The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

Senior Farewell: Assistant Sports Editor Brendan Connelly

May 6, 2022

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At the start of my second year at NKU, I decided to declare a journalism minor, which eventually led to me gaining interest in The Northerner. That was when COVID still had a grip on the world. I really don’t remember much about those first few months. All the meetings were virtual, and I didn’t do much writing; I more or less joined to feel like I was a part of something. But being a part of something has grown into so much more.

Now, a few days before graduation, I sit here thinking, “Why did I take on a journalism minor?”

I continue to unwrap the answer every day. The journalism curriculum at NKU taught me how to spot a story, find a specific angle, and take it from good to great. I am drawn to exceptional stories and can spot areas that can be improved. As an Electronic Media & Broadcasting major, I learned how to incorporate visual storytelling.

My first practical experience with The Northerner was a February weekend spent covering the men’s basketball team. I was certainly nervous, not only about how I would write my article, but with getting it finished and published in a timely manner. I remember taking note of every little detail, but was still unsure about how much to include. But the thing that stood out was the spark I felt. 

I have been surrounded by sports my entire life, so to be involved in a professional manner has always been a dream. Talking about sports has always been easy, so why not write about them? The opportunities provided through journalism can be surreal, from attending games to interviewing coaches and athletes. It just goes to show that what you put in will be returned tenfold. 

Somehow, the outgoing staff decided that my small sample of writing was strong enough to offer me the position of Assistant Sports Editor. Of course I accepted, thus cementing my place on the staff. This role familiarized me with the soccer, volleyball, basketball, and even bowling teams. I traveled to Assembly Hall (!) and covered multiple conference championship games. Simply being present at sporting events is enough for me. But to be able to analyze them and convey my thoughts in print and online? I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Even though class prevented me from attending meetings during the final two months of the semester, I am forever grateful for the meetings I went to and the time spent with the rest of the staff.

Matthew, you have been my closest colleague at The Northerner. Last year, when all the meetings were virtual, I always looked forward to chatting with you every Monday. The discussion didn’t center around assignments, because, you know, I didn’t write a lot at first. But just being able to talk about sports made me more comfortable while I was still getting familiar with the organization. You fulfilled the duties of editor-in-chief as only you could, leading The Northerner with aplomb. I’ll never forget our trip to Indianapolis for the Horizon League tournament, or letting you into the newsroom every Tuesday because you ‘forgot’ your All Card. 

Madison, you were an amazing news editor, and it is a joy to know you as a person. From working in groups in Media Ethics to hearing your first person recaps of SGA meetings, your work ethic and attention to detail are top notch. I wish you the best in your future endeavors, because you will be a key asset in any newsroom.

Michele, you have been a wonderful faculty advisor. I took your feature writing class to expand my work past game recaps, and I’m so glad I did. I now know the importance of telling a story visually by setting a scene, as well as the journey on which an exceptional article can take the reader. You helped me discover a love for telling stories that was previously unknown. 

Thank you, Dr. Jankowski, for teaching me that it is better to be right than first, and that ‘If you’re only writing to see your name in print, you’re doing it for the wrong reason.’ I took these words to heart, shifting my focus from simply trying to become a better writer, to doing it for others’ reactions. I wanted to tell stories in a respectful way that also brought a smile to the reader’s face.

Braden, Mildred, Blake, and Emory, you all killed it this year and I cannot wait to see you take The Northerner to new heights next year. Reading your articles and observing you in the newsroom proves how much passion you have for the craft, and your skills will only improve in your new roles. Truly, congratulations.

To Tracy Songer, Wes Akers, Chris Strobel, and everyone in the EMB department, I can’t say enough good things about you. You opened my eyes to the world of content creation and live broadcast. I truly can’t think of anything to say besides: thank you.

My experiences at NKU, especially in my last year, shaped me into the person I am today, and I would not trade them for anything.

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