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Senior Farewell: Editor-in-Chief Matthew Dietz

May 6, 2022

As someone who was born and raised in the Greater Cincinnati area, I was very familiar with NKU’s campus and my surroundings going into my freshman year. At that time in my life, I was a pretty reserved, quiet person, content with where I was in life and not as willing to take risks or step too far outside my comfort zone. 

In some ways, that was a good thing. Going to college just a few miles away from my hometown allowed me to have a smooth, easy transition into the next phase of my life. However, at the same time, being so close to my comfort zone perhaps made me more reluctant to take chances early in my college career.

Going into my sophomore year, I began to change that. After taking most of my gen-ed requirements during my first year, I was really able to dive into my journalism degree during my sophomore year, with nearly all my classes in the journalism department, taught by some of the most intelligent and welcoming professors that I had at NKU.

It was during the spring semester of 2020 that I took the class that ended up changing the entire trajectory of my college career, Michele Day’s JOU 380 class. In the class, almost all of our assignments were geared toward creating content for The Northerner, and working directly with their outstanding team of editors.

It was an intimidating challenge at first, but after being in college for almost 16 months to that point, I told myself it was finally time to take that next step and apply the journalism skills that I had to real world situations. Under the guidance of Sports Editor Sierra Newton, I started covering the NKU basketball team during the 2019-20 season, going to games, attending postgame press conferences and writing stories about the Norse.

It was an incredible experience and it gave me so much confidence in my ability to do the same for the rest of the semester and beyond. 

Alas, in March of 2020, the world as we knew it would be turned completely upside down due to the pandemic. School moved online, sporting events were canceled and much of the positive momentum that I had was halted. That is, until about three months later, when I was offered the position of Sports Editor at The Northerner, mainly as a result of the work that I had produced in the 380 class.

I took the job in the midst of the pandemic, as NKU Athletics were still at a standstill and gave everything I had to provide Norse Nation with interesting and engaging content on a regular basis. Despite some restrictions in place when it came time to cover different games, the experience still gave me a lot of confidence in myself and allowed me to really start to settle into my role on the staff.

Last May, I was offered the position of Editor-in-Chief at The Northerner. It was an incredible honor, and a distinction that I regarded with the utmost respect and integrity. Stepping in as Editor-in-Chief gave me some of the best experiences that I could have ever hoped for as a college student trying to learn as much as I could about journalism, and as a person looking to develop better leadership skills.

I could write an entirely separate article about what this past year, my senior year, has meant to me but to summarize, it was completely transformative. Leading a staff of 16 editors, helping the paper to reach new heights and doing more public speaking than I ever had in my life, gave me an experience that I am forever grateful for with an incredible group of people that are all going to go on and do some amazing things.

If there is a lesson to be found in the four years that I had at NKU, it is that life is often unpredictable. You can come into college thinking that you know how you want your four years to go, but you never really know how it will unfold until it’s over. There are so many kind, intelligent people at NKU willing to help you learn, grow and step into new opportunities if you are just willing to take a chance on yourself and step out of your comfort zone. To anyone who is reading this that may find themselves in a similar situation that I was in, I hope you take that to heart, and understand that college is such a valuable time and if you explore the opportunities that exist out there, you never know what may happen.

There are many people that I would like to say thank you to for my experience at NKU.

Michele: One of the most kind and patient people that I have met, the lessons that you taught me both in the classroom and with The Northerner were so incredibly valuable and made me a better person and a better journalist over my four years. You believed in me when I first stepped in as editor-in-chief and you were there to support me every step of the way, and that is one of the biggest takeaways that I will remember from my four years here. Thank you for everything!

Madison: We found ourselves in similar situations when we took over as Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor together last May and we were both able to learn from one another and develop our leadership skills together. I feel very grateful to have known you and worked alongside you at The Northerner this year!

Brendan: Without you, the sports section of The Northerner would never have been able to achieve the heights that it did this year. You are incredibly talented, not just as a writer, but as a content creator, podcast host and so much more. Our trip to Indianapolis to cover the Horizon League Tournament is one of the best memories that I will take with me as I graduate.

Braden and Mildred: Watching both of you grow in your writing and your leadership over this past year gives me so much confidence that you two are going to be excellent leaders next year. You both are so ready for this and I can’t wait to see the amazing work that you do as the next editor-in-chief and managing editor!

Emory, Cameron, Dylan: Three of the most talented photographers/videographers that I have had the privilege to get to know and work with. All three of you elevated our coverage this year with the powerful visuals that you created and I know that all three of you have very bright futures ahead of you! Also, Emory, I’m very glad that we had the opportunity to go to Indianapolis and cover the tournament. It was a really fun experience!

Blake: You’re going to do outstanding as the next Sports Editor! Your knowledge of so many different sports is going to help you right from the start, and with the writing talent that you have, I can’t wait to see the content that you are able to produce and the future of the sports section!

Former Northerner Coworkers: Natalie, Josh, Sierra, Kane and the many other people that I had the privilege to work with, thank you for all that you did for me and for the publication. You all set the standard that we strived to achieve this year, and I really appreciate all the advice that you offered to me on working with The Northerner and how to be the best leader and writer that I could be.

My Professors: Throughout my time at NKU I was blessed to have some of the best professors that each helped me to learn and grow in different ways. NKU is a special place and it is because of the work that you do that allows students to leave campus with the confidence and skills that they can take out into the world and apply. Thank you for showing me the way and helping me further my education and knowledge of many different topics!

Norse Nation: It was an honor to be able to cover NKU Athletics and the many teams that we have at NKU over the last two years. To see the support and the kind words that so many Norse fans offered me when I published new articles was such a joy to me. The Norse fan base is dedicated, loyal and truly incredible, and it was an honor to be able to tell the stories of NKU teams and student-athletes to you over the past two years. Our next Sports Editor is one of the most talented sports writers that I have met and I know you all will enjoy the work that he does over this next year!

There are a lot of other people that I could list and talk about the impact that they had on me during my time with The Northerner, but to those of you that I did not mention above, thank you for everything! Despite many unexpected obstacles, my time at NKU was a terrific experience, and I know that I will carry the experiences that I had and the lessons that I learned here into the rest of my life.

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