The following is an opinion/editorial piece.
Being an editor-in-chief is not a job for people pleasing. You do not obtain the position so you can hold hands and become friends with everyone on campus. You are an editor-in-chief because you are there to shed light on the truth, hold people accountable, be an outlet dedicated to informing the Florida Tech community and so much more.
This past semester has been an unprecedented time. I have reported on everything ranging from sexual assault on campus to the COVID-19 pandemic and more. As you read this, I submitted my last final ever at Florida Tech just two days ago. In the absence of classes, I have had time to reflect on the madness and whirlwind constance of news that surrounded me this past semester. This is what I learned:
I have learned what it’s like to be told you’re wrong, over and over again. Voices are powerful, so I have taken in stride criticism and people’s opinions, but over the past four months I had to learn to back myself and trust the facts. When you speak the truth you need to stand by it. People have a right to opinions, but people also don’t always want to accept that truth carries power.
Asking the questions that no else will — this is something I have valued since first getting involved with The Crimson, and have really put into practice this past semester. There’s a balance between being compassionate and knowing when it’s time to ask what no one else has. I expect very few people to understand what it is like to conduct interview after interview with rape survivors. First of all, I applaud those women and their bravery for coming forward, but I also acknowledge that sometimes I myself crumbled. I felt as though I had to count myself lucky to not have to go through something like they did, but also enraged that women have sometimes been told to worry about “what they were wearing when they went out,” or “if they were drinking too much that night.” Consent is powerful, so don’t undermine it. It’s reassuring to know that there has been so much change and support made for those that have been sexually assaulted, but there’s still a lot more work to do. The point here is that I feel for those women. I had to walk a fine line to be supportive of them, but also make sure I got the facts right.
There are times when you want to pick and choose a side, but as a reporter it’s your job to remain in the middle — objective, unbiased, willing to put beliefs and emotions aside to portray a factual and fair story. This is hard, harder than some may think at times, but it also is what I believe can define a good reporter. I strive to live up to those qualities to this day and continue to do so, and I stand by the fact that I have so far.
Since becoming editor-in-chief, I’ve sat in rooms for important meetings filled with typically all men, many of them seeming to be above the age of 50, and nearly all white. At first, it is intimidating, then the shock hits. To live in an educational environment for the past years where I have been taught that companies and organizations need culture and diversity and it is a changing age, but then to witness the complete opposite of that in reality; it’s disheartening. I’ve learned that some things result to old regimes, even when I thought they didn’t. We are a STEM university and it is still so male dominated, why is that? I hope this changes.
I also have learned that I cannot do everything on my own. Shocker right? My skills solely cannot capture all the breaking news or follow up on every single lead while also being a full-time student. My backbone has been my extremely amazing and supportive staff. We are small but mighty as I like to say, and I wouldn’t be able to accomplish what I have so far without them.
I leave Florida Tech incredibly proud of the education I have received. Yet, also a bit disappointed and ashamed by some of the things I heard, some of the things I have been told and some of the things I have witnessed. I’ve come to acknowledge that there are views and opinions on this campus that I thought only a prehistoric world held, yet they still seem to persist in my generation —the supposed generation of acceptance and inclusiveness.
When I viciously slap the buttons on my keyboard as I type, I’m not doing it because stories with my name on them are going to get me a good job or because of a popularity contest; I write and report because I care. I care about the industry and the civic duty that journalists have, I care about free speech and the right for people to know what is going on in the environment around them. I poured my heart and soul into The Crimson, and I leave proud of the work I did and honored to be a part of such an amazing newsroom. With my send off I have one wish— that the paper continues to report on the school, not for it. May its legacy live on.