City/state reporter says goodbye to the Texan, but for real this time

Lisa Dreher

I moved to Austin for my sophomore year from the University of North Texas in Denton. The small town was my humble beginnings and I was sad to leave my old North Texas Daily staff.

Upon coming to UT, I was anxious to meet an entirely new staff at a new college in a new city. I remember going into the dingy Daily Texan office (basement) and watching Forrest Milburn, the news editor at the time, sweat and frantically print out the first tryout sheets for the news department. I was the first to put down my name down and met him and Ellie Breed, who was then the associate news editor and now the manager editor. After that, they pushed and guided me toward the journalist I am now.

As a nervous general reporter, Forrest urged me to write multiple city stories, and eventually I started writing longer, senior reporter-level articles that made the front page. I remember ranting about how long city council meetings ran, sprinting into the basement for edits or throwing out some cringey pitches that made Forrest frown. Yet he sat me down and urged me to apply for the city/state senior reporter position.

He pestered me until I applied, and the following semester, I wrote stories I never thought I would cover during my time here, from Texas’ sanctuary cities bill to the bathroom bill to Beto O’Rourke. Those stories helped me get an internship, and eventually a job, and I’m so grateful for Forrest for practically forcing me to apply despite
feeling “adequate.”

As a news desk editor in the spring and fall this year, I met so many eager and compassionate news reporters and got to get to know them and help them like how Forrest and Ellie helped me.

To Chase, I’m so proud of you covering city/state after me, and I’m glad I could help you take a breather when you faced tight deadlines or needed to rant to me about city bureaucracy.

Also, although I frequently got “not bads” and “adequates” (like a lot) in the mass email critique from our adviser, Peter, his feedback was honest and unmerciful. It made me grow as a reporter.

I kept telling management and other people I wouldn’t be coming back, but every semester I’d be pressured into returning, both out of scorn from Ellie or Forrest and because the people at The Daily Texan are my family. They made me feel at home and gave me countless opportunities to sharpen my reporting, learn from my mistakes and grow close with some of the most kind and talented people. I’m crying as I write this and I’m sad to like, actually leave this time, but I couldn’t have spent practically all of my time at UT with a better
news staff.