Videographer leaves department better than she found it

Jackie Kuenstler

The Daily Texan and I have had a tumultuous relationship. I had ups and downs between being giddy with pride at a beautiful video I had produced to being irrationally angry and frustrated when it felt like no one else on staff appreciated that video. I often felt like video was considered by everyone but me to be the ugly stepchild of The Daily Texan. Like we were doing some things that weren’t half bad, but we were everyone’s last priority. So I took it upon myself and my staff to prove them wrong. 

Being the department head over the video staff was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. Managing people is hard, and it’s not something I enjoyed doing, but I strove to improve the department and make our presence known. My favorite parts of working at the Texan were when I was making my own videos, not overseeing everyone elses’. Looking back, I don’t know why some of the things I made freshman year were published, but it sure made me good at my job now. There isn’t a class in this entire college that gave me that opportunity. 

After I took time off from the Texan to study abroad, I came back to a transformed paper. Before I left, there were walls everywhere, and the video department was cooped up in a separate room from the rest of the staff. When I returned, there was almost an entirely new video and photo staff, the walls were torn down, both physically and metaphorically, and I began to truly feel comfortable in my position. The work at the Texan was both hard and inspiring, but the people there really made it home. 

My senior year at UT and my last year at the Texan has been what I wished my early years were. I’ve been able to create great content in which I’m interested, I’ve made solid friends and built a solid little family. I’ve watched other people do my old job better than I ever could, and I’m very grateful to be here and witness that. The video department has grown tremendously in size, quality and recognition since I was in charge, and I’m happy to be leaving it in its current state. I know it will only go up from here. We’ve come so far from our roots of being cooped in a tiny, dark room in the corner, separated from everyone else. I’m proud to call The Daily Texan my job — and my home.