Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Audio editor leaves basement in search of social life

Lorianne Willett

My first introduction to the world of journalism was in high school when I joined the school paper on a whim to have a class with one of my friends. But then it all just clicked for me. The writing, the storytelling, the interviewing — I realized this was what I wanted to do. 

It took me a while to get there, and in my senior column, I talked about how much I wished I had joined earlier. At that moment, I promised myself I would join The Daily Texan as soon as I started at UT. 

Then a global pandemic upended those plans. I came to UT amid the pandemic, lived in a dorm with three strangers who would become my closest friends and began working on campus. My classes were all online, and I could not imagine adding yet another Zoom meeting to my schedule, so I broke my promise. 

The next year, as classes and students returned to campus, I applied to the Texan. Until that point, I had high hopes of being a beat reporter and eventually working at a legacy newspaper. But following a single, three-minute audio project in an introductory journalism course, I applied to the audio department instead. 

Funny enough, my time at the Texan began with a missed deadline. Between work and class the previous two days, I had not had a chance to check my email. Walking to my car that night, I scrolled through my phone and saw an email titled “Daily Texan Hiring Decision.” I opened the email, and dread filled my body as I read the reply deadline: 5 p.m. that day. 

As an anxious sophomore desperate to join the staff, I wrote an email begging for forgiveness. The editor, Addie Costello, granted it, and just like that, I was an audio staffer. 

Six semesters later, I am so grateful Addie gave me that chance. In my two years on staff, I’ve learned so much about myself and this industry. I’ve met some of the most amazing people and have loved most of my experiences.

Reflecting on my time at the Texan, I look back at that first senior column. I’ve grown a lot since then, but one sentiment from that reflection is still true for me: It’s the people that make a place worth staying. So … 

To my first-ever journalism teacher, Mr. Cabrera, thank you for your guidance during my senior year and for pushing me to pursue my dreams. I applied to this school and this program largely because of you. 

To my first worknight crew, Lis, Dacia and Manny, I cherish the memories of that first semester. I would not have made it here or stayed without the community we built. And even though we may not be audio staffers anymore, I am incredibly proud of the work each of us has done. 

To all the future editors of this department, I wish you the best and will be listening in the wings. I cannot wait to see what this department becomes. 

To my roommates, thank you for listening to my late-night audio rants that you knew nothing about, for always saving me a plate of food and making sure I ate it when I got home, and for putting up with my late-night calls to unlock the deadbolt because I was in the basement way longer than I said. I promise those calls should be over now. 

Thank you to Maria, Aislyn and Amaya for sticking with me and listening to my wild ideas. I’ve learned so much from you three and look forward to seeing the work you will complete. You have been the best senior staff I could ask for. 

Melody, Mae and Karina, and all the other producers I’ve worked with, thank you for your dedication the last few semesters. Watching each of you grow and develop your stories has been truly inspiring. I cannot wait to hear and read everything you’ll do in the future. 

Julius, meeting you was one of the best things about the audio desk’s isolation. You reminded me that as important as the Texan was in my life, my well-being was more important. My nights in the basement were made a little bit brighter because of you. 

Leni, thank you for being my friend and work-night leader. Your friendship and encouragement inspired me to apply for the editor position. I modeled much of my leadership around your example. 

And to all my editors, thank you for showing me what leadership is and for giving me the grace needed to grow. 

And perhaps the most important: Mom, Dad and Manny, thank you for being a constant support system throughout this journey. Thank you for listening to every story I’ve ever produced and for giving me advice on the situations I didn’t know this job would bring. And thank you for always answering the phone at 11 p.m. when the stairwell light wasn’t working and I was a little scared to walk home alone. I wouldn’t have made it this far without y’all in my corner. I love you. 

And although the Texan has brought me so many friends, so much joy and has shaped so much of my college experience, it’s time to say goodbye. I’ll cherish my Texan time always, but it’s time for me to leave the basement and have a bit of a social life. 

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About the Contributors
Molly-Jo Tilton, Audio Editor
Molly Jo (MJ) is a journalism junior and the current Audio Editor. She has previously worked as a Senior Audio Producer focused on longform podcast editing and a General Audio Producer. MJ is from Converse, TX and spends her free time trying new recipes, watching Criminal Minds or reading whatever book she forgot about.
Lorianne Willett, Photo Editor
Lorianne is a Journalism and Global Sustainability junior from San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she is the Photo Editor. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing tennis.