Last Words

Some parting words from this year's Editors in Chief

Michael Woods

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what pushes people at the Journal. This newspaper has a culture that leads staff members to persevere through sleep deprivation, yelling matches on the phone and umpteen drafts of an article until the job’s done. It’s just accepted people work their hardest until we’re satisfied with the product.

There’s a lot of uncertainty about print journalism’s future. Our introduction of online advertising and our spike in web traffic this year reflects that.

The medium may be changing, but good journalism still means telling the stories that matter in the most compelling and thorough way possible. We did our best to do that this year.

With construction projects on hold and academic programs facing crucial budget cuts, it’s more important than ever for people to pay attention to campus news.

The Journal is accountable to students and no one else, and we had that firmly in our minds with every decision we made this year.

We road tripped to the Vanier Cup and worked the whole weekend to put out an extra edition on the Monday. We covered AMS oversights like the Student Constable licensing situation. Our special project looked at what a Queen’s education might look like soon. We covered budget cuts from multiple angles.

We also live blogged events such as the Aberdeen Street party, which some online commenters said they thought kept people away from the street and in front of their computer screens.

We were also granted a fee increase this year. We recognize the responsibility that comes with more student funds. I know next year’s staff under Tyler and Rachel will honour that responsibility.

I started writing for the Journal in first year and told myself I’d stop when I didn’t like it anymore. Here I am. There are a lot of people to thank for that.

Anna and Katherine: Thanks for hiring a bewildered first-year kid as your sports editor. You guys set the bar for me and I’ve always tried to live up to your expectations.

Starting this job, I was really worried about regularly seeing the great friends I made my first few years at Queen’s. But when you have great friends, it isn’t so hard. I want to thank all of mine for tolerating my limited availability.

Kamil and the business staff: You guys held it down this year. We would have been lost without you and you delivered above and beyond expectations.

My parents enthusiastically backed me in all my endeavours at the Journal. They even bought a subscription to the paper this year. I thank them for their love and unconditional support.

Gabe: You are the Journal. You smothered us, as you do every group of rag-tag kids who pass through here, with motherly care and affection. Your smiling face and vivid sense of humour got me through many a tough day. You will always hold a special place in my heart.

Jane: I firmly believe we weathered every storm that came our way this year because we were great friends before taking this job. That led us to push each other this year and I feel like a better person for it. I’m proud to have been your co-editor and even prouder to have you as a friend.

The exhausted-looking people pictured below made untold academic and social sacrifices to pour themselves into 40-plus issues of the Journal this year. They all care deeply about the University and this paper, one of its oldest and proudest institutions.

Hiring these people and working with them for a year has been the most rewarding experience of my life.

Lastly, a newspaper is nothing without its readers. I’ve often said I’d rather take 100 angry phone calls on a Tuesday or Friday morning than zero. I’m exaggerating a bit. But the Journal is only a vehicle for dialogue because of everyone who reads it.

Thanks for reading, everyone.
Michael Woods never quite knows how to say goodbye.

Jane Switzer

Three years, 120 issues and 5,000 press day Timbits later, I’m at the end of my Journal run.

Frankly, I don’t know how I’ve lasted so long in this job. Like many of my predecessors and co-workers, I can’t explain why I enjoy 16-hour work days, writing on uncomfortable and unpopular subjects, dodging irate haters and debating the merits of proper comma placement. In second year, I woke up on a bean bag chair in the Journal house after a 24-hour press day marathon with a pizza crust stuck to my sleeve wondering what I had gotten myself into. Either I’m a masochist, or there’s something redeemable about this place that’s kept me around year after year.

Despite some proclaiming the death of journalism as we know it, the Journal has seen a year of unprecedented growth. We jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, live blogged the Aberdeen Street party during Fauxcoming, the AMS presidential debates and elections night and fired out web updates as fast as our transcribing skills would allow. The comment boards on our website have exploded to create a go-to spot for dialogue on pertinent campus issues. I can’t speak to the future of print journalism, but if the spirit of this place is any indication of how the Journal will fare in years to come, I think we’ll be okay.

Although my job entitles me to 700 words of year-end self-indulgent copy, this space really belongs to the dedicated staff of Volume 137. The Journal is truly an eclectic mix of people who work for pennies and sacrifice their personal and academic lives to bring you the news. They’re the people who trekked around Aberdeen—sober—interviewing police officers and drunk people until 4 a.m. They sat through every single AMS Assembly and Senate meeting to make sure students were informed about their governance. In the past, they’ve endured harassment and rogue champagne corks at parties on AMS election night just to grab a few good quotes—that’s commitment. I’ve always maintained that it takes a special breed of crazy person to want to work at the Journal. You, my friends, are the craziest. I won’t get sappy and turn this into a Mariah Carey song, but I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the people who kept me coming back year after year.

Anna and Katherine: You took a risk and threw me into the thick of things. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the Journal.

Kamil and everyone in the business office: You guys truly know how to hustle. Without you, we’d be running the Journal out of someone’s living room with a laptop, some pirated software and a half-eaten bag of chips. This is how I usually study, and I like to keep my personal and work lives separate. Thanks for that.

Gabe: I know you’ll deny it, but you’re the glue that holds this place together. You’re arguably the most well-connected person in the Canadian journalism scene from sitting behind your desk over the last 25 years, and your work ethic and institutional memory will never cease to amaze me.

Jamie: Thanks for your love and partnership over the past two years. You’ve kept me sane and balanced.

Emily and Monica: I didn’t know if we’d still be best friends after living and working together for two years, but you clearly can’t fight a love like ours.

Gwen and Frank: As my parents, you’re pretty much the people responsible for where I am today. I’m very lucky to have parents who would endure years of my crazy rants filled with undiscernible Queen’s acronyms.

Mike: I’ll always be grateful for whatever accident of consensus brought us to where we are now. Our talks, brainstorms and arguments have pushed me to be a better editor. You may not be my work husband anymore, but don’t think you’ll be able to divorce me from your life easily.

Lastly, to you, the reader: Your feedback, whether praise or scathing criticism, shows that students still actually care about the goings on at this university. If you’re questioning, debating or hating anything about this issue, then I’ve done my job.
Jane Switzer is looking ahead until the day she dies.

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