It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Graduation number 2022

The Daily is unlike any other organization on campus – for better or for worse.

This journal has been a truly transformative and enriching experience, and has made me a better journalist and designer. But it also continually caused me to question my skills and validity.

I joined the Daily after transferring to Northwestern in the fall of 2019. I came across the table at the Student Organizations Fair and the word “design” caught my eye at the Daily booth. My main goal for my first term at NU was to find a way to get involved in something creative, so I decided to take a leap of faith and show up for the first daily meeting of the term.

Surrounded by freshmen ready to be journalists, I immediately felt uneasy on the third floor of the Norris University Center. However, my desperation to find a way to engage with my new school pushed me into the design room, a place I never expected to spend hundreds of hours in throughout my time at NAKED.

I also quickly realized that those people who had once intimidated me with their knowledge of reporting were no different from me, which gave me the confidence to try introductory journalism courses and eventually declare a major in journalism.

I eventually rose through the ranks, becoming editor during the pandemic when we were tasked with replacing photos with illustrations every night – an indescribably daunting feat. I’m so proud of the work we’ve done during this time, but the hours of unrecognized work have reduced me to a pulp.

Despite my qualms with the paper, there are a few things that made me stay: the sense of belonging, the people at the paper who recognized my hard work, the Dum Dums in the newsroom, and especially my co-editor , Emma Ruck .

During the worst months of the pandemic, we spent an average of eight hours together each print night, poring over word counts, InDesign layouts and last-minute artwork requests. Emma has become one of my best friends, and even with the frustrations of our jobs, those nights have become some of my most cherished memories in college.

Although we spent hours and hours creating the journal from scratch each night, it was hard not to feel underappreciated. I can’t count the number of times we stayed up past 3 a.m. to finalize details, returning from the press room in the middle of the night after exhausting shifts.

We have rarely received recognition for our hard work. Reporting was valued above all else, and the culture of The Daily often made me feel subordinate. This sentiment may not be universal in the newsroom, but I sincerely believe that design is the heart of a newspaper and should be treated as such.

My hope for the future is that the design office continues to grow and evolve, and that the rest of the newsroom can recognize and appreciate the efforts of the designers of The Daily.

In addition to my time as a designer, I wrote an impressive total of four stories and spent a whirlwind of a quarter as a football photographer for Gameday. I am sincerely grateful for the memories I have created on The Daily, such as shooting games at college football’s most iconic stadiums and meeting so many wonderful people over the years.

Three years ago, I could never have predicted the impact The Daily would have on my life. It changed the course of my entire academic career and my perspective on design. This paper really brought me to my knees, but it made me who I am today – and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

E-mail: [email protected]
Twitter: @scharlyculman

About Erin Redding

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