Signpost staff photo (Ariana Berkemeier) (1 of 2).jpg
The 2016 Signpost Staff. (Ariana Berkemeier / The Signpost) Photo credit: Ariana Berkemeier

With graduation staring down at me, I can’t help but look back and reflect on this past school year.

I sincerely hope that you, dear reader, have enjoyed the coverage we’ve provided over the year. Everyone on The Signpost staff has given their all to make sure that we provide you with quality content and a unique perspective on college life.

Of course, there is no way that The Signpost would’ve ever come together without the support of my amazing staff! I can honestly say that every single member of the staff has done their very best to make sure The Signpost is the best it can be. Thank you so much to all the students who’ve stopped in on production days and helped out or kept me sane through the long days.

Chief among those who’ve helped are Jean Norman, the adviser for The Signpost. I really have no idea how I could’ve ever done what has needed to be done without her. At the end of particularly difficult days, she has had just the right thing to say that has calmed me and helped me to know that what I’m doing is good and that there is no reason to feel bad about myself or the things that I’ve accomplished as the Editor-in-Chief (EIC).

I feel that my greatest accomplishment while being at The Signpost was making it a safe place for my staff to try new things. Not many people know that less than half of The Signpost staff are Communications majors, and an even smaller fraction are Journalism majors. Because of this, there are a lot of staff members that haven’t ever written in a journalistic style before. I am so proud of them for their hard work and their willingness to learn and try things that are outside of their comfort zone. I am continually amazed by the things they come up with and their willingness to dedicate so much of their time and talents to The Signpost.

I want to thank the students and staff that read and participate with The Signpost. Without your willingness to talk to my staff, there would be no Signpost. Your support is what allows us to continue producing content that is valuable to you, students and the greater community.

Ok, I have to brag for a minute. For a staff of college kids with very little experience writing the news, The Signpost staff kicks butt. Spring is award season time for The Signpost. At the two big competitions we participate in, we’ve done really well this year. At Utah Press Association’s Better Newspaper competition this year, my staff won 7 awards against professional newspapers of comparable size. A few of those awards were first place for best photo page, second place for best breaking news cover and second place for best website.

Sure, UPA is a state-level competition, but we also kick butt on the regional level. At the Society of Professional Journalist’s region 9 Mark of Excellence Awards in Albuquerque last week, we won 9 awards, two of which will move onto the national SPJ competition. The two awards moving onto nationals are editorial writing (Skyler Pyle, last year’s EIC) and photo illustration (Michaela Funtanilla, a graphic designer at The Signpost). A few of the other awards we were finalists in are: sports photography, sports column and best all-around non-daily student newspaper.

For me personally, this last year has been insanely difficult. Adjusting to the responsibilities of the EIC (I clocked it once—I spend anywhere from 25-60 hours a week working at The Signpost), as well as balancing school and family was a struggle. Through it all though, I had the amazing Signpost staff and Jean to keep me sane. They listened to me whine about classes, helped make sure my papers were spot on and provided me the friendship and support I really needed this last year.

I’ve been so lucky as the EIC and have had so many wonderful opportunities. I’ve traveled all over the United States to receive training from the news industry’s top professionals. That was great and will impact me forever, but by far, the things that will stick with me the most are the things I learned in The Signpost office: it’s more important to be kind than it is to be right, two good friends are far more valuable than 20 “friends,” take time to do your own thing.

This last year, serving as the EIC of The Signpost, has been the most intense of my entire life. I’ve learned so much and am so grateful for each and every experience. Thank you so much to each and every staff member, professor and family member who has helped me through it. You know who you are, you know what you’ve done — thank you so much for being part of my journey.

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