Section: Opinion

Tommy Johnson: The former Collegian Executive staff bids farewell

Tommy Johnson ’20: Executive director

I have worked at the Collegian since my first week of college. I have been a part of what I feel has been some powerful and important reporting, and I have also played a role in the Collegian’s mistakes. I am proud of the moments where the Collegian has held truth to power and I deeply regret the moments where personal lapses in judgments or a failure to follow up on a source did the exact opposite.

For this past year, I have been executive director, which means I’ve managed the advertising, invoices, broken printers, the toner cartridge market and the long-term financial status of the paper. In this role, I have come to deeply appreciate all the different constants that have to be in place for writers to write: like working computers and paid software subscriptions. I am thankful that our printers print the Collegian without fail, no matter what predawn hour on Thursday it is when we finally finish up. I appreciate the writers, editors and photographers who also act as delivery people, lugging stacks of papers across campus each Thursday. I appreciate our news editor, Ronan Elliott ’20, who — in addition to co-editing a section — has spent the past three years mailing print editions to our subscribers. I appreciate Jordy Fee-Platt ’22, Joe Wint ’22 and everyone else who has begrudgingly accepted the charge to drive to Mount Vernon in the snow to pick up several hundred issues of the paper. I don’t take any of these things lightly. None are given–and most go unnoticed and unrecognized.

Lastly, what I have learned over the past four years is that I’ll always have more to learn. To learn, and to report, is to listen. The ideal journalist, therefore, is an excellent listener. Whether it be interviewing members of the campus community or going over the copy staff’s edits on a piece I’ve written, the Collegian has taught me that I can always become a better listener. I leave the Collegian hoping to continue to listen better for the rest of my life.

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