By Nick Beaulieu, Editor-In-Chief
Newspapers are a crazy thing in concept.
Comprised of a group of people who collect stories, quotes and statistics and package them up to serve an audience as their primary informative piece. I’ve had a chance to work at both a daily metro paper and a student paper and both experiences have been memorable and educational. But there’s something about being at The Gateway the last two years that will always stick with me.
I started submitting work for The Gateway my freshman year and my first story was about Mitch Albers’ departure, the No. 2 all time leading scorer in UNO basketball history. The Sports Editor at the time, Nate Tenopir, said it was the best work he had ever received from a contributor. That compliment meant everything for my confidence and gave me the courage to advance.
Next year I became Sports editor, which came with long nights in the press box and even longer nights in the office, both times I’ll never forget. Getting to know the athletic administration and different athletes was always one of the best perks of the jobs.
My coverage of hockey last year made this year’s run even sweeter for me. Talks in Derrin Hansen’s office, catching Dean Blais for a minute as he slid near the boards at practice, those little things that student sports reporters cherish. And telling incredible stories, from Sami Spenner’s unfair sanction by the NCAA that made national news to the tragic family loss of a soccer player. It was a privilege to be one of the few to tell the tales of Mavericks athletics.
Then the big jump came. The last two years, in addition to serving as Sports editor, I contributed to Nebraska High School Hoops and started part time at the Omaha World-Herald.
That experience mixed with a big turnover from last year to this year, I was one of the few returning pieces who could do the job but confidently and excitedly followed dear friend and brother Sean Robinson as the editor-in-chief.
Going along with the theme, this year has been unforgettable in every aspect. I could touch on the things I’ve written, reported and covered on I was proud of, but I would rather reflect on what my staff was able to accomplish. It was recruiting every member of The Gateway and seeing them grow that has proven to be the most fulfilling part and one of the things that has made it all worth it.
Jackson Taylor started as News Editor as a freshman and week-to-week, operated like a well oiled machine. Organized, on time and always ready he will be a valuable piece for the Gateway long-term.
Richard Larson brought humor to the Opinion section and made me laugh every time I was around him.
Zane Fletcher, who I got a chance to not only work with but live with, was innovative and sharp.
Avery Wenck grew into a tremendous sports reporter, with a commanding presence which got him on the World-Herald’s The Bottom Line.
Evan Ludes blew me away week after week with his photos and gave me a chance to ride along on one of his storm chases, an experience I will never forget.
Rhe’Ann McBride did the most behind-the-scenes work and brought a skill in design and layout not found by a student anywhere in this city.
Nithya Rajagopalan rose from a qui-et copy editor who kept our AP style use in check to become our future editor-in-chief and UNO won’t be disappointed.
Kelly Langin joined us in the second semester and gave us a second wind, gelling with the staff as if she had been a day-one hire.
Phil Brown also joined late and grew to become a utility writer, bailing out every section editor on occasion and providing well-written and creative pieces for UNO students to enjoy.
My old roommate Cole Dougherty brought my crazy design concepts to life graphically on more than one occasion.
Chelsea Collins managed to keep our website fresh with our content and Susan Payne managed ads, a tough job, with patience and humility.
Without all of our different contributors and freelancers, our jobs would not have been as easy.
Lastly, being under Josie Loza, our new publications manager who seamlessly went from being “Omaha’s Mom” to The Gateway’s, I have no doubts the paper is in the best hands possible.
For three years of college, I’ve taken on a rigorous slate of reporting and journalism duties. For my senior year, I’m doing something different. This summer, I am traveling to South Carolina and taking a job as a screen-writer’s assistant. The reason I got into journalism starting as early as my high school newspaper was that I knew I could write and figured that was the most practical medium to pursue.
Now, after three years immersed in various news scenes, I learned that I am not necessarily a journalist, a reporter, or an editor, even though I can do those things and do them well. I learned that I am a storyteller.
It’s been a hard and conflicting decision. Handling my already rigorous workload of school and work with an enhanced side interest in screen-writing has taken a definite toll on me this year. And turning down job offers in areas you’ve worked all of college for is a bizarre experience (I recommend avoiding it). But this is something I had to.
A mentor told me that when you’re shooting for your dreams, you sometimes have to take a leap of faith. A cliché you hear uttered in movies and TV, but it’s true.
One thing that continues to keep my confidence in tact as I take on new challenges is that I have worked hard these last few years to create a safety net—something that no matter my pursuits and the outcome I will be prepared for some sort of career. It’s the main piece of advice I would give to my fellow college peers, to work hard early.
With one year left at UNO I look at it with optimism and ironically find myself in a similar situation to when I entered college. I’m moving back home in fall, where I lived as a freshman, to save money. I’m also starting the academic year anew with fresh pursuits and motivations.
As I approach 1,000 words here (and if you’ve read my stories, you’re not surprised), I’d still like to say I’ll still have a presence around The Gateway, possibly with a weekly column. I also plan to still write for USCHO. com and follow the hockey team going forward. But with my senior year, I will be mostly experimenting with creative writing and film, with the ultimate goal of making a documentary.
Working at The Gateway has set me up for success no matter what field I end up in. Our paper is appropriately just like UNO. Small in comparison to our neighbors, but filled with had-workers and humble grinders who continue to get better year after year.
As editor-in-chief, I’m signing out. As a former staffer, proud student and future alumni, I’ll always look forward to this week’s Gateway.