Local engineer-turned-journalist who loves movies meets hero(es)

Justin Jones

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

I’m pretty sure a -30- means that I can write whatever I want, give a few shoutouts and do what’s essentially an Oscars acceptance speech until I’m unceremoniously cut off — without music to play me off.

I started college as an aerospace engineering major. It was rough. It took me two years to jump ship, but I slid over to journalism in the fall of 2016, and I hadn’t really written anything since I graduated high school two years before that.

Through good timing and dumb luck, I quickly became the section’s film critic. At this point, most people would shout out the people who gave them a chance, but I can pretty much guarantee that Elizabeth, Cat and Katie aren’t going to read this. 

My first semester, I didn’t know what I was doing. I talked to Bruce Campbell on the phone and he called me buddy, and I met world-renowned beautiful human Trevante Rhodes, who was in “Moonlight” — the best movie of 2016. I got to write about Captain America, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Beyonce in one article, which is honestly peak-Justin.  

Last spring, my headitor, Mae, asked me to be a senior writer. I said no. She said I would get paid. I said yes.

I kept reviewing movies and also did Tat-Tuesday with Carlos (s/o Carloooooos for taking my awesome photo here — but more on that later.) That spring was what really made me realize that journalism was the right choice. We got to just talk to people and share their brief stories, and it was … fun? 

I bumped up to editor last fall. I had no idea how to edit. Morgan and Daisy, both of whom are two years younger than me, taught me how. Over those four months, I made less money, had less time and less food than ever. It was my favorite semester of college. From listening to “Cut to the Feeling” (the song of 2017) multiple times a day to dragging Chris and Charles (who still don’t know how to write), it was the first time in my life I looked forward to work.

That semester was punctuated by a Skype interview with Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep and Steven Spielberg. Steven Spielberg literally told me he liked the Dallas Cowboys poster on my — oh no I’m out of words, bye.