I've thought about this column for a long, long time. I thought about it when I first took over as editor-in-chief two years ago, I thought about it after my first year was up and I've thought about it many, many times in the recent months as graduation grows closer. I had a really dramatic opener in mind: "The following ____ (number of) words are four years in the making." Cheesy? Yeah, a little. True? Well, yes.
Trying to sum up all my experiences working on 95 (give or take) issues of The Lamron is obviously an impossibility. Where do I even begin? The headaches and heartaches? Walking out of the Union on multiple occasions, eyes bleary, to see the sun rising? Trying to suppress the urge to slam my head against the wall when something went wrong (which was all the time)? The simple joy of walking down a hall and seeing a student buried in the paper, or overhearing someone say to their friend, "Did you hear about (blank)? I read it in The Lamron"?
I've been editor for two years, and I'm proud of my accomplishments. We now have a heavily trafficked Web site (33,480 page views last month) where every week heated discussion goes on over articles. There are attractive front pages that regularly feature stories about pressing campus issues, and there are new staff positions to accommodate our revamped newsgathering strategies. There's also an opinion section that's become a heavily-utilized forum for discussion. In my freshman and sophomore years, it was rare to get a letter to the editor. Now, almost every week we must decide between which ones we can accommodate. And, of course, we now have The (Marginally) Fun Page.
Simply put, people are reading the paper. Believe it or not, that wasn't really the case a few years ago.
To the underclassmen, I would say you're lucky and unlucky. You didn't have to see The Lamron in its previous incarnations, middling and little-read, but that also means you haven't been able to see the transformation the paper's undergone in content, prominence and aesthetics in an incredibly short period.
To the upperclassmen, well, there's probably not a good chance you looked at the paper three or four years ago. Needless to say, I'm glad you do now.
I leave The Lamron in capable hands. Sure, there are the passing-of-the-torch jitters, but I have no doubt Dan Skahen and company will maintain the level of quality that the paper now enjoys. The Lamron will never be the Harvard Crimson (especially not as long as Geneseo doesn't have a journalism major), but there is more to be done to enhance its relevant and vital role as the student voice. I can only urge those that come after me to keep it on the path of improvement.
So here I sit, days away from an English degree and the big scary working world, with ink on my fingers and multiple copies of the paper strewn about my room. I took the road less traveled in college, sacrificed a lot, but did I emerge any better for it? Did the paper keep up with the college's quickly improving academic reputation and increasingly intelligent student body? I believe that the answer to the above questions is yes. But, of course, that's also up to you to decide. At the very least I can say with the utmost sincerity that I gave The Lamron, and Geneseo as a whole, everything I've got.
Jacob Kriss is a senior English major who, contrary to popular belief, really is glad to be finished with The Lamron.