The Advance-Titan

Last member of the AKs set to graduate Dec. 19

Amanda Kinnunen

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Amanda Kinnunen is pictured with her dog for the infamous A-T "dog-selfie"Courtesy of Amanda Kinnunen

Amanda Kinnunen is pictured with her dog for the infamous A-T “dog-selfie”

When I transferred to UW Oshkosh, I had two majors in mind: English and Radio/TV/Film. I had toyed with the idea of journalism as a minor, but I wanted to write. Back in 2012, I didn’t think journalism had anything to offer me. I wanted to write novels and screenplays. And besides, in my mind, news was always associated with negativity.

Nonetheless, my first week on campus, I joined The Advance-Titan’s copy desk. My main goal was to become an editor at a publishing house, so I thought editing at the A-T would be useful experience.

I loved it. I was brand new to campus, and being a part of a group that had the same interests as me was a relief. I’ve always been shy, so it usually took a really close-knit class like professor Doug Heil’s screenwriting courses or an extracurricular like band for me to open up fully.

Raven Braun was copy chief when I first joined, and since I wasn’t in any journalism classes she taught me everything I needed to know about AP Style. It was a lot different than the essay and fiction writing that I had been used to my entire life up to that point, but I picked it up quickly.

Even better, I was making friends. Some even had the same English classes as me, much to professor Paul Klemp’s dismay. To be honest, we may have talked to each other more than we contributed to class discussion. Okay, we definitely did.

But the fact was, I looked forward to sitting down in the overly warm, noisy basement room in Reeve Memorial Union every Wednesday. It was like a family; we shared our struggles, achievements and even slightly awkward random thoughts. I was even part of a mini group called the AK’s with Alyssa Kartheiser and previous copy chief Alissa Knopp. Can you guess why?

Still I had no desire to write articles. I hadn’t taken any journalism classes, so I figured I would have no clue what I was doing; the stories would most likely be horribly wrong. I was also a little afraid. I tried to convince myself that I couldn’t do it just so I wouldn’t have the chance to fail.

Emily Ceithamer, previous Campus Connections assistant editor, had class with me and said she and Jackie McDonough didn’t have enough writers. At the time, I thought I’d made the biggest mistake ever in telling her I would like to try writing “maybe a story or two.”
The excuses already began forming themselves. I wouldn’t have time. No one would talk to me. My stories wouldn’t be interesting. It didn’t help that I wasn’t able to attend the event I was assigned to for my first story: the Kingian Non-Violence workshop. I ended up finishing the article right on time, having done the first interview on Monday and a phone interview Wednesday an hour before it was due.

Besides my on-air shift with WRST-FM, writing articles was probably one of the most beneficial experiences I’d had up to this point. It pushed me out of my comfort zone. Initially, I dreaded going up to guest speakers after their performances, but after doing it for the first time, I realized how much I could learn from talking with them.

Interviewing professionals forced me to speak more professionally. I also had to know what I was going to talk about with my interview subjects before hand, not just babble with them about anything. I learned how to create a story out of the content I gathered, and flow smoothly between ideas.

Before my final semester of college, Katie Knox, the editor-in-chief, emailed me saying I’d been referred to her as a candidate for Campus Connections editor. After a day long internal debate on why I couldn’t possibly do it, I told her yes.
I’d had minimal experience with InDesign during my summer internship, but Katie taught me how to format the page, where to save everything, and also helped me with any question I had throughout the rest of the semester. Without the help of Katie and copy chief Brenna McDermot, I don’t think I would have come this far.

Going into the position, I was most excited about assigning stories. Rather than cover only the musicians, artists and guest speakers that came to campus, I wanted to showcase the exceptional students and dedicated organizations that we already have right here at UWO. There is so much talent and hard work within this school that brushing it aside for outside performers would be doing the University a disservice.

When I’m graduated and gone, the one thing I will miss most about college is this newspaper. It’s taught me valuable lessons and skills applicable to almost every job I would love to have. It gave me a family to push me when I just wanted to drop everything and nap for a day, and friends to joke with until we were crying with laughter. Working at the paper let me know that I am capable of more than I give myself credit for.

Thank you to all of the desk editors that helped me when I had questions; I learned a lot from you all. I would like to thank copy desk for the late Wednesday nights we’ve shared crossword puzzles and eating gummy bears, and also my writers, Kellie Wambold, Marcella Brown, Kyle Larscheid, Allison Prusha and Tyler Cox for sticking with me all semester.

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Last member of the AKs set to graduate Dec. 19