Older people around me seem to recall and demark eras of their lives by the presidential administration, and it always seems somehow delightfully old-fashioned and nostalgic to me when my parents refer to “the Carter administration” or “the Nixon years” rather than “the seventies.” For no reason pertaining to my political opinions, I think I will remember being a student journalist during the Obama administration.
My first big story was to cover his inauguration at the Anthill Pub; it was showing live Tuesday morning and the pub put on a sort of brunch event to commemorate the occasion. I was 19, inexperienced in reporting, and timid to approach people for comments — a bad combination for covering a story at the pub. Armed with an analogue cassette tape recorder, which I still use to this day, I started off by asking people how they felt at a very historic moment in time. Fortunately they were selling $1 mimosas that morning and the cheesiness of my questions went unnoticed. People were giddy and eager to chat and wax poetic as they felt their words were going down in cultural history. Some people talked about the achievement of the first black president, or how fortunate they felt that the first election in which they could vote was so historic and controversial. Everybody talked about Aretha Franklin’s ridiculous and fabulous hat. It was gray with a giant sparkly bow, if you don’t remember.
It’s more than two years later, and I’ve been reporting and editing for news since. I am 21 and about to go to law school. I spend a hefty amount of my free time at the pub, and the big hats in the media are odd extra-terrestrial looking headpieces from the royal wedding. I stopped long ago feeling creepy or invasive asking people to comment for a story, and still get looks for rewinding the cassette tape player before interviews.
It seems like all over things of giant importance in my personal landscape are coming to a close — the search for Osama bin Laden, the most wanted man since I was 12, the Harry Potter series, the Borders of my hometown, oldies radio as we know it and my Costco membership. I don’t know exactly what all this means, both for the world and my personal bulk-shopping needs, but regardless, things are changing and I’m excited for a new era. Maybe current events will run a new course, maybe I’ll find a new movie series to obsess over for the next decade, or buy a Kindle or maybe I’ll switch to Sam’s Club. I really have no idea what is going to happen, but I hope I can continue writing, and the friendships I’ve made by writing, in times to come.
Working in news has been a pleasure. I’ve enjoyed the company and camaraderie of a fun, creative and dedicated staff. I want to extend a special thanks to all contributors to the news section this year — we couldn’t make a paper happen without you. Hugs and fist-bumps to my news cohorts Maxine and Greg, our fearless leaders David and Traci, and to the entire editorial and layout staff with whom I’ve had the privilege of spending almost every Sunday. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, and wish all the best to next year’s staff. Spending inane amounts of time with you people has been one of the best things I have done in college.
I truly believe in the pandemonium that is student newspapers. As beginning journalists we strive to report on the world around us, and in the process we make mistakes, discoveries, bad coffee, awkward phone calls and most of our deadlines. But most importantly we make a free weekly publication for the campus to read. We are a growing and improving publication, much as UCI is a growing and improving school, and fill a special role in covering the stuff your friends, professors, peers and neighbors contribute to the community. If you’re reading this, consider what you like in the paper, and what you’d change. Participation in the paper, by writing, taking photos, drawing comics or submitting letters to the editor, helps us to grow and serve you better.
Thank you, everyone, for a great four-years time.
Suzanne Casazza is a fourth-year English major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.