Digital director has trouble writing more than 280 characters

Hal Riley

Well, I’m not sure where to start. Frankly, I wish I could make this a Twitter thread or Instagram story, but writing is cool too. After eight semesters at the Texan, I’m finally getting a byline. Here goes.

I started at the Texan when I applied for a general staff position in the social media department in 2018. That feels like ages ago. After working my way up through the ranks to senior staff, associate editor, editor and now a part of management as director of digital strategy, I have grown to appreciate so much about this paper.

The work my peers put in on a daily basis, especially over the past year, never failed to impress me. I remember getting a call from Megan in the middle of the night when the first person in Austin tested positive for COVID-19. Reporters at the Texan were providing information about community resources during February’s winter storm, when their own apartments often didn’t have water or power. There has been, quite literally, an endless news cycle for the past year. Through a pandemic and an endless number of controversies surrounding the University, the student journalists at the Texan never wavered in informing the UT campus and the city of Austin. My appreciation for these people will never subside.

I wanted to mention a few specific people from my time at the Texan, although there are many more that I don’t have the space to shout out. Rebeccah, you taught me what it looks like to be a leader and I so much enjoyed working under you, especially your ping-pong table meetings in the basement. Michael, you’re one of my best friends, and I’ll always appreciate your creative mind and unique ideas. Megan, I’ve always looked up to you and admired your grit, tenacity and drive to make the world of journalism better. Last, but certainly not least, I couldn’t have asked for a better management team in my last semester. Trinady, Ariana, Emily and Areeba, I’ll be forever grateful to you all for welcoming my digital mind and embracing with my bartending-during-maestro schedule.

The Daily Texan has been a significant part of my life and identity for the past three years, and I’m sad to be leaving. However, life is made up of waxes and wanes, and ins and outs. College is all about moving your investments from your past to your future. So, for myself and all of my now-fellow Texan alumni, here’s to the future.