The Advance-Titan

Advance-Titan journalist doesn’t fail stats, finally graduates

Courtesy of Jessica Zemlicka
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I started at the Advance-Titan in Fall 2014. It was six months after I had my son and my life was changing rapidly. I enrolled in my first courses at UW Oshkosh thinking I would just go to class, go to work and go home to be with Deacon. My first day, I was introduced to people that would take me to the basement of Reeve Memorial Union and change my life.

Reeve 19 is the Advance-Titan newsroom. Not many know this, and sometimes, that’s appreciated by the staff. The room is filled with archived issues from decades before, five-year-old AP stylebooks and Mac desktops line the walls for all the different sections. The room of stuff quickly became a home away from home for myself, and many others, the others I would soon call my best friends and my family.

My time at the A-T has been short. Two years is nothing. In Fall 2015, I entered a meeting where myself, my editor-in-chief and adviser were told we were worthless and we had to break the news of that to our staff. We fought against the those attacking us, rallied with the support of our donors and discovered how much we are loved by those passing along the message #WeNeedTheAT.

The hardest part for me during that time was watching the confidence and happiness of my new family dwindling the more we were beat down. Friendships were broken, and some got stronger. We cancelled production one night and thought we’d fix everything, but only time could heal what had been done.

The most empowering part of this time was walking into a meeting about the status of our paper with campus administrators, the journalism advisory board and my adviser. I have no recollection of what occurred in the meeting except defending my newspaper and my adviser. He says I saved his life. I don’t believe that. I believe I just stood up for my family.

It took a while for us to gain back our momentum, but we did. We received a challenge grant from an anonymous donor, made it to Madison for the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Conference and Washington D.C. for the Associated Collegiate Press National Media Convention, where we won an award for the first time since I started at the A-T. We’re getting even better. We entered into WNA’s Better Newspaper Contest and we’re really hopeful to bring back some more awards.

My time at the A-T was not meant to win awards and gain internships. It was time spent to have the experience of working for a real newspaper, further my education and find the best friends someone could have. When you enter this newsroom, you are immediately welcomed. No matter your major, experience or background, we’ll take you. Yes, we’re loud and obnoxious, but it’s part of our charm.
There so much to say and the above is just the beginning. I can’t say much more without starting a 200-page book. For now, I’ll say my thank yous and leave Reeve 19 knowing it was two of the best years of my life.

Thank you to Katie Knox. Katie was my first editor and she had enough faith in me to put me on the editorial staff one semester in. From then on, she and I would become leaders of the paper through one of the toughest times in our lives. Without her, I would not have thrived during the first year.

Thank you to Allison Herrmann. Though she has graduated now, she was by my side through my first term as news editor. She made it easy for me to be an editor and try to help save the paper. She’s still one of the people I go to when I need to talk because I know she’ll be honest with me. Plus she knows how to work, work, work, work.

Thank you to Nyreesha Williams-Torrence. We’re really doing it. We’re graduating. I know both of us have our doubts, but at least we’ve had each other through it. You were sports and I was news in Spring 2015, but I can honestly say now that without you this past year, school and life would have been the würst.

Thank you to Jessica Johnson. You were always my best writer, the favorite child, the prodigy. I was so happy to have you on my team of writers and I feel even luckier to have called you the EIC to my ME this semester. You’re like my little sister. Somedays I want to kill you and some days I want to sing your praises. Sometimes that is the same day. If I ignore your call on a Wednesday next semester, I’m probably already driving to campus to help you out.

Thank you to the news guys, Ti Windisch and Alex Nemec. You two have truly, honestly made this semester better. Everytime I see you two, especially if you’re together, I laugh. I’m so grateful you two are part of this paper’s future, my chief concern is that one of you will say something publicly to the effect of, “Let’s go!” Thanks, fam.

Thank you to all the editors past and present. You are all a part of my family now. There’s not a day that goes by I won’t remember the A-T and the work you all put into it.

Last, but certainly not least, thank you Vince. Thank you for believing in me, in my fellow editors and in the newspaper. You raised money for us like a homeless man with the #WeNeedTheAT can, dressed as a zombie and you sacrifice time with your own family to be here with us every Wednesday night. I’ve cried in your office too many times, doubted myself and doubted if what we were doing was worth it. We both know now that none of that was necessary. Without you I would not be the writer, editor or friend I am today. From meeting you in Principle of Ad to struggling in Features, you’ve always been the professor I could go to for academic, professional or personal advice. I will miss seeing you every week and knowing I can just stop by your office on my way to class just to say hi. Thank you, Vince. Thank you.

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Advance-Titan journalist doesn’t fail stats, finally graduates