Rocket Editor-in-Chief bids farewell to staff

Published by adviser, Author: Ryan Barlow, Date: May 2, 2017
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It’s truly unbelievable how quickly four years can come and go. Not too long ago, I was sitting in the Warner Theater in Erie, Pennsylvania preparing to walk across a stage to accept my high school diploma and looking forward to my next adventure at Slippery Rock University. Next Saturday, I’ll walk across a stage in Morrow Field House, accepting my Bachelor of Science degree in Communication, this time looking forward to my next adventure in the great unknown (aka “The Real World”).

Slippery Rock offered plenty of experiences that I had the pleasure to take advantage of, ranging from traveling abroad over spring break to Denmark and Sweden, to directing Musical Theatre Society’s production of “The Wedding Singer.” While each of these experiences were incredible moments during my college career, the most prominent memories were spent in 220 Eisenberg Classroom Building, more commonly referred to as The Rocket Office.

I joined The Rocket my freshman year as a contributor to the sports section, with my first article being about the women’s cross country team and their first cross country meet of the 2013 season on their home site. Looking back on it, it certainly wasn’t my best work, but it’s still fun to go back and see your growth over a four-year period.

My sophomore year, I found myself on the newspaper staff as the assistant sports editor, working closely with the sports editor at the time, Brian Hepfinger, as we introduced the “Athlete of the Month” monthly poll on the website, which then only featured a graphic in one of the weekly publications in the section.

At the end of the 2015 spring semester, I was promoted to the sports editor, where I found the best possible partner for myself in Cody Nespor, who became more than just a coworker in the sports section, but also a great friend. Honestly, all of my success in the sports section should be credited to this guy, and he helped pad my credentials enough for the staff to elect me as The Rocket’s editor-in-chief my senior year.

Being EIC has been extremely difficult, as I felt I wasn’t the person most prepared for the job at the time. It’s extremely difficult being in charge of a student organization, especially one that is so respected on both the local and national scale. I quickly found myself working a lot from behind-the-scenes, doing duties that both our readers and some staff members might not see. It was a huge shock to step away from the sports section, and instead be asked to be the man who writes out our staff editorials and is in charge of an opinion section which only gets a handful of contributors on a yearly basis.

Despite all of my new responsibilities, our staff was thrown the biggest curveball in my four years of student media as APSCUF went on strike, resulting in the craziest three days of my lige, and the rest of the staff as well. Through all of the stellar work our copy/web editors did on social media (Victoria Davis and Amanda Salvia, take a bow), our staff put together an entire newspaper without the advisement of Dr. Mark Zeltner, which could have gone really really badly (it didn’t).

Honestly, this year with The Rocket couldn’t have gone smoother without the help of the staff that I was blessed with. Nothing about The Rocket during my tenure as EIC was successful because of me, it was successful because of them and their hard work. Sure, The Rocket will be seeing major changes in the future, but I know that the students who are involved here are committed and will continue to produce high-caliber content.

With that, I say goodbye to the staff and the friends that I’ve made in this office. It’s been my honor to work with each of you, and I’m ready to “blast off with The Rocket” one last time.

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