My Reflection on My 1.5 Years at the Daily Wildcat newspaper

Last day at the Daily WildcatI was genuinely surprised to get an Arizona Daily Wildcat award for Excellence in Commentary yesterday. From putting out more controversial columns to briefly quarreling with the old editor-in-chief, I’ve come a long way at the newspaper, and I hope to continue publishing good work.

Former Wildcat editor-in-chief, Nick Seibel, with whom I once publicly butted heads, is a good friend now, and I thought he worked hard during his time in charge. He’s funny and personable and I know he’ll go far in his future leadership positions having learned a lot from his DW experiences.

Yesterday, Seibel told me that he has a male friend who passionately hates my articles and my character, even though the two of us have never met. The guy violently disagrees with my politics and everything I write, but according to Seibel, this hater of mine never misses my columns. Every Tuesday, he picks up a copy of the paper just to read my weekly article and then calls Seibel to rant about what a stupid idiot I am. He assumed Seibel’s abrupt removal from the Wildcat was my fault (because a mere columnist has SO MUCH PULL AND POWER that she can singlehandedly overthrow the EIC of the Wildcat), and he seems to complain about everything I put in the newspaper. Basically, I’m Hitler to someone I’ve never met or even known about until yesterday. Awesome.

As weird as it sounds, I’m honored that someone would take the time to hate my writing. He is, after all, a dedicated reader of my work, so as much as he can’t stand my opinion, he can’t bring himself to stay away from it, and I’m glad to be evoking any kind of emotion out of others.

Giggling with Jazmine and Luke in the newsroom!
Giggling with Jazmine and Luke in the newsroom!
The unstoppable trio <3
The unstoppable trio ❤

Luckily, I’ve received more writing support than criticism from students, Tucsonans, citizens, friends, strangers, etc. One person said my voice is unique and recognizable, and another said I have the purest writing of anyone he knows.

I sometimes get emails from a non-traditional UA student who thanks me for opening up certain taboo discourses on campus, and as an older student, he was grateful that I wrote about the rift between traditional and non-traditional students because other students started noticing and approaching him with their hands outstretched, quoting my column. I’m glad to have had somewhat of a positive effect on a small group of people.

Seriously, though, to anyone who despises my writing-I’m glad you at least took the time to read what I’ve been saying.

To the guy I referred to earlier in this post-You may want to seek anger management if you feel so much hatred toward a person you’ve never even spoken with. There’s no reason to despise a writer or spend all that time assuming I’m the devil. Tear apart the columns, not the columnist. Your time will be much better spent if you find something to like and stop shortening your life by hating me so wholeheartedly. It makes me sad for you, because while you’re living a life of hate, I’m having an amazing year writing columns, making new friends, and winning awards.

Really, though, I’m happy to know that I have at least one faithful reader, a hater he may be.

I’d like to improve as a writer in any way I can, so as always, your constructive criticism is welcome. After winning the award, I want to stay at the newspaper, so I will be applying for the fall opinions editor position, and next fall, I will also be busy with the Desert Lamp. Thankfully, I won’t be taking very many classes. Until then, let me know how I can do a better job of serving the UA community through writing.

Former editor-in-chief, Lauren LePage said something profound yesterday. She believes the newspaper should focus on serving the people, so it’s necessary to divorce oneself from the writing. I’d like to talk about myself less in my future columns and write what is relevant to everyone else, because there are bigger things than my experiences, and readers need to be satisfied and not be subjected to the writer’s ego.

Thank you, Arizona Daily Wildcat, for giving me so many writing opportunities. Thank you, Connor Mendenhall for first hiring me as an opinions writer last January and giving me detailed column edits. Thank you, Justyn Dillingham for helping me all year, putting up with my numerous emotional reactions, for letting me come back every time I threatened to leave, and for always believing in me.

Thank you Mark Woodhams for convincing me to stay at the newspaper and for being supportive of my columns. Thank you Nick Seibel for giving me an exceptional challenge and treating me with respect. Thank you Lauren LePage for your concise advice and ideas for the future of news writing. Thank you Alyson Hill for being the first columnist to encourage me to stop writing so many “safe” columns last spring. Look how things have changed since! Thank you Evan Lisull for inviting me to be a part of the Desert Lamp and Under the Sun. You were always so helpful while we were columnists, and I appreciated that you sought my help with the blogs.

Thank you everyone at the Desert Lamp for reading and supporting my writing, even if you don’t always agree with what I say. Thanks to all the fellow columnists I have ever worked with for giving me constructive feedback and unconditional support. Finally, thank you readers, love me or not, I owe everything to you, and I am hoping to better serve you in the future.

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7 thoughts on “My Reflection on My 1.5 Years at the Daily Wildcat newspaper

  1. It’s been a pleasure working with you, Laura. Your award was fully deserved. I’m happy to hear you’re applying for opinions editor — if you need any advice, ask away.

  2. Thanks for the shout out. I’m glad you decided to stick with the Daily Wildcat in the fall. That’s good news to hear.

    Heather, is there really any question about you becoming Copy Chief? Aren’t you the obvious choice?

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