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You are the voice. We are the echo.
The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Echo
marissa_headshot.jpg

Farewell to a newsworthy four years

Three months before my freshman year at Taylor, I selected multimedia journalism as my major, not fully understanding what the major entailed. All I knew was that I had a passion for written and visual storytelling.

As part of my major, I was to write for The Echo.

I ventured to Taylor the week before Welcome Weekend to attend Echo training week, where I learned the basics of writing and reporting for the student newspaper. 

Training week was led by Holly Gaskill and Sam Jones, the 2020-2021 co-editors in chief. I remember looking to their leadership and guidance, thinking I could never in a million years do what they were doing (how silly of me).

A week later, having never written an article of any sort, I embarked on my first news writing assignment.

It was a rocky start, but I learned a lot from my first assignment: how to take good notes, how to ask good questions, how to accept edits and feedback and how to improve on my next assignment.

My first article was nothing to be proud of, but with the help of editor feedback and consistent practice, I improved (and did, in fact, win The Echo’s “Most Improved” award for that year). 

A few months later, I was asked to become the features section editor. This was exciting to me because features get more to the heart of a story — while news stories describe what happened at an event, feature stories dig deeper into a person’s life experiences.

Excited as I was, jumping into this role was challenging, as it was now my responsibility to come up with story ideas each week and edit feature articles.

So from that point on, I kept my eyes and ears open for interesting people, clubs and businesses around campus to feature in the newspaper.

The features section taught me to be slow to judge others. I’ve found that it’s easy to see someone for only part of their story, but when you sit down and learn their full story, you are able to understand the full truth and empathize with that person.

My time with The Echo did not end with editing the features section. Later on, I picked up other positions, such as page designer, subscription manager, managing editor and this school year: co-editor-in-chief.

Each of my roles for the newspaper has taught me something unique about journalism and communication, as well as about collaboration and organization. 

Looking back on my time spent working for The Echo, I am able to tangibly see so much of the growth I’ve experienced at Taylor. 

While I do not currently plan to pursue a career in journalism, I have been blessed to expand my skill set and grow in my confidence and ability to write, interview, utilize graphic design, work with and manage a team, empathize with others, manage time well and manage conflict. 

I am grateful for my former editors-in-chief – Holly Gaskill, Sam Jones, Ellie Tiemens, Markus Miller and Kay Rideout – for demonstrating positive leadership and for instilling confidence and encouragement in me and my abilities. 

I am grateful for each and every one of my teammates with whom I’ve had the opportunity of working alongside. Each of their examples displays an incredible desire and determination to learn, grow and do their very best at everything they do.

I am grateful for Samantha Saad, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of co-editing the newspaper alongside this school year. She has been an amazing example of hard work, dedication and perseverance to me.

Lastly, I am grateful for the opportunity I’ve had every Thursday night for the past four years spent in the Mac Lab designing The Echo — to experience a staff of various talents and gifts come together to produce an 8-to-14 page paper that offers a truthful, genuine source of news for the Taylor community.

And with that, after four years of sharing the stories of Taylor University, I say thank you and farewell to The Echo — a newspaper, community and experience filled with immense growth.