Fare thee well, Texan

Zach Lyons

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. 

Unlike many of my incredibly talented graduating colleagues, I’m not leaving with years of Texan experience under my belt. As fawning as it may sound, my interest in journalism bubbled to the surface when I saw “Spotlight” last year — I was already an old man who gets the New York Times delivered to his door each morning, so I figured I’d give it a go.

I’ll just come right out and say it, working with the Texan made me realize a career in journalism isn’t for me.

But stay tuned. That is not a bad thing. Not at all.

So why’d I do it? Two things: the people and the people. It’s repetitive for a reason.

About two months ago, I did that campus-wide survey thing everyone got, and one question stuck out: “What has been the most valuable thing you’ve learned in your time at UT?”

It definitely took me a while, but I found my answer: being at UT has taught me empathy. Coming from a very homogeneous rural community, the beautiful diversity of backgrounds and ideas living in this community has changed me profoundly.

The Texan took that change and amplified it tenfold. Each and every week, I met people spanning age 18 to 80, people professing any number of faiths or lack thereof and people on every end of the political spectrum. I spoke with thought leaders who came together to honor a civil rights legend. With researchers on the front lines of the fight against Zika. With protesters who fearlessly fight for a different tomorrow.

So that’s people number one. People number two is, you guessed it, the Texan news staff. Looking straight at y’all, Wynne and company.

The passion and intesity you bring to the game are great, but it’s your principle I’ll leave here admiring the most. The dedication to the community we cover, the tact and the principled restraint you show in the face of a media age of ratings and compassionless scoops is truly inspiring.

The workload and my other career interests showed me that a life of journalism is not for me, but I leave here utterly grateful to have shared the newsroom with you all. I can’t wait to see your bylines on the Times, the Post, the big leagues.