Web chief reflects on time at Texan

Ryan Murphy

I never wanted to work here.

Maybe it had something to do with the whispers I would hear being passed between students.

“It’s just a biased group of students padding their resumes,” or ”you know, everything they write has to be approved by professors, it is not real journalism.”

But like most student gossip, it has a lot more to do with cutting down something unfamiliar or different than it does with the truth, and a student-run paper is a perfect target. (For the record, both are not true.)

My resistance was a lot more basic. The entry-level journalism courses ­— meant to put you through the paces — threatened to push me out of my major on more than one occasion. To this day, intermediate reporting is one of the hardest classes I ever completed. I knew I did not want to be a traditional reporter. So when the position of web editor opened up in March, I took a leap of faith and signed up.

What I stumbled into was a group of people brought together by the crazy idea that publishing a paper every weekday was worth doing. I got the chance to sit in the night crew, the designers and copy editors that finish the day’s work, as I did the cumbersome job of copy-pasting each story into the CMS. I have many fond memories from then, but I will certainly not miss being up at 3 a.m.

I had the chance to play a role in developing a better online product for dailytexanonline.com, helping to encourage a paper that lives on tradition that sometimes you just have to do what works, even if it goes against everything this paper is built on. Although the web presence for the paper is still not where it could be, I firmly believe the effort we put into rectifying that was worth it, I know it will continue to grow and is in good hands. (Keep an eye out for the site refresh!)

But at a time when it is hip to hate the press, I found a group of like-minded individuals that cared enough to give a damn for very little pay. If it was not for the Texan, I do not think I would have made it this far, and I could be carrying the very contempt I now try to overcome.

So to a staff that welcomed me in with open arms so late in the game: Thank you. You all made my last nine months of college the best it could be.

I should have come down here earlier. But then again, I never wanted to work here.

Ryan Murphy has worked as the web editor at the Texan from March to December. He starts at the Texas Tribune in January.