There and Back Again: An Editor’s Tale
When I first began this journey as editor of the Traveler, I knew it would be hard, but rewarding. Like any adventure, there were trials and tribulations—those were the days we would be in the office past midnight, drained of energy, pulling out our hair. But from those trials came success.
As Sam says in the Lord of the Rings, “It’s like in the great stories… Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”
There is so much to hold on to here.
This year, my staff took the Traveler from a weekly to a daily. The beginning was difficult. We all came in with the mindset of publishing once a week. When we decided to take it to four times a week, we changed everything— from the way we planned stories to the atmosphere of the newsroom.
We did it. We successfully transitioned our paper to a daily paper and did a great job. We have won many awards this year, including the Arkansas reporter and designer of the year while our sports editor won national awards.
Needless to say, I am extremely proud of my staff. We formed a strong fellowship along the way, bonds that will last through the years.
To the section editors and designers, thank you for dedication and your passion for the paper. I know there were times when we all thought we would go crazy if we were in the “dungeon” any longer, but our work has paid off. I have faith that you will all go on to achieve great things in the future.
To the writers and photographers—you are the content of the paper. Without your constant runs for photographs or last minute calls for interviews, we wouldn’t have a paper.
To Mattie Quinn, my managing editor, you are one of my greatest friends. Thank you for bringing so much personality and sass to the office. We had some great adventures, from Orlando to St. Louis and, of course, all the hours we spent together in the office. I will miss your contagious laughter, your hair flipping, your Courtney Stodden videos and our late-night dance parties. Going back to Lord of the Rings, you are to me, what Sam was to Frodo— a great and loyal friend. I could not have done this without you.
This year was special in that all of student media—UATV, KXUA and the Razorback Yearbook—worked together and bonded.
To Joe DelNero, station manager of UATV, you are the best assistant to the editor-in-chief of the Traveler. How you managed that, along with station manager, Ultimate Frisbee and more than 18 hours of class, I’m not sure—but you did. You have done a great job, from staying with me in the office those late nights while I wrote my columns to sharing your homemade cakes and pies.
To Nick Carter, editor of the yearbook, thank you for putting up with me— my constant pestering to borrow your photo equipment, my escapes to your office and, of course, my habit of taking pictures of myself on the yearbook cameras. You are a genuine, caring friend and I’m glad I could introduce you to the two greatest restaurants in Fayetteville—Taste of Thai and Petra Café.
And of course, my biggest thanks goes to Professor Jordan, our faculty advisor and my mentor. If I am Frodo in this adventure, then Professor Jordan is most definitely Gandalf—the great, wise wizard. Thanks Professor Jordan, for nudging me out of my hobbit hole, for believing in me at times when I didn’t believe in myself and for the skills you’ve taught me throughout the years.
I could go on thanking people, but for that, I would need the pages, that I most unfortunately do not have. It has been a great year working at The Arkansas Traveler and I wish the best of luck to next year’s staff. As I move on to Amman this summer, and the new staff shifts into their new positions, I can’t help but think of Bilbo as he gets on the boat with the elves, “I think I am quite ready for another adventure.”
Saba Naseem is the 2011-2012 Traveler editor.