Today marks the final Iowa State Daily that I will help produce. Like many seniors, I’m counting down the days until graduation and taking my last finals with an eagerness, knowing I’ll never have to fill out a scantron again; and nostalgia, knowing that I’d like to stay in the moment just a little bit longer.
But I’m also wrapping up my tenure as editor in chief and cleaning out my desk. I’m not just saying goodbye to a newspaper, but friends that have shaped my Iowa State experience. I’m saying goodbye to a community that has helped me become a better journalist and editor.
I’m trading in Iowa State for something both new and unknown. And as I’m looking forward, I’ve been doing a lot of looking back. We put out a newspaper, newsletter and online content every day in service of our community. This past year, here’s how I believe we’ve best served you.
Within the first two weeks of classes, we were already covering the trademark rift between student leaders and administration heavily. Students felt they were being abandoned by the university. Administrators felt they needed to protect the Iowa State name and its brand. At its center was a lack of communication, both sides bypassing empathy and choosing conflict over compromise.
In September, we extensively covered the death of Celia Barquín Arozamena — an Iowa State golfer, international student and beloved civil engineer. Our staff went to police briefs, athletic press conferences and livestreamed her vigil.
We covered the criminal history of the main suspect in the case and wrote about homelessness in Ames. We talked about safety on campus and tried our best to not just help the community process such a horrible incident, but also understand what life looks like moving forward.
In October, we wrote about Iowa State lagging the ability to put pronouns on business cards. It was later announced in April that the university would be adapting its materials to allow for this necessary and inclusive change.
In November, we stayed up until 3 a.m. to provide you with extensive coverage and analysis of the election results — including the win by then acting-Gov. Reynolds, who that night became the first woman to ever be elected to serve in that role in Iowa.
In December, we didn’t take a break. Rather, we traveled to the Valero Alamo Bowl with many of you to cover what would eventually become Iowa State’s harrowing loss against Washington State. We didn’t have a print product, but we delivered updates through our website, social media and the Daily Dose.
In January, during the coldest days of the year, we were in the newsroom putting out a print product. Despite classes being canceled, we were still delivering up-to-date coverage of not just the weather but Iowa State and the Ames community.
In February, we introduced you to the Student Government candidates for president and vice president. With three slates running, we wanted to ensure that each candidate and their campaign was covered fairly and accurately. This included hosting the debates in partnership with the election commission.
In March, we broke the story that a white nationalist would be secretly coming to campus. Despite no one taking ownership over his invitation, we were able to offer reporting directly linking Nick Fuentes to organizations on campus.
In April, we released the “I am more than” initiative in partnership with the Student Government diversity and inclusion committee to highlight student leadership on campus. Identifying 15 students, we provided them the opportunity to share with the community what they are “more than.”
In May, we say goodbye and transition into our next set of summer leadership. While we’re taking a temporary step away from the print product, we’ll still be in your inbox and online. In the fall, we’ll resume with our daily print product.
These are not the only examples of exemplary journalism, but just a few that stick out. We also launched Daily Dialogue, a live-storytelling journalism, and #AskMeAmes, an engagement tool to help us identify what stories you’d like to be told about the community.
But we couldn’t have done any of it without the support of our community. Thank you for letting us be in service of you.