Jenna, Ramna, Arththy, Erika, Valentino, Julia, Auston, Ghazal — each one of you brought something unique and special to your sections and to The Journal. I think each one was a reflection of how special and unique you are. 

Sarah, Ashley, Alex, Morgan, Blake, Maureen — it seems insufficient to call you assistants. You brought life and energy into this house, thank you. 

To all the staff members, photographers, contributors and readers I don’t have the space to name here  — thank you for your dedication and your decision to be a part of this incredible organization. 

Vic — it’s been immaculate. 

Anisa and Sebastian — I learned so much from both of you, about grace, decency and honesty. I’m glad I get the chance to thank you in writing for giving me this part of my life. I hope I lived up to what you saw in the girl you didn’t know, but who you decided to hire to be the voice of The Journal’s Editorials section. 

Joe. I’ve told you this before, but this is a more permanent place to put it: I believe in you. You have so much ahead of you, but you’ve already come pretty far. If I can give you one piece of advice — among the many others to follow — it’s to not forget what made you want to be an Editor in Chief in the first place or what made you want to be great at it. If you can remember that, you will be. 

People complain about the rudeness of the Oscar’s music in cutting off people’s acceptance speeches, but they haven’t encountered the far more resolute barrier of a word count. Mine is almost reached. 

For all the people who’ve trusted me with their lives and experiences, I hope I lived up to them. But words, much like these last ones of mine, only ever tell a part of the story.

Jane is ready to see the world.

 
 
Jacob Rosen
Editor in Chief 
 
 

When you’re in the business of words, it’s never a good sign when you can’t come up with the right ones to describe how you’re feeling — but, that may very well be the best metaphor to describe my past year.

This year has been an absolute mess for me and it’s still too raw to fully comprehend — let alone come up with something to say about it.

But, seeing as this will be my last contribution to The Journal, the place I’ve come to call home for the past three years, I’m going to try to put something together, at least to fill some space. 

The thing is, there’s a lot I could say about my time at The Journal. I’ve met some of the most amazing people through my experience here and they’ve inspired me, even in the toughest of times.

I’m already sick of reminiscing on it myself and I can only imagine how bored you are. So, instead, I’m going to tell you what I’ve been working on.

I don’t want to get too much into detail, but I felt lost a lot of the time this year, like I just wasn’t on the same page as everyone else.

I’ve witnessed a lot of issues on campus during my three years at The Journal, but one of the major ones that I’ve become personally invested in is likely one you don’t know exists.

I’m talking about the major systemic issues that plague this very paper.

It’s no secret that the news industry worldwide has fallen into tough times. Beyond the financial woes, papers are struggling to find their place in an increasingly online world. I could go on about the industry for days but the point I’m trying to make is that very few papers, if any, have been doing well in recent years.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to The Journal. For years, The Journal has been stuck in an old way of thinking because its system doesn’t allow for true progress to take place. Below are some of the issues I’ve included in my more than 12,000 word report on recommendations for future editors.

One of the only reasons The Journal survives year-to-year is because of dedicated editors who work far more hours than expected for a pathetic honourarium. But shouldn’t dedication amount to more than survival?

For The Journal to survive — let alone prosper — roles and responsibilities need to be altered, along with schedules, procedures and training manuals. Dedication shouldn’t be the benchmark to meeting our standards, it should result in improving on them.

Not to mention that, for a group of people who spend a lot of energy advocating for mental health resources on campus, we spend very little time on our own discussing obvious in-house issues.

And here we are, at the end of my story. You may never see the changes in action because I wasn’t the right leader to implement them, but I can leave knowing I did my part in the hopes that the right time will come for my recommendations to guide a new day at The Journal.

Beyond all of that, there are a lot of people I need to address, but I think I’ll do most of that personal stuff somewhere else. Here are just a few of these final thoughts:

To Nick and Vince — Thank you for taking a chance on me even though I bailed as a contributor the year before.

To Anisa and Sebastian — It was an absolute honour serving as your News Editor. Words can’t describe the amount of respect I have for you two.

To Jane — I’m sorry things didn’t work out the way we planned.

To the editors of Vol. 144 — I wanted to be your leader, your mentor and above all, your editor. But in the end, I sort of just became the guy who read over your work. I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to inspire you — I guess I had trouble inspiring myself.

To everyone I’ve met because of The Journal — Thank you for opening my mind.

To my peoples outside The Journal — I don’t know where I’d be without your support.

And finally, to Joe — I’m confident that you’ll do a great job. You have a lot of work ahead of you and I’ll be around next year trying to finish my degree if there’s anything you need. Trust the process — but don’t be afraid to change it, things don’t always work out the way you plan. 

Jacob is ready to have his life back.

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