I never had any preconceived intention of joining a newspaper when I arrived at Brandeis. The Brandeis Hoot was just one of the clubs I signed up for at the club fair my first year, and I figured it would be fun because I could try my hand at writing arts articles. I had no idea The Hoot would become one of the most central and influential aspects of my college career. Now, as I wrap up my final issue as editor-in-chief, I am having a hard time saying goodbye.
As editor-in-chief, I can say in recent years The Hoot has required a huge amount of my time. It has been no minor commitment. Yet despite all the hard work, I have always invested myself fully in tasks related to The Hoot, and it has paid off. My purpose in writing this article is to highlight all the ways The Hoot has changed my life, and to encourage other undergraduates to consider the academic and social benefits of writing for a newspaper.
When I was a first-year, The Hoot became a social outlet for me. As I struggled to get my footing in the new university environment, the BMC, where Hoot production night happens, became a place I felt at home. It was also a source of pride—my roommates and I used to take every single article we wrote, cut it out of the paper, and tape it up next to our beds in our dorm room. I felt great when the arts editor said my article was well written, and was excited to be appointed features editor.
When I was a sophomore and a junior, I worked as arts editor and managing editor. I began to not just connect with my fellow peers who were writing for the paper, but also with Brandeis professors, staff and administration members. As I wrote more articles and interviewed dozens of people, my network at Brandeis grew. I learned more about the history of Brandeis, this campus and the amazing accomplishments of many Brandeis community members.
The summer after my sophomore year, I held an internship at a daily newspaper. This was the best internship of my life, and something I never would have pursued if not for my background at The Hoot. I reported from the scene of accidents and court cases. I did man-on-the-street interviews, and wrote feature stories on topics I was passionate about, such as teenage homelessness.
I came back to Brandeis as a junior determined to use the skills I had gained over the summer. I worked on investigative journalism pieces. I like to think I had a part in helping the Brandeis community become a better place, as I shed light on some aspects of Brandeis that needed improvement, such as the lack of funds for the fine arts department, the handling of sexual assault cases or the abrupt firing of many Brandeis mailroom workers.
I chose to pursue the editor-in-chief position because the reputation of The Hoot mattered to me. I wanted to continue building upon our tradition of being a reliable news source for the Brandeis community. The Hoot should always remain a bold newspaper, with staff who are unafraid to report on both positive and negative aspects of the university. As a senior, I spent more time editing and managing other editors than writing myself, but I learned many skills from time-management to cooperation to how to be a true leader.
I am an English and Creative Writing double major. However, the writing, editing and interview skills I gained from being on The Hoot were perhaps more helpful in actually getting employment. My journalism background became a springboard into public relations, a field I love because it lets me be creative and tell stories about people and companies. I landed a full-time position at a public relations agency before even graduating, and I was hired partly because of my experience at The Hoot.
Socially, The Hoot has always been my family. The specific editors who have stayed up with me late on Thursday nights have changed over the years, but I have loved many of them. Out of everyone on this campus, those are the people I will stay in touch with.
I am not good at goodbyes, and I refuse to say them. But I hope my legacy at The Hoot, and as editor-in-chief, is a positive one, and I have high hopes for the paper’s coming years. Everyone should consider the beneficial impact a club like The Hoot can have on them, and their college experience as a whole. I will miss it terribly.