The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

From the editor-in-chief: My thanks to The Northerner

Thank you, NKU, for trusting us with your stories.

May 13, 2019


Colin Johnson

Northerner Editor-in-Chief Sam Rosenstiel.

There were a lot of silly reasons why I convinced myself I didn’t belong at The Northerner. I never really considered myself a writer. I had never reported on anything before. I wasn’t even very good at typing (I’m still not great). But I finally worked up the nerve to knock on the door of the paper’s basement office in September 2016.

By then, it had been about year since I first picked up a print copy of The Northerner. I remember how thrilled I was to see it brimming with student stories about a campus I myself was discovering for the first time. Even though I grew up around NKU, it felt so special to learn about it through the lens of talented student writers and photographers. I was a devoted reader since that first issue, and becoming a Northerner editor became my college goal.

Under the leadership of excellent chief editors Abby Anstead, Matt Sexton and the estimable Mack Manley, I wrote about state and national politics, higher education, sexual misconduct, abuse, finance, enrollment, pensions, and so many other topics I had never learned about before. I realized the unique challenges of being a reporter, which means being someone who knows little but must learn a lot about everything quickly. My tenure at The Northerner helped me immensely in my amazing year at The Cincinnati Enquirer, covering a large metro community for a wide, diverse audience.

Sure, there were challenges. Long nights. Heavy subject matter. But all of the adversity was far outweighed by the fun stuff and everything I could never forget. Riding to Detroit to cover the Horizon League Tournament (and watching courtside as the Norse won) is one memory that immediately comes to mind. I remember pushing through the elbows of other reporters to ask a quick question to the governor, seeing Air Force One up-close, and of course, all the Applebee’s karaoke nights, dancing in the newsroom and staying up way too late joking around. Belonging to a team was the part of my Northerner experience I hold most dear.

The basement office in Griffin Hall, the one I was once so scared to enter, became my home. The people that filled it became some of my best friends.

Thankfully, I was never alone at The Northerner. Our faculty adviser Michele Day has helped me grow as a reporter, editor and person, and I am so grateful for her years of guidance and mentorship. Nicole Browning was an excellent managing editor, always stepping up help our reporters and editors grow and write wonderful stories about our community.

Looking ahead, incoming editor-in-chief Natalie Hamren is one of the most talented people I know. She is a tenacious reporter and a born leader. It has been so exciting to watch her grow as a writer and person, and she will lead The Northerner to continued success. Incoming managing editor Josh Kelly is equally tenacious and will surely carry this student paper to new heights. The Northerner is in good hands.

I extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who kept me in line and kept The Northerner running this year, including Kane, Josh, Sierra, Billy, Mike, Noelle, Colin, Emerson, Clay, Abby, our social media team, design team, web team, street team and everyone else who made working for our paper so great.

The long days and late nights, the triumphs and the frustrations and every hard moment was well worth it. I am so proud of what The Northerner has accomplished over the last two semesters. We told important stories, we became better listeners for our neighbors, and we made something that was truly ours. Moderating college and state senate debates, listening at protests and panels, and talking face-to-face with people who have been hurt or unjustly treated greatly humbled me. I am grateful to those who trusted us with your stories.

I’m confident The Northerner will continue to be a watchdog and an independent voice for students and faculty. Most of all, I hope that it continues to be your paper. Thank you, NKU, for trusting us with your stories. Thank you for sharing your triumphs and frustrations, because often they are ours, too. Your trust has meant the world to me.

Working for The Northerner was a dream come true. I never stopped learning, and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon.

Never let a fear of not being good enough keep you from finding what you love. There’s always a reason not to do something. Sometimes, you just have to knock on the door.

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