Associate news editor says goodbye to friends, memories at the Texan

Natalie Sullivan

Editor’s note: A 30 column is a chance for departing permanent staff to say farewell and reflect on their time spent in The Daily Texan’s basement office. The term comes from the old typesetting mark (-30-) to denote the end of a line. 

I got the call around 11 p.m..

“Hey, I think I saw smoke coming from an apartment building as I was walking home,” our news editor told me. “Could you go check it out?” 

It was my first week on the job as a crime reporter for the Texan, and I had never covered a fire before, let alone anything remotely serious. I had no idea what I was doing. With an hour left until scriptset, I fumbled to grab my cell phone and notepad and hurried across campus. But I somehow managed to write the story before deadline, and when it appeared in the paper the next day, I was hooked. 

In some ways, the call I received pretty much encapsulates my time at the Texan: It was trial by fire. I was usually asked to do things that I had never done before, was probably not qualified for and had only the vaguest idea of what I was doing the whole time. But by some combination of dumb luck and persistence, things usually worked
themselves out. 

But as I came to learn, that’s part of what makes the Texan so great. The people around you have enough confidence in you to give you the chance to make mistakes, and they gave me the freedom to learn and grow.

My time at the Texan often involved a lot of late nights, botched headlines and articles that didn’t come in. But it was also filled with lots of adrenaline rushes to beat deadline, laughing at pitch meetings and watching the copy department dance to “High School Musical” videos one too many times.

And although the Texan taught me how to interview sources, write headlines and edit stories, it also gave me a place on campus and introduced me to some of the best people I’ve gotten to know in college. 

Thanks to previous news editors Jordan, Jacob and Julia, I learned to never stop trying to make each story better than the last. My fellow SRs, Jackie, Elly and Alex: thanks for all the encouragement. And of course, to all the current news staff: Caleb, Mikaela, Forrest, Rachel and Cassandra — thanks for putting up with me through multiple rounds of edits. Estefania, Ellie, Rund and Catherine: thanks for keeping me sane and making me laugh through uncountable late nights in the basement. And of course, to Wynne: I couldn’t have done it without you. 

I’ll miss spending time in the Texan basement. But I know it will continue to give others like me the chance to learn, make friends and grow.