It takes a lot for me to feel pride in my work.
Perhaps this ever-fleeting feeling of satisfaction fuels me to push myself even harder. Or maybe there’s just a gap in my self-confidence that stops me from taking myself too seriously. Whatever it is, it is still something that I’m working on. And I’m okay with that.
Yet, at the risk of sounding cliché or cheesy, my time at The Daily Pennsylvanian has taught me how rewarding the collaborative process can be, and how passion truly fuels meaning and purpose.
The video nook at 4015 Walnut Street, nestled in the corner of the bustling newsroom, is where I’ve always felt the most at home. I can still imagine myself settling into that worn red swivel chair, one hand holding a greasy slice of pizza and the other rearranging video clips in an Adobe Premiere timeline. I can hear pop music blasting from a nearby computer, and observe chaos erupting in the design section over the details of the next day’s print paper. We’re all exhausted, and yet deep down, there is an overwhelming excitement that comes with knowing just how important our reporting is.
In moments like these, my heart swelled with pride, because I knew just how much every single person around me truly cared about the product we were creating. Whether it was a photo essay about the best outdoor study spots on campus, or a hard-hitting story about Penn’s role in the college admissions scandal, we knew what we were publishing had an impact on the Penn community and beyond.
I have had the tremendous privilege of visually documenting some of the more historic events that have taken place over the past several years, many of which I still have not yet processed. Protesters clashing with police over the fatal shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. An entire city celebrating the results of a presidential election. An infectious virus keeping us in lockdown.
While the significance of these events functions independently of my involvement, I understand that my position, particularly as someone part of an organization responsible for thoughtfully and respectfully covering them, was meaningful in its own right. Even more so, my role within the collaborative journalistic process — coordinating coverage with photographers, reporters, copy and news editors, audience engagement associates, etc. — was valuable and, above all, rewarding.
We all became our most creative and hard-working selves while working together, and that’s something to be proud of.
And while I can look back at my work at the DP knowing I gave it everything I had in me, I can also look back and laugh at some of the more … interesting videos I chose to publish. I am often deeply humbled looking back at my earliest work, but I, as well as anyone who has ever been involved in the production process, am acutely aware of the extraordinary effort that goes into making a video. Even with the full knowledge that most of you reading this column have probably never watched a DP video, I’m endlessly grateful for the opportunity to find and tell stories on such a public platform (even if only for a few select people).
Overall, the DP shaped my college experience more than I know, more than I might ever know. And while I wish I had the emotional bandwidth or the authority to offer a more poignant reflection, here’s what I will say:
To the 135th and 136th boards — especially my fellow multimedia board members — thank you for your endless support, patience, and encouragement. Our time together was filled with a messy, beautiful whirlwind of emotions, and I miss it every day.
To the friends I’ve had the privilege of knowing and existing alongside for these past four years, my gratitude is beyond words. You know who you are. I love you all.
Lastly, to my parents — especially my mom, who has emerged from one of the hardest years of her life stronger than ever — I couldn’t have done this without you.
So as we hurtle toward graduation and the uncertainties that come with post-grad life, I can say with confidence that I am proud of myself and endlessly proud of the people who have made this organization what it is.
Long live DP video!
SAGE LEVINE is a graduating College senior from Atlantic Highlands, N.J. studying philosophy, politics, and economics and cinema and media studies. She served as the video editor on The Daily Pennsylvanian’s 136th Board of Editors and Managers, and the video producer on the 135th board. Prior, she was a video associate, videographer, and photographer.