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Letter from the editors

In lieu of a note from the editors this week, we chose to have the eight graduating members of the Messenger staff reflect on their time here by answering the question: What does the Manitou Messenger mean to you? Here are their parting thoughts:

Conlan Campbell ’18, Managing Editor. He is graduating this spring with an English major:

When I joined the Mess, it was really just a place for me to write. Write out my opinions on the world, write about current events, really just write anything. But the longer I spent here the more I felt a genuine connection to what the newspaper does and the identity it has. I was writing less but felt like I was saying more, telling other people’s stories instead of my own, or even just helping to tell those stories. I can’t say exactly what the Mess has taught me, but while I’ve been here I have felt like I was always learning.

Dylan Walker ’18, Multimedia Director. He is graduating this spring with a classics major: 

I’m not going to lie, I have no idea how to sum up what the Mess means to me in about 100 words. But perhaps it’s best to start at the beginning. I entered the first Mess meeting completely unwilling to be there. I had done journalism in elementary and middle school and wanted to reinvent myself in college. (As someone who, uh, didn’t follow my passions? I don’t know either.) But in the end I took an article covering the fifth-year emerging artists program, and as I wrote the piece I remembered why I loved journalism. I got to hear more about people’s passions, inform the St. Olaf community and, as I started taking more serious articles, speak truth to power. What’s not to love? 

I ended up writing almost every week, becoming a stronger writer, piloting the Mess Multimedia division and grow closer to the other Messies on staff. These are things I am so unbelievably grateful for. But in the end, as I struggle to condense my feelings into a paragraph, the Messenger means more to me than my portfolio (although I am pretty proud of that). It’s about recognizing my own talent and finding a community of people who also love to write and tell stories, and as we get ready to graduate it’s one of the things I will miss the most about St. Olaf.

Becca Carcaterra ’18, Executive Editor Emeritus. She is graduating this spring with an English major:

Ah, the Mess. That stressful, wonderful, constant presence in my college life. I will miss it so. Every year, the Mess staff starts as a group of people with nothing in common but a fondness for writing, and every year we end up as friends, learning more about each other in between late production nights and squirrelled-away bag lunches. We’ve offered both serious news coverage and opinions and fun and fluffy pieces. That’s not say we have ever done this perfectly: we’ve struggled, messed up very badly and learned from our mistakes. The Mess has waxed and waned throughout the years, but it has always been a platform for students to openly talk about what matters to them. The college produces their own narratives, and those are important for fundraising and growing the student body. But it is also vitally important that there are some narratives present on campus that don’t have this agenda, and that they are able to be expressed on a legitimized platform with proper resources and support.  I’m grateful for what we have now, and as the future of journalism becomes more and more murky, I hope all of us fight for it in every context.

Cassidy Neuner ’18, News Editor. She is graduating this spring with a political science and economics double major:

The Mess gave me some really unique opportunities I never thought I’d have – I’ve done some pretty intense investigative reporting, discussed those investigations with Sacha Pfeiffer (of Spotlight fame!) and earned the ire of several members of administration. Those experiences definitely brought me closer to the people I’ve worked with for over three years, and I hope Messies for years to come experience the highs and lows of trying to report on/at St. Olaf College.

Chaz Mayo ’18, Arts and Entertainment Editor. He is graduating this spring with theater and medival studies major:

It feels weird to be done with my time at the Mess. I’ve been on staff since freshman year and I’ve been doing it longer than just about anything else at St. Olaf [insert obligatory joke about being the ‘senior staff member’]. The Mess office has been my most constant home on the Hill. I’ve seen it change so much over the year as different wonderful people have stepped into the various positions that go into publishing this paper. I’ll miss pitching stories, making layouts in InDesign, and – most of all – hanging out with the rest of the staff.

Leigh Anne Hahn ’18, Photo Director. She is graduating this spring with a biology major:

Over the past several years as a photographer, the Mess has come to mean a variety of things to me. At first it was just an opportunity to utilize my camera and improve my photography skills on a regular basis. It then became a way to get out of my comfort zone and attend events I wouldn’t normally. Now it’s a chance to connect with other creative people and preserve St. Olaf’s history through photographing it.

Emma Whitford ’18, Executive Editor. She is graduating this spring with a political science major:

This paper has been everything for me – an opportunity, a purpose, a crutch, a shoulder to cry on, a career, a home. It feels impossible to explain my time here and how tremendously it has impacted my life. Instead I will say that I hope the Mess will keep striving to be a news source that holds power accountable, that tells everyone’s stories and that informs the St. Olaf community. I hope that the Mess will remain a robust training ground for aspiring reporters and editors and that no student will feel obligated to leave St. Olaf in search of a better journalism program. I also hope that for some students, like me, the Mess will be more than that.

Ben Seidel ’18, Sports Editor. He is graduating this spring with an English major:

As someone who’s entertained the idea of a career in sports writing since he was in middle school, the Mess has consistently provided me a fantastic platform to explore this interest and build my resume. More importantly, however, is how it’s provided me a home with great people to interact with on a weekly basis. I’m pretty quiet and reserved at first, but being welcomed into the staff with open arms regardless of that introversion allowed me to grow in ways I only could have imagined before. Also, the Cubs won the World Series and I got to write about it here, so of course the Mess is always going to hold a special place for me. 

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