I must have said it a hundred times during my three years as a reporter and editor at The Daily Pennsylvanian.
“This sentence has to go. It’s too cliched.”
So when I sat down to write my farewell column, I told myself I couldn’t let my last byline be a cliche. Most senior columns are full of them.
Instead, I told myself I’d write about the importance of the DP to the Penn ecosystem. I’d write about the successes and pitfalls of college students reporting on the micro-society they inhabit and the administration that oversees it. I’d write about how administrators read the DP every morning.
Perhaps I could write about the nine months in 2013 I spent reporting for a series on sexual assault at Penn. About how my editor, Sarah Smith, and I interviewed dozens of people: advocates, University administrators, academic experts and, most importantly, survivors of sexual assault (Sarah deserves all the credit for those last interviews). I could describe our poll of students’ opinions and knowledge about sexual violence at Penn. I’d write how we discovered that resources for survivors of assault are so decentralized that many students simply didn’t know where to get help.
And then I’d brag about how, after our series ran, the University decided to significantly beef up the New Student Orientation sexual assault education session.
Or maybe, I thought, instead of writing something sappy, I could write about how the DP served as a forum for community discussion about mental health after the tragic suicides last school year. I’d write about the dozens of stories that put a mirror up to our culture and examined inadequacies in mental health resources. I would say how proud I am of the reporters and editors at the DP for covering such a difficult topic with grace and sensitivity.
If I decided to write about mental health, I’d mention my belief that our aggressive coverage contributed to the University assigning a task force to investigate mental wellness at Penn. And I’d mention how disappointed I was with the task force’s recommendations, which amounted to nothing more than an over-hyped public relations stunt. (The whole report took nearly a year to compile and ended up being 8 pages long; the NFL’s “deflategate” report took four months and ran well over 200 pages.)
I could write about the countless beautiful profiles that told the stories of unique people. Or I could mention how the DP connects Penn students to the broader community they live in and localizes national issues — I did spend a year covering politics, after all.
But after thinking about all the serious, non-sappy things I could write in my senior column, I realized it was my colleagues that made my experience at the DP so valuable. So instead of writing a Sorkin-esque lecture about the value of college journalism, I decided it was more important to thank the amazing people of 4015 Walnut.
Readers beware: cliche ahead.
Sarah and Seth, just meeting you two would have made my time at the DP worth it. You’re the best friends I could ask for, and I’ll really miss you when I’m on the West Coast.
To Jody, Harry and Fiona: Thank you so much for being my Blue Room partners in crime (and complaining). You’re all amazing.
Gaby, Jenny, Javier and the rest of the 128 Red Room staff were some of my first DP friends. Long live the Copy Vets. Thanks to Julie, Jen, Anjali and others who welcomed me into the culture of the DP when I joined the board midway through the 128 as a shy sophomore. Members of the 130 wouldn’t believe how quiet I was at first.
Shout out to @DPBoiBand for all the great tweets.
And, finally, to everyone else — Mike, Huizhong, Michele, Glenn, Alex, Spencer, Jill, Steven J., Steven T., Jen Yu, Amanda, Ellen, Gianni and so many more: Thanks for making my DP experience as great as it was.
I hope my editor doesn’t think this column is too sappy or cliched. I would.
WILL MARBLE is a College senior from Erdenheim, PA. He is a former news editor, copy editor and staff reporter for The Daily Pennsylvanian. His email address is email@example.com.
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