Those who contributed to this story: Adam Rubin, Caitlyn Nichols, Jennifer Greenlee, Justin Steed, Raymond Lucas and Marisa Nelson

The Signpost has seen many faces come in and out of the office for many years. Some people stay forever and some only stay for a few semesters, so we wanted to put together a compilation of reasons why we have stayed on the staff of The Signpost.

Students at The Signpost work diligently to publish twice a week
Students at The Signpost work diligently to publish twice a week. Photo credit: Aubree Eckhardt

Adam:

For me, my betterment and growth comes down to two things—two truly important things—and it makes me cringe thinking about how I had no regard these two things before I joined The Signpost. I didn’t have a very good grasp on them as I thought I did, and joining The Signpost put me to the test.

First and foremost, being a team player is a big benefit of being involved with The Signpost. I’ve heard about and endured all those old clichés university students hear over and over. The clichés about “the real world,” or the “professional world”; well, they hold a lot of truth, especially when it comes to being a team player or being involved with something greater than my own immediate world.

Whatever company or career I decide to pursue, being involved with The Signpost has helped me appreciate the hard work of my peers. I see the dedication, the endless and, seemingly, inexhaustive effort, the daily and weekly tasks and trials that my fellow Signposters handle and overcome regularly. In that kind of environment, I don’t want to be a weak link. I want to make sure that I am covering my zone, delivering the best work I can, offering my support and navigating the wilderness that is the news world in our era, and being involved with The Signpost has shown me what being dependable really entails — not being dependable solely for personal gain — yet to make sure that The Signpost achieves its mission of being a voice for Weber State University.

Second, when it comes to reporting, I have learned to listen. Reporting has allowed me plenty of opportunity to listen to people’s stories, and there’s no two ways about it, for me there isn’t. If I want to be a halfway decent writer, I have to be an expert listener and observer.

To keep it blunt, before I started reporting, I had no clue how much I didn’t listen, how much I didn’t consider, how much I let get past me in conversation or in my environment, which, if it weren’t for Jean Norman and The Signpost, I’d be a communications major with an extremely dim idea of how to communicate.

Breanna:

My time at The Signpost has been short compared to other staff members, but when I think about, it I feel like I’ve been part of this team for much longer, and I mean this in a good way.

I joined at the beginning of the spring semester of 2020, right before the outbreak of the pandemic. I never cared to do extracurricular activities in high school, so joining The Signpost was something that I never really considered doing before I went to the new student orientation.

As a small incoming freshman, Weber seemed huge and daunting to me as I attended the campus tour. I didn’t think that I would find my place at this seemingly huge school because in my mind it was just going to be the exact same as high school, just with more rigorous courses and strict professors.

At the end of our guided campus tour, there was a big set up in one of the ballroom’s in the Shepherd Union building, and it had some of the clubs and organizations on campus; The Signpost was one of them.

As I approached the table, I didn’t expect to be very excited about hearing about the university’s student-run newspaper, but as Jean Norman, the adviser for The Signpost, kept talking, the more intrigued I became. I took an application and the newspaper offered and went to visit all the other booths.

As the weeks wore on, I kept thinking about how I wanted to get involved a bit more with my school than I was in high school and my thoughts kept coming back to The Signpost application.

Applying was daunting to me and very intimidating, so much so that I didn’t apply in my first semester. My life got crazy and I was dealing with a plethora of personal problems that the idea of applying wasn’t at the forefront of my thoughts anymore. I didn’t really think about joining The Signpost until I met someone in my rock climbing class who worked as a copy editor.

We became friends, and when he mentioned to me he worked for The Signpost, I was suddenly hit with the reminder that I was going to apply. I told him this, and he grew very excited and filled me in on all of the details of what it was like working as a copy editor, and I was intrigued once more.

One thing led to another and I ended up getting an interview and then a job. I’ve been here for a year now and I wouldn’t change anything that’s happened.

Joining The Signpost has been one of the best experiences I’ve had. It has become my home away from home. I love everyone I work with and truly feel that I have finally found my place, something that I never felt before now.

I never believed the adults who told me getting involved in extracurricular activities would be fun or enhance my school life, but unfortunately, they were right. Joining The Signpost has connected me to campus life in ways I don’t think I would have been had I not joined. I have met so many amazing people and have made new friends, which is something that has always been hard for me.

I have learned so many important things in my short time here and I wouldn’t change anything about it.

My advice to all the incoming freshmen, and honestly, any student, is to join a club or organization and get involved in campus activities because it makes such a big difference in your college experience.

I’ve found my place and something that excites me. My college experience has been heavily impacted by The Signpost in such an unexpectedly positive way.

Caitlyn:

When I came to The Signpost, I had already discovered an interest for journalism in high school and had participated with the high school news broadcast for a year. The Signpost was way different. Reporting and writing for The Signpost pushed me and made me realize what a career in journalism would actually look like, and it really helped me grow my ability in journalism.

I ended up having to take a break from The Signpost for a semester, though I still wrote stories for them here and there through my news writing class. However, the following summer of 2020 was a hard one. I saw so much negativity in the news, between riots, elections and other politics, COVID-19, and more, I started feeling overwhelmed with the news world. It didn’t help that I knew so many people disliked journalists and blamed the news for the country’s problems, and I really hate confrontation. I started to wonder if I even wanted to be involved in such a career field, or if I should pursue something else, like public relations. At the time, I was supposed to be preparing to be assistant editor of the culture desk. Feeling so much uncertainty, I decided I was going to decline the position and stick to being a reporter for fall 2020, and then stop working with The Signpost after that. Around the same time, my editor-in-chief wanted to set up a virtual meeting with me, and I decided I would inform her of my decision about the assistant editor then.

Before I knew it, my editor-in-chief was telling me the culture desk editor had quit and that meant she wanted me to be the desk editor. I froze — I had my declination in my head and yet I was unprepared for the change and didn’t want to disappoint or upset her. I also felt a little pressured. So I accepted the position. Mind you, I had only been a reporter for The Signpost for basically one semester before suddenly being an editor, so I was scared out of my mind.

When fall 2020 came, I just had to hit the ground running and learn everything I needed to know to start managing a desk and editing stories. I thought it would be a crash course. Instead, I found in myself an ability to adjust quickly and an affinity for editing other journalists’ stories, again growing my journalistic ability as well as my leadership ability. I discovered a group of people at The Signpost, my fellow editors, who I really enjoyed being around and working with.

I also ended up taking an intro to PR class that semester, just in case, and discovered that while I liked writing news releases, I didn’t particularly like marketing…

So here I am: Still involved as an editor at The Signpost, with at least another semester of it ahead of me, continuing in my journalism emphasis and looking at applying for internships with newspapers in the near future. I found that, despite the difficulties, I still really enjoyed journalistic writing, and I discovered I enjoyed editing.

I don’t know where life will take me. I’m still deciding if I really want to make a career out of news journalism, or whether that kind of lifestyle is for me. I don’t know where I’ll end up working, or if I’ll be writing, editing or something else. But I do know that I am so glad I was pressured to stick with The Signpost. It’s been fun, it has pushed me, it’s given me some cool experiences, it has gotten me more involved on campus, it has helped me figure out a little bit what I want in life and I’ve met some awesome people. I don’t regret a thing about it.

Jennifer:

People all make choices. Everyday, we choose what to eat, what to wear, if we are going to class. But it’s the choices we make that change our life that are by far the most interesting.

I was getting ready to leave high school in March of 2018, which feels both like yesterday and a decade ago now. I reached out to Jean Norman, the adviser at The Signpost, and asked if freshmen were allowed to apply. I had just finished being the editor-in-chief of my high school yearbook, and I was eager to do similar extracurricular activities in college.

I would have never known that a single email would change my whole life, but sending my application to Jean would change my entire trajectory for the rest of my life.

I had my orientation on the same day I interviewed for The Signpost. I had already known I was going to change my major from English Teaching to Creative Writing after taking the introductory course to teaching as a concurrent enrollment in high school. It wasn’t what I really wanted it to be or anything I had imagined it to be, and I quickly realized teaching K-12 wasn’t going to be for me.

I walked into the office on the fourth floor of the Shepherd Union. (There really is a fourth floor to the Shepherd Union, I promise.) Everyone was laughing and having a good time while putting out a paper for the next day. Of course, I made a fool of myself in the interview, but hey, who doesn’t trip over every moment of an interview?

That night, the editor-in-chief, who for that year would be Harrison Epstein, called me and asked if I would be willing to take on the assistant news editor position.

I said yes, and that yes was the best choice I ever made.

Four weeks into fall, I declared a double major in Creative Writing and Communication with a Multimedia Journalism emphasis. Crazy? Absolutely. The best time of my life? Also yes.

So, three years have passed now, and why have I stayed? Why have I decided to take on the challenge to not just being a part of it but taking it over? The short answer is because The Signpost has become a family for me. It has become my passion, and in some ways, it has become a part of me in my soul.

Yeah, some of the nights are long, and some of them are hard, but there is absolutely nothing like the high you get when you see the thing you have worked on, the thing your family, your friends, your brothers and sisters in newsprint have put their heart and soul into on the stands. There is nothing like the feeling of making a difference by informing your readers on big and sometimes immeasurable changes. There is nothing like the feeling of being a journalist. Even on the big, bad, mean, scary days.

So why The Signpost? Well, dear readers, because here is where I make the biggest difference I can. Here is where my life changed forever and where I hope to keep making a change in the world around me.

So, why stay at The Signpost? Why be a part of it? Well, I ask you, why not?

Raymond:

In life, love and appreciation are two of the things we seek most from our peers and it can determine how long a person sticks around, along with how happy they are.

I’ve almost always left a Signpost meeting happy.

Back in 2017 when I first arrived in Ogden, I was excited yet nervous, because I’ve never enjoyed school, but I also had just been brought onto staff by Harrison Epstein and Jean Norman after submitting some sample work even though they weren’t looking for new reporters for the fall semester.

That stubbornness I had when typing up a story in my notes app while driving through Nevada led to Harrison and Jean becoming two of the most impactful people that have entered my life.

When I first stepped onto the Weber State campus, I noticed that Utah was drastically hotter than I realized and that the state was, uhh, lacking in color. I then began to wonder what The Signpost staff would look like, and as you can imagine, I had the same thoughts.

What I didn’t know at the time was that it would become the most inclusive space that I’ve ever stepped foot in. I realize that there are many journalists throughout the country that have not had that same experience, so I’m very grateful for everyone that made me feel welcomed.

Throughout my four years at Weber State, there have been times where I seriously struggled. It was so hard for me to get used to a place that felt nothing like home, but there are two reasons why I never left. One is Christian Johnson, who in a short period became a lifelong brother of mine. The second is The Signpost, a student publication that I’ll refer to as a life-changing experience.

This isn’t a goodbye, and it won’t ever be a farewell, but the time has come for me to move on to the next step in life, so to all that have shared the office with me, read my stories or simply enjoyed a moment with me…

I simply say thank you.

Justin:

I joined The Signpost in the fall 2020 semester. It was my first semester at Weber State, so I had no idea what I was doing or what I was going to do. My sister worked at The Signpost at the time and told me I would love it. She wasn’t wrong.

I’m a math major, so choosing to go to a student multimedia organization was something strange. But being at The Signpost has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.

At The Signpost, I get to meet and talk to new people, which is a big plus amid COVID-19, which has limited my social interaction to almost exclusively my family. And the people I get to work with are always friendly and fun to be around. I also get to be informed of all the current and future university news and events.

Being here is so fun, and having somewhere to go during COVID-19 has really helped me mentally. There’s absolutely no question to me about continuing in The Signpost, and I will happily do so for as long as they allow me.

Marisa:

If you would have told me five years ago that I would be writing for the school newspaper and well on my way to becoming a journalist, I would have laughed in your face. My whole experience at the Signpost has been a series of being in the right place at the right time. The Signpost was way out of my comfort zone, but I have had so many life changing experiences through my time on the team and it has become second nature to me now.

Being a reporter allowed me to get to know campus on an intimate level as a transfer student and interview people whose stories have changed my perspective.

Being the news editor, I learned a whole new set of skills that I honestly didn’t feel prepared to handle. But I did it. Leading a group of people is never easy, and I think that the mistakes I have made have shaped me into being a better person and a better leader.

Now as I get ready to take on a new role and expand my skill set further, I can’t help but be eternally grateful for all that I have gained the last two years. Strong friendships, connections on campus and polished skills, just to name a few.

Life is about seizing the moment that comes to you and I feel that I have done exactly that with my journey at The Signpost. Being a student journalist has been a learning experience to say the least, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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