Projects reporter says goodbye to Texan, keeps its lessons

London Gibson

When I was a freshman, The Daily Texan was scary. I was told by every journalism professor at UT that if I really wanted to be a reporter, I needed to join the Texan — but I didn’t. Call it rebellion or call it cowardice, but I thought I could learn what I needed to learn without taking those spooky steps down into the basement.

I should’ve known better. I wrote for three separate publications before I found myself in the news department, but I learned more during those first few weeks in news than I did in two years at all of those publications combined.

I’ve held five different positions at the Texan, but my favorite by far was working as a senior reporter in the fall semester of 2017. Writing four to five stories a week (sometimes seven) was hell, but I loved it.

My editors, Ellie, Catherine and Forrest, taught me when to beef up an article, when to cut way back and when to rewrite completely. Chase, my partner in crime and news editor during the infamous fall semester of 2018, taught me how to be strong, get up and keep working even when entirely overwhelmed. And thanks to Kirsten, I know exactly where to put my commas.

Peter fulfilled the role of “adviser” better than I can imagine anyone else fulfilling it. He was almost as scary as the Texan itself at first, but his guidance has given me more confidence as a reporter moving into the “real world” of journalism.

And I continue to be amazed by my fellow reporters. Maria, Kayla, Morgan and Lisa, the other members of our girl-power projects department, are both inspirational and intimidating in their success.

The Texan wasn’t a supplement to my journalism education — these people were my journalism education.

There’s something strange about sharing a dimly lit, underground room with a bunch of college students, but there’s also something a little wonderful about it. Everybody here loves to complain — complain about the work, the hours, the difficult sources. But we all know what we’re really saying. We love it.  If I could go back, I would have joined the Texan sooner, but I am grateful for the time I had. I think I spent it well.