Some compassion, a big scoop of tenacity, a sprinkle of style, a dash of anarchy and way more ego than the recipe calls for; I am a journalist raised at The New Paltz Oracle. From my beginnings as a first-week freshman news copy editor, we fast-forward 120 articles later and I am writing to you as your retiring EIC.
Over the course of my three-and-a-half year Oracle career, I’ve read and edited countless reflections. In my times of self-doubt, I would defer to these reflections, as when addressing me the seniors I admired so much said something along the lines of “Mel you are the future of this paper.” My movement from copy editor, to news editor, to managing editor to Queen of the Universe has been a natural progression and a chance for me to see something actually go as planned.
Anthony De Rosa, I don’t know if you are going to read this, I hope you do. Know that you are the godfather of my journalism career since you encouraged me to take on a news copy position my first week of freshman year. Those words below the news desk you wrote stick with me always: stir the shit pot whenever the opportunity arises.
Abbott Brant, my first impression of you was you and Anthony going at each other’s throats at my first editorial meeting. I was really scared of you, but during my first one-on-one with you and Andrew Lief, you said I was your favorite, and I know that still sticks today. Ever since then I have come to know you as an extremely caring person, who is always willing to beat the ass of whoever hurts someone you love. Your tenacity and wit is something I will always admire and aspire to convey.
Kristen Warfield, I have to admit, I have regrets when it comes to you. A few months before you graduated I finally felt us becoming closer friends, since I had gotten closer to you on the totem pole. I wish we had more time to hang out and get to know each other, but what I do know is that you are absolutely the most calm, collected person I’ve had the privilege of working with. I really wish I was able to eminate that type of “it will all be okay” type of energy as an editor, but I think I came off more as a “holy shit let’s do everything and hope it turns out okay, okay.”
Nate Sheidlower, thinking about your absence in New York honestly will always make me emotional. I really miss you and your extremely chill nature. I remember us sitting together my freshman year and you coaching me through phone interviews, writing things down for me to say and laughing at my awkward disposition and stuttering. I hope you think I’ve grown since then. Please come back to New York soon. Your parents are still here so you have to.
Jack “I’m Jack” O’Brien, I think I can confidently say that you and I were integral parts of bringing The Oracle up to the caliber it is today. Your passion for good journalism and ability to command respect in any situation are qualities I want to develop in myself. We were quite a team, and I really miss that. You are made to lead. As editor you helped the paper to reach new heights. Anyone who conveys a sentiment that suggests you were not fit for the position, suggests they are not fit for theirs.
Sam Manzella, aka Bluntzella aka Queen Bluntzella. I’m not quite sure where those nicknames came from, seeing as you don’t smoke weed (not that any of us do though). You are my peer but you are also one of my biggest inspirations. You know exactly what kind of journalism makes you happy and excited to write, and knowing what you want in this life really puts you ahead of the curve. I want to be as self-assured as you are in my writing and to reflect the type of “I work because I love this shit” mentality you bring to the table.
Adam Bosch, you are pretty much every young Oracle kid’s idol. Your class is one of the most important in the major, and it certainly separates the boys from the men, as you don’t give any breaks on grading. Rightfully so. Thank you for dealing with my frantic energy all the time, bringing me back to Earth and helping me through articles and honing my news judgement. I really believe you are the only person fit to be an advisor to the paper, I wish you had the extra time for it. I will never forget your kindness towards me and help you offered when my friend Tom passed away at the end of the semester I took your class. My entreprise story probably didn’t deserve a B, but you told me to leave it behind and move on, so I did. You are my mentor, and I think I can safely say, my friend as well.
Lisa Phillips, I say this to everyone who asks me about you: I want to be you when I grow up. Your career is so impressive and you are exactly the kind of professor aspiring students need in this very pivotal time in journalism. Thank you for holding me accountable for slacking and not working to the best of my ability. Your no-bullshit approach to editing has certainly taught me a lesson about working and acting like the type of journalist I want to be.
Rachael, I know you will take the lemons that come with training a full new staff and make lemonade. I know you have had to do this many times in your life with tougher situations, so this should be a breeze. Remember that the paper truly belongs to you and the staff only. Not SA, not the administration and certainly not CMS.
Rob, I think you will be one of the best managing editors this paper has seen. With your kind heart and personable nature, I know you will be able to make even the shyest person come out of their shell to join in on the extremely unintelligent humor that we all dabble in the news room. I will really miss you making fun of Tophie’s voice, that really cheered me up everytime. Daddy up on this paper, and hold down the fort.
Young Michael, Mackerel, everything the light touches will be yours. You and I have been the old farts on the paper together this semester, but now you gotta keep that title to yourself. You have been one of my closest friends throughout college, and I have been so proud to watch you grow from a young Michael, to a young adult Michael. You are amazing at your job and you really know how to inspire teamwork. Keep it up, I can’t wait to hug you after we get our diplomas together.
Briana, I really don’t know if you will remember this, but our first interaction was me telling you I wish I had the courage to wear knee socks to class because you were wearing them. You have really surprised me though. You are gentle and warm-hearted, but you also have the ability to take charge when the time comes. You have been an amazing A&E editor and I am so happy to have worked with you.
Anthony, Brandon and Matt, the three of you have been working so hard this semester and it really shows. I hope that you recognize the power of your work ethic and how it has helped the paper move along smoothly. I can’t wait to see where life takes you all after graduation.
Natalie and Madalyn, the tiny wonders. You guys will do well to keep the quality of A&E and Features up to where it is now, and beyond I’m sure. I wish I had more time to get to know the both of you better, but I am very excited to see your careers take off.
Megan Catherine Tohill, I’ve said this to you many times, but hopefully seeing it in print will make the sentiment stick more: You are extraordinary. I wish I could write as creatively and effortlessly as you do. Although you are changing your original path, I know you will succeed in whatever you choose to do, because that is what you do, you rise. I’m not good at goodbyes, so we will cross that road when we get there in May. But for now, thank you for always being my right-hand at this paper, and supporting me through the tough times.
ChrisTOPHER Sumano, I hope you are proud of yourself this semester for not only writing extremely well, but also keeping me from imploding everyday because of stress. You are the most solid source of support I have ever had and I’m so grateful to have you in my life. Like Meg has said, you are too smart for your own good, but we all deal with it anyway. I’ll steal a page from Jack O’Brien’s reflection: Chris, you are my all-time favorite person of The Oracle.
To those inheriting The Oracle, always reflect on your work and ask yourself every week if you are proud and happy with your work. Being more self-reflective about my writing is something I wish I had made more time for.
Lastly, as you bring The Oracle into the future, I encourage you all to always smile, say thank you for our funding and then bite down hard on the hands that feed you.