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The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

Leaving The Antelope: challenges, triumphs of the last 4 years

Newspaper collage by Mackenzie Krumland

I came to college with no expectations, no major and no idea who I was. As scary as it was, I was ready for the change.

I stumbled upon the Department of Communication by chance through one of my close friends. After expressing interest, I was given an impromptu tour from the department chair and was offered a position on the newspaper staff.

I started at The Antelope as a designer with very little journalism experience. I used my basic skills from high school yearbook to design pages.

I was surprised when our adviser asked me to be the paper’s design editor for the next year. As a freshman, I blindly accepted the position not knowing how that decision would define my college experience. 

My sophomore year, the paper was left to a group of students with little experience. Our adviser put blind faith in us to pull together a weekly paper. After a few weeks of publishing papers without an editor-in-chief, it was clear that the paper needed a single leader. Our adviser offered me the position, and I accepted it.

I knew I was not prepared for what I was getting myself into. I had to lean a lot on others in the beginning, though I soon found myself picking up the slack when I wasn’t getting support.

I was frustrated with questions without answers, and it felt like I was in a constant battle with my adviser. My design – which was my favorite part of the job – needed help, the stories were lacking and there were fundamental issues within the staff.

It felt like the paper rested on my shoulders. The feeling was very draining. When I say I breathed, slept and ate the paper, I’m being serious. I took so much personal responsibility for the newspaper that I wasn’t happy, but I just kept going because I cared so much. 

Despite the challenge, I continued to put everything I had into keeping the newspaper going. I was committed to making the paper something that people wanted to pick up and read. 

Things started improving last year when we hired some younger staff members who had true drive and passion for news. I found new ways to change things and improve the paper in any way I could. Regardless of all my big ideas, I had to focus on ensuring there was quality content produced every week.

Slowly but surely, things got better. Some driven staff members moved into bigger roles  where they could grow. This part of the journey came with its new set of difficulties. We were getting more drained by the week and put too many expectations on ourselves.

Then, COVID-19 happened. In addition to existing problems, we had to learn how to report in a pandemic. Although it was a very difficult time, I learned a lot about journalism through the unique experience.

As COVID-19 slowed down, it was clear there were a few key staff members that had potential to take my position. I loved leading the team, but that was never my passion. It was time to focus on what originally drew me in: design. 

With a new editor-in-chief, we continued improving the paper and hired more hard working people. I’m leaving the paper now better than I could’ve ever imagined. Having a staff that cares and wants to be here is so rewarding.

Part of me is somewhat bitter that I only had a short time with the motivated staff we have now, but I’m happy to see the difference I was able to make, the changes I made in people’s lives and the impact it had on the department and on the university – regardless of how small. 

The biggest reward is to now be surrounded by so many people like me. People with passion who want this program to succeed. People that care and want to make an impact. I’m so thankful to leave this newspaper so much better than when I found it, and that is the most rewarding feeling leaving.

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