March 12, 2004

Departing EIC reflects on time at the Maroon

I was told I should write a farewell column in keeping with some sort of outgoing editor-in-chief tradition. Naturally, as a news reporter, I did some research last night in our archived issues to see exactly how other Maroon staffs in the past announced the retirement of an editor.

I found that a column from the outgoing editor is actually a very recent tradition (and one that hasn't been very faithfully kept). In years past it was pretty common for the newspaper to announce the transition in a news article, sometimes even on the front page. The best headline by far was one that my friend had referred me to—"Matza Dynasty Topples" in the May 16, 1967 issue heralding the election of the first non-Jewish editor in chief in seven years.

On the other hand, the 1984 transfer of power wasn't ever mentioned—you wouldn't know a new editor had taken over unless you'd paid close attention to the names in the masthead.

And if you look really closely at the names in Maroon mastheads past, you might recognize some of them as important print and broadcast journalists today. Yep, they all got their starts pulling late-night shifts at the Maroon office. Now I'm not guaranteeing a job at The New York Times if you work here, but it's a great place to have some fun while learning a thing or two about the business as well.

Having access to the archives is one of the perks of working at the Maroon that I didn't really appreciate until late in my time here. It's incredibly interesting to peruse the old issues and see the ways the newspaper and the school have changed over the years. But in its 112-year history, the Maroon's essentially fulfilled—or at least tried to fulfill—the same important role of providing news about the University and the community from a student's point of view. I like to think that we've done a pretty good job this year, and with Garth taking over in the spring, I'm sure the paper will only improve. So keep picking up copies of the Maroon—there are lots of good things to come, and it gives us all great satisfaction when we see you reading the paper.

Eventually, copies of the newspapers I edited this year will be bound into a large maroon-colored book and shelved next to the others that collect dust in the office conference room (the smoke-filled room where most if not all decisions about the newspaper are made). The yellowing pages tell the story not only of this newspaper but also of this institution. Thanks for letting me narrate a short chapter of that story.