Special ventures editor remembers regents, friendships

Madlin Mekelburg

Of all the pieces I’ve written for The Daily Texan, this is by far the hardest.

When you cover a particular beat, you tend to write stories on the same issues over and over again. You find yourself falling into patterns, writing practically the same explicative sentences in each story until your fingers can move across the keyboard uninterrupted, repeating the same keystrokes they have for the past two years. 

When I covered shared services, I was writing about “a plan to centralize the University’s human resources, finance, information technology and procurement services.” When I wrote an update on the state’s examination of UT System Regent Wallace Hall, I constantly reminded readers that he was “under investigation for potentially overstepping his bounds as a regent.” 

This time, I have nothing to fall back on, and I can’t seem to find the right words to say goodbye to the place that has been my identity since I started at UT. 

My time at the Texan wasn’t all centralization initiatives or embattled regents, although those two storylines defined the semesters I spent as a senior reporter. It was so much more than that. 

The Texan gave me the space and confidence I needed to grow as a reporter and discover my passion for great storytelling. It gave me a home away from home my freshman year when I didn’t know a single person on campus. It gave me the chance to work alongside the most talented, driven journalism students at UT and forge friendships that will last long into the future. It even gave me the push I needed to find growing opportunities elsewhere, as the exceptional Michael Brick helped me land my first internship outside of the Texan. 

It’s hard to quantify the significance of The Daily Texan in your life when you’re on the frontlines. Sometimes you forget that you’re making lasting memories when you’re working on deadline, chasing a lead or trying to track down a particularly evasive source. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when you’re coordinating the production of a special ventures package with three different elements or trying to edit a 60-inch story down to 35 inches. 

But one day you look up and realize that you have made a life here. Thank you to everyone who made that possible.