Last Words

Tyler Ball and Rachel Kuper are looking for their next big thing.
Tyler Ball and Rachel Kuper are looking for their next big thing.

By Tyler Ball
Editor in Chief

The one question that has followed me through the last six years of my life is “what are you going to do?”

When I was in grade 12, it was in reference to university. When I came to Queen’s, it was in reference to turning a Fine Arts degree into something that pays the bills.

When asked to a newly-elected Editor in Chief, I interpreted it as a challenge. That’s really what this job is about; challenging yourself and your staff to create great things.

Coming from a photography background I was pretty intimidated by being Editor in Chief to this group of talented, driven and intelligent people. I didn’t have much experience writing a story, much less editing it for spelling and grammar. All I knew were lenses and Photoshop.

I knew I wasn’t going to be the one to write the exposé or the investigation this year, so I had to focus on something else. I wanted to provide my staff with the tools to succeed in their short time here, creating the best possible journalism they could.

If you go to today you’ll see a new website. I’ve barely thought about anything else for the last month. But it’s all worth it, because I know future Editors in Chief will need our website to reach out to more and more of their readers.

While I was off in The Matrix it was Rachel who kept the roof from caving in. It was her that took the lead on our print redesign and came up with some of the best ideas for making our paper into a more modern, visually appealing product.

And while we were both tearing our hair out over stories, deadlines, dots and flats it was Gabe who really kept the roof up. She is the glue of the Journal. Without her the left hand wouldn’t know what the right hand is doing—and there wouldn’t be Timbits. She constantly begs, joking I’m sure, to be fired so she can go on a nice vacation, but I won’t because I know that the house will truly fall over.

I hate numbers, so Dave and his business team need to be thanked for keeping the Journal afloat this year, especially in this transitional period for journalism. Dave is the man with the plan, ensuring we have pizza and putting a smile on everyone’s face when storming the layout room with his Chewbacca impression.

And to the staff: As with any volume of the Queen’s Journal, there are some pretty rough times. Late press nights, stressful and intimidating interviews, dealing with media relations people that have terrible attitudes and general stress can all contribute to a detrimental work environment. However, the staff of Volume 138 were able to take the negatives and turn them into positives, helping and encouraging each other along the when we needed it most.

There were also incredible high points. Having John Stackhouse, the editor of the most prominent paper in Canada answer our questions and inspire us to maybe give this journalism thing a try. Hearing someone impart such wisdom to the staff was invaluable.

From a women’s hockey win to alumni stranded amongst turmoil in Egypt, I think everyone at the Journal has created something in the last year that they should be proud of.

I hope we created something that students at this university see as important. Whether you agree or disagree with our coverage, thank you for reading, comments, tweeting, blogging and writing letters to the editors. Those that participate in the conversation increase its value.

As Editor in Chief, there are always going to be things you wished you had done, but I have to remind myself of all that we accomplished this year. Besides, Jake and Clare are ready to achieve much more than I ever could.

Thanks for reading.

By Rachel Kuper
Managing Editor

I would describe my first few days as managing editor as scary, hectic and haphazard. I took office after only one year of Journal experience and was too naïve to even recognize what I didn’t know.

I remember how every tiny edit sent me into fits of self-doubt and any hiccup made me feel like I was failing at my job. I was lucky I had such an amazing support system from both inside and outside of the Journal.

At the Journal there’s Gabe. She’s been working with the paper since before I was born and knows every single thing about it. I used to come in at least an hour before I needed to be at work just to chat with her and sometimes do a bit of online shoe shopping.

Gabe kept me gossiping, but Dave, our business manager, kept me sane. Until I took this job I never felt true physical stress, and so I never learned how to deal with it. As soon as Dave and I became friends, my time at the Journal got exponentially better because he let me vent, laughed at my jokes and never judged my pastry obsession.

Without Tyler though, I’d be nowhere. Tyler and I are complete opposites. Whereas he’s detail oriented and a perfectionist, I’m big-picture focused and efficiency driven. Whereas I have a tendency to panic, he’s calm to the last. The funny thing is though, before working with Tyler I never knew these things about myself.

Beyond our work styles we have very different personalities, but in him I found a great friend and powerful ally. Together, we professionalized the Journal’s workflow and redesigned our print publication.

Until this year I thought pulling your hair out from stress was something people just said. But somehow out of all this chaos and confusion came the absolute best year of my life. I learned a ton about the journalism industry and could probably rival any journalism school grad in an article write-off, but that’s peanuts compared to what I’ve learned about people.

In light of all the tragedy on campus over the last year it’s so easy to feel alone or stressed or overwhelmed. But if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that when you need them most, people will come through and they will amaze you.

Somehow more than 20 Editorial Board members are willing to give up their St Patty’s Day, their every Thursday night, their mandatory seminar and so much more, all for the sake of a quality product.

I remember how many first-time contributors were thrilled to spend their Saturday night of Fauxcoming traipsing through the rain to get us a story, and how many editors were all too excited to pull out their notebooks and show them how it’s done. Just a few days ago I called one Ed Board member to ask what she was doing for the next couple days and if she’d rather write a last minute article instead—she thanked me for the opportunity.

Some incredible people have come through the Journal this year, but I would expect nothing less. Every generation of Journal staff shows dedication and passion and then, they become a community. Even after graduation, this community doesn’t fall apart.

Journal alumni always want to know not only how the Journal’s doing, but also how you’re doing. While they never overstep, they’re always ready to offer advice, encouragement and an understanding nod.

Since I started working for the Journal two years ago I’ve written more articles than I can count. It seems impossible that I’m finally writing my last one, but even though I’m leaving the comfort of my 190 University office I know I’m not leaving the comfort of the Journal community.

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