Passing the paper: A farewell to Colleen


Nicole Browning

Assistant Arts and Life editor Nicole Browning and Colleen Dixon pose for a picture

When the last of the ink dried on the final copy of The Northerner for the year, above each article and below each photo sat a byline.

A credit for all the work that goes into the process: brainstorming, finding sources to interview, taking photos, laying out pages, writing and editing countless stories.

However relentlessly our editorial staff worked this year, our efforts would be meaningless if not for our distribution team. Unfortunately, it is difficult to distribute a byline to them, as the action of handing out papers cannot be cemented in print.

A special thank you to Lauren Goderwis and Danielle Brown for braving early Wednesday mornings with me. If it wasn’t the hefty stacks of papers that got to me, it was the string tied around them that never seemed to unknot itself on the first tug. Ever.

Another thank you to Rachel Warren for managing the team and helping with PR.

Finally, I would like to say a few words about my friend, and the bravest member of our little team, Colleen Dixon. As part of her internship, Colleen and I would pass out papers on Monday afternoons in the Student Union.

Never have I seen someone so determined to do her job. The first day we did it, back in September, Rachel and I walked into the SU with Colleen; we were hesitant to approach our first stranger with the question, “Would you like a newspaper?”

While we sat in our sheepishness, Colleen walked over to the first of many students who would be offered a paper on Monday afternoons.


And just like that, our journey began. There was no holding back with Colleen; this was her job, and she was going to do it.

As the weeks passed by, Colleen and I spent many afternoons chatting on our walk around the Student Union, and I began to think of her as my friend.

Whether it be her talking about the TV series, “The Voice” (she’s team Adam), her love of music, or her love of church, I discovered how many passions she held closely to her.

More than anything, I discovered how well she could connect to people and how many people adored her.

I remember the countless times she stopped in the middle of the stairs to let someone pass her and gestured to them, exclaiming, “After you!” They would all smile. I remember her accepting candy from people and then telling me later that she didn’t want it, but that she just didn’t want to be rude.

Sometimes worrying that she was upset, I later came to realize that she was actually an incredibly calm, gentle person.

It didn’t matter if someone denied her offer for a paper (although few did). She kept walking to the next person until every person in the building was holding an issue of The Northerner.

Colleen, while I wish I had met you sooner, I know you will go on doing things you’re passionate about after graduation.

From one member of the distribution team to another, your time with us has been invaluable. The work we do means nothing without a delightful, courageous person like you there to place a paper into the hands of each student.

I can only hope I have learned from your boldness and will be able to confidently pass out papers next semester, unfortunately, without you.

From all of us here at The Northerner, we wish you good luck.