The time has finally come: the very last Tripod editorial of our Trinity careers. It’s a bittersweet moment for us to stop and reflect back on our time with the paper, how it’s grown, and how we’ve grown in the process too. Sitting down to write the final editorial of our time as Co-Editors-in-Chief feels surreal. Both of us have served on the Tripod since our freshmen years, and it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that this is our final issue.
When I think back on my time on the Tripod, I honestly get a little stressed, or at least I used to. The Tripod has come to represent more than just an extracurricular activity for me, although it was never just that. Through my own personal academic explorations and constantly developing morals, I’ve come to value the concept of open access to knowledge as one of my primary principles that I try to work towards in different areas of my life, and help others work towards as well. Developing my morals and sense of what ethical journalism is, defined by the New York Times as covering the news “as impartially as possible — ‘without fear or favor,’” has become a central mission of my time at Trinity. Sometimes one has to decide between what is right and what is expected, and the Tripod has taught me to handle these situations with grace and composure.
A moral compass and impartial information are not the only things the Tripod can provide students with. I’ve gained a few lifelong friends on this paper, and the potential to find community in such a space is one of the most comforting things a college-aged student can hope for in embarking upon this four-year journey. There have been ups and downs, but as members of this paper have grown out of themselves, back into themselves, and back a few times again, we’ve come to a point where we can meet in the middle as real, true friends.
I’ve gained a sense of confidence that couldn’t have been found anywhere else. You lose a certain sense of shame when you send that third follow-up email to a student you’ve never talked to before, or Joanne Berger-Sweeney herself. You lose a certain sense of shame when you get told what you wrote was garbage, or hear it from someone else. Putting your name on a story is daunting, but it is worth it to make sure the facts are told. We have seen what happens when power is taken from the people and the press, we have watched it unfold in front of our eyes while we have been students on this campus. There is a responsibility that we bear as we leave this paper and this school behind, and that responsibility is to ensure that we contribute to the greater good that is the dissemination of knowledge and the truth.
When I think back on my time on the Tripod, what really sticks out to me is how working on the paper has reinforced a profound appreciation and respect for viewpoint diversity. I began writing for the Tripod my freshman year as a very opinionated and politically-focused writer. I soon progressed to become an Opinion editor my sophomore year, and only then did I begin to understand the importance of discussion across political lines, of engaging with viewpoints across the entire political spectrum. I had gone from a close-minded talker to an open-minded listener, all thanks to the Tripod.
Switching to the News section instilled in me a surprising sense of confidence; having to cold-call school officials and all sorts of individuals I had never met before was a huge adjustment, but ultimately the struggle was worth it, and my professional communication skills are all the better for it. I really do believe that reporting our campus news comes with an implicit responsibility to convey the truth both accurately and fairly, and I can look back proudly on my work knowing that we did our best to tackle the good and the bad, the easy and the difficult.
Most importantly, though, the Tripod has afforded me some of my most enjoyable college experiences, plus some amazing friendships to go with it. Those late Monday wine nights in the Tripod office will always hold a special place in my heart. Kat, Liz, I’m so glad we got to make the Tripod great again, together.
It’s been both an honor and a privilege to jointly run this paper for the past year. Admittedly, taking the reins after Brendan Clark ’21 was a daunting task, but we had great leadership to start us on our way. We continue to look up to his dedication to Trinity and the Tripod even as he pursues his studies at William and Mary Law School.
We now look to the future with high hopes, for the Tripod will remain in competent, capable hands. We look forward to passing the paper down to Jack Carroll ’24 and Skyler Simpkins ’23, for both students have consistently proven their dedication, talent, and commendable work ethics in serving as Co-Managing Editors this past semester. They will contribute their own values and develop their own sense of how a paper should be run, and we look forward to watching them do this.
-KJN & DJN