News desk editor schedules last slack message, still forgets to respond

Sheryl Lawrence, News Reporter

People always ask me, “Why are you working for The Daily Texan if you’re an accounting major?” and the answer I always have is, “I don’t know.” The real answer is that when I scrolled through Twitter one day before the fall 2020 semester began, I saw many reporters from The Daily Texan reporting on how the COVID-19 pandemic would change my college career. After seeing the dedication and purpose within the organization, I applied to The Daily Texan and the news editor at the time, Emily Hernandez, gave me a chance. Why? I still don’t know, because I had zero experience. After that, Lauren Girgis took another chance on me by giving me a senior reporter position, and I hope I didn’t make her question that decision. To this day, I don’t know if they know how much they changed my college experience and my future career, but now they do, and I thank them for it.

During my time here, I dabbled in other departments, but the news department has and will always hold a special place in my heart. Thank you to my current editing team — Anna Canizales, Skye Seipp, Samantha Greyson, Tori Duff and Kevin Vu — for working with me over all these semesters. A special thank you to Skye because your support truly helped me during our time as senior reporters, and because you valued my opinion even when I’ve only been a news desk editor. For my other departments: thank you to Nuzha Zuberi for letting me write some social copy, to Fiza Kuzhiyil for helping me publish some stories in Life&Arts and to Trinity Smith for letting me write some weekly rewinds.

I also want to thank the managing editors I have worked with during my time in this organization, especially Trinady Joslin because I couldn’t have asked for a better managing editor for my time as a senior reporter. I’ll never forget the week of the winter storm, and I’m sure everyone else on our team won’t forget either.

Last but not least, I want to thank the reporters who allowed me to edit their stories. Specifically, thank you to the senior reporters from these past two semesters — Katy, Hope, Morgan, Joelle, Leila, Mackenzie, Kaushiki and Marisa — y’all will do great things whether you are at The Daily Texan or not.

While I had a lot of good experiences at The Daily Texan, I think everyone in this organization can agree with me that it is taxing. This organization and this industry are not for people who can’t hold themselves accountable, the same way we try to hold other people and institutions accountable. When entering this industry, treat your coworkers, reporters and editors, like you treat your sources. Listen to them with all your attention, ask questions when you don’t understand and refrain from putting words in their mouth. The culture of this newsroom has come a long way, but a lot of work still needs to be done. I thank this organization for what it has given me, but I hope everyone who is a part of it can recognize that this newsroom needs to change in many ways.