I’m not one of those noble people who does work for internal satisfaction. Several of the editors I’ve seen in my three years on The Rocket staff. This need for external validation makes my job incredibly difficult. No one really notices the copy editors’ work unless we have made an error. No one notices the work it takes to create a livestream unless your hands have made it shakey. No one notices the spacing on the website unless it’s off. I struggled with this when I was first hired, and I continue to struggle with this to this day. There is no award for Best Grammar nor an award for Best Social Media Management, and the awards for web design will never have my name on them.
I wish I could say that I overcame this need for praise and recognition, but with every paper, I grew frustrated. While I never got over this internal frustration, each week I became more and more proud to be a part of the creation of each and every story. To a lot of people, this job is a glorified grammar checker, but in the last three years, I have discovered that so much of this job is having the privilege to watch and help people improve– to aid in the growth of SRU students as both writers and people. Another part of this job, managing the website and social media, I am equally grateful for in that I have the privilege to share the amazing work of our editors with the world.
While I may not be “proud” in the traditional sense of my work correcting the Rock to The Rock or number one to no. 1, I am proud every week I see an editor’s writing improve because they took the time to look over, and I am proud every time I see a story one of my coworkers has labored over getting some well-deserved love on Twitter.
I would be remiss if I did not talk about my favorite time on The Rocket staff: the APSCUF strike. At 5 a.m. on the first day of the strike, our asst. photo editor Kendall Scott and I drove to the Slippery Rock park. In the next three days, Kendall and I, along with then-asst. copy/web editor Amanda Salvia trekked around the picket line, getting video, photos, and ceaseless updates. To us, it was the least we could do for the professors who had done so much for us. One of the greatest honors of my life was a professor giving me a ride to the announcement of the end of the strike, where I caught APSCUF President Ben Shaevitz swearing on video, surrounded by professors laughing and hugging. While I never received a reward for the word I did during the strike, if you scroll for a long time on the New York Times website, you’ll see that in their coverage of the PASSHE strike, they embedded one of my tweets of sleepy-eyed professors marching the picket line at 5:30 a.m. Between you and me, sometimes I write “New York Times-featured journalist” for a few minutes as my LinkedIn headline just to see how it would look. You can decide if that’s stretching the truth too far or not.
My point in all of this is that I don’t look back at my time at The Rocket fondly because of the doors it’s opened or the awards I’ve won. I am grateful for my time at The Rocket because I have been able to watch and help the journalists of SRU grow into strong writers and people of purpose.
I am so proud to have served on three staffs of The Rocket, and cannot wait to watch staffs to come continue to change the shape of SRU forever.