Forum editor remains grateful for challenge, discussion

Walker Fountain

Participating in the Texan was not something that I was intending to do when I set foot on this campus. I’m the son of writers — and had decided that journalism was not my passion, despite a brief foray as opinion editor of my high school newspaper, The Pel-Mel. But I got lucky — I was persuaded to join the Texan as forum editor, and I’m entirely grateful for the opportunity.

Life as a Texan staffer was often stressful, and by no means easy. And I had it easier than many. Over the last year, I’ve had the privilege of soliciting guest columns from across the University, and holding in-person and podcast discussions of issues that matter to our campus.

One of the most crucial things I’ve learned, something that I will strive to do throughout my professional life, is to never accept narratives just because they are forcefully delivered. The Texan helped me understand that. The Texan may be a college media outlet, but in a city like Austin, we have a voice well outside of our campus community — and we must be insistent on challenging conventional narratives, be they pushed by individuals or government. I’m proud to have contributed in my own small way to that goal. And I hope that tradition continues for decades to come.

I have to close by thanking a few people for making my time at the Texan so crucial to my own development. First, Kailey and Sarah, thank you all for making me laugh during tense moments, including our ill-advised (and sparsely attended) Forum Talks in the Union Theater. To Davis — thank you for your patience while editing my earliest attempts at opinion writing, something my high school journalism days had clearly not prepared me well for.

Finally, to Claire — I owe you immeasurably for convincing me to be a part of this organization. Your success as editor-in-chief is a testament to your poise, ability to work under pressure and aptitude for leadership. I know you’ll find success in whatever path you take after graduation.

So, to all my friends and colleagues at the Texan, and to everyone who has read one of my pieces or pieces by our forum contributors, thank you for this opportunity. I hope you all continue to gain perspective, knowledge and experience from this wonderful institution as I have been privileged to.

Fountain is a government senior from Pelham Manor, New York. Follow Fountain on Twitter @wf_atx.