Letters from the Editor: One small step

During my first semester working at The Sun Star, a cartoon surfaced in the newsroom. It was deposited in the Editor-in-Chief’s inbox and made light of The Sun Star’s financial situation, with less budgeting allowance allocated to the paper than to other governance groups. However, despite asking around the office, nobody could claim they put the cartoon in the mail basket.

No one asked me if I knew anything about the picture, but at the time I was a bit preoccupied at my work station. I joined the conversation later, while the staff were discussing the precarious budget situation university-wide. If anyone asked me about it now, I’d say that it was strange how a cartoon that cropped up three years ago left such an impact on me in the present day.

It seemed like a prediction of the semesters that followed; The Sun Star’s budget has dwindled with the university’s budget, with student enrollment, and with decreasing interest in print advertisements. As I write this, I know it’s going into our last print edition, a subject that I started out the year conflicted over. It was only the progression of time that helped me realize change necessary for improvement, even uncomfortable change.

Moving forward, The Sun Star has to be adaptable to the times and the paper has to change to continue reporting the news. This means that our conversion to a digital format is all the more important: It marks the beginning of a new era and will set the tone for how The Sun Star will excel in the future. I know the conversion to an entirely digital platform will be bumpy and the staffing transitions will be new, but these larger changes begin with the little things.

It begins when a layout editor takes the initiative to set up a table and reach out to students, when a web editor races to the office to make a correction before a whole issue prints hundreds of copies, when a managing editor is active at midnight working on three things at once when a few months ago they didn’t even know AP style, when a photo editor puts down the camera to write their first story (then their second, then third, and so on), and when a reporter walks in midway through the year and takes on two separate beats.

Little steps forward have, over time, made The Sun Star the news source it is now, and every year people will file in and make their own steps forward.

Maybe it doesn’t seem like much now, not right away, but the first step out of your comfort zone is the first one towards something new. When you’re starting something new it always seems daunting. Sometimes you start off too shy to make conversation, so you put your family’s decades old photo paper to use and slip a cartoon into the Editor-in-Chief’s office one morning. It seems like the smallest of steps, but you never know; you may end up working in that office some day.

You’ve just got to take the chance.

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