After spending nearly four years of their college experience with The Plainsman, this past year’s management staff of graduating seniors have written their goodbyes.
Abigail Murphy, Operations Managing Editor
The Plainsman was at first an acquaintance. I wasn’t really sure if we would make good friends. The desire was there to be something more, but also it definitely took me a while to open up.
For half of my Plainsman experience, I wrote the articles and did the things. I enjoyed it but it wasn’t my place, just a place I was a part of. When I became the lifestyle editor in fall of 2020, The Plainsman office was one of the few places I got to see people during our hybrid class days.
That was the shift. I joked the Plainsman editorial staff was a sitcom and the office was our first set with our favorite coffee shop being the second set. At that point, The Plainsman became more than just a newspaper. It became coffee clubs, movie nights, trailer parties, first loves, brunch buddies and late-night study sessions. It was the fun sociable life John Hughes promised me in all those teen movies. Something I felt I had missed out on some in high school.
I felt I had found “my group” in the sea the college had to offer. As moved into a management role that only solidified this further. I have this belief that working in a newsroom, even a college one, is an intense experience that forces you to make friends that, hopefully, will last beyond your years there.
Frankly, they can’t get rid of me. While I am stepping down from management, in the summer, I will still be a volunteer with my graduation date set for August. This is certainly a soft goodbye but still a goodbye. I guess it’s really our editor-in-chief who can call this a goodbye.
Evan Mealins, Editor-in-chief
I joined The Plainsman in the second semester of my freshman year. Like Murphy, I came in and did my job. Somehow I ended up in an assistant editor role the next year.
Over time, I started to become more and more a “part” of the group. With only a semester’s worth of experience, I needed a lot of help. That year, so many people took the time to invest in me and teach me everything I know, from our advisers to all the editors who came before me. I owe so much of who I am as a journalist — and a lot of who I am personally — to those people.
My junior year was when I started to solidify my skills as a reporter even more. I had the opportunity to tell stories about the people who make this town and University special. You let me into your life, opened your door to me when I nervously knocked and trusted me with what you had to say, so I’m thankful for you.
In my senior year, The Plainsman was my second home. As Murphy said, it wasn’t just a newspaper — well, I guess we weren’t even of those, anymore. It was the place where my friends were. It was where I went to hang out, chat and was the meeting point for trips to coffee shops. We did some work, too.
I was told over and over when I joined that The Plainsman “is what you make it.” This year I realized why I was told this so much. Give to The Plainsman what you want to get back.
To say what The Plainsman means to you in a few paragraphs is a challenge and one that I think I wouldn’t succeed at. It’s unlike most clubs. It’s taken more of my time than anything else in college. It’s work, it’s fun and it’s a social club. It gave me the chance to see this place up close and personal, and I can leave saying that I’m glad I had the chance to do so.
I said it when I began my term, and I will say it again. Auburn is special. But the only thing that makes it special is the people. I hope to see that continue into the future. For The Plainsman, I won’t have to worry. I know it’s in good hands.
Trice Brown, Multimedia Managing Editor
As soon as I began taking classes in the fall of 2018, I started writing for The Plainsman. This organization has given me (almost) as much as I’ve given it over these last four years, and I’ll forever be grateful for the skills it has taught me.
I am leaving this organization and this University a much different person than the spry young kid that I came in as, and as my former colleagues and dear friends have already said, the people I have met here have helped me grow toward the person I hope to one day be.
One of the best things about journalism, in my experience, is that it is a license to be curious about the world around you. Through this organization, I’ve spoken with politicians, scientists, activists, survivors of unbelievable catastrophes, and people I’d never have had the pleasure to meet otherwise. The lessons that these people have taught me — of empathy, compassion and care — are lessons I will carry with me forever.
As I look forward to what my life in journalism will look like — finally unencumbered by the papers and assignments my professors seem to think are necessary — I think of what value journalism holds for me. Above all, journalism is an effort to create and strengthen communities. The stories we write have no power without our readers demonstrating care for each other.
This semester alone, I have been so grateful to witness the impacts this care has had. Following the publication of stories in The Plainsman, members of the Auburn community have pushed the University to provide handicapped students better seating in Auburn Arena and expressed outrage and compassion that led to the resignation of a dean after he sexually harassed a student.
Through the hard work of generations of students, The Plainsman has become the well-respected, influential organization it is today. As a reader of this publication, I hope you will grant its writers the compassion and care they are trying to carry from their sources to you.
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Abigail Murphy, senior in journalism with minors in history and women and gender studies, is the operations managing editor at The Auburn Plainsman.