Former reporter, editor reluctantly says goodbye to the Texan

Amanda Voeller

I started college as a neuroscience student who’s never been good at science. I’m still not good at science, and after a few weeks of learning about axons and neurons, I switched to journalism because, as I told my dad, “I’ve always liked writing.”

In my first journalism class, a tall guy with red hair named Bobby Blanchard stood at the front of the room and told us about a student newspaper, The Daily Texan. I wandered over to the basement after class, circled the building three times before finding the entrance, and filled out an application.

Since then, I’ve worked at the Texan each semester, and it’s challenged me more than anything else has. I’ve learned that journalism isn’t just about being decent at writing; that the students at the Texan make up the most dedicated group of people I’ve ever met; and that this 100-year-old newspaper will continue to bring not only stories to the student body, but also incredible friendships to the people who work to create it every day. The Texan has been my family at UT. It’s a family that changes each semester, and it’s a family that essentially lives in a large basement
underneath campus.

Writing and editing news stories was a never-ending process I sometimes hated but usually adored. The multiple-hour interviews balanced out each ignored phone call, the perfect quotes balanced out each “I don’t know,” and the camaraderie between the Texan staffers balanced out each “your deadline was two hours ago.”

After four semesters in news, my semester on the editorial board taught me about compromise and about writing totally differently. My time in special projects, with the tech and social media teams, gave me an informed perspective on where journalism is going, teaching me about collaboration and problem-solving.

The Texan presents itself as a learning opportunity, and that is 100 percent accurate. However, you don’t just learn about clarity, Oxford commas or which questions to ask. You learn about the power of a team that regularly works until 2 a.m. to create a daily newspaper — pages and pages of words, photos and illustrations all laid out in a gorgeous and
practical design.

Each aspect of the Texan is important, and it has been for a century. The Texan will change, but it will always continue to grow, granting hundreds of students the chance to grow along with it. I’ll really miss the basement, but I know that driven young writers, photographers and editors are walking down those stairs each semester, ready to give everything they have to this wonderful, passionate place.