April 20, 2001

STAFF EDITORIAL: Thirty-one papers and I still can?t fill this damned space

By Chris Baucom
April 20, 2001

Chris Baucom

It?s customary for departing editors-in-chief to write a swan song explaining all they?ve learned and thanking all the people who have helped-and sometimes hindered-them along the way. I will attempt to do just that, but fully explaining what the Technique and Georgia Tech mean to me is simply impossible to do in the space allocated here; I don?t think mere words can describe the experience. My tenure has been intensely personal, sometimes painful, but strangely fulfilling-and more rewarding than I ever thought possible.

I have grown in many respects, but especially by working with others, learning how to play the game of politics at Georgia Tech (even when I hate it), knowing when to take a stand and when to back off, and knowing that some battles are worth fighting more than others.

I?ve learned my own limitations, but in the process I?ve been amazed by how much I can get accompished despite my shortcomings. I wish everyone could have the same experiece.

But more importantly, I?ve learned that there?s more to life than a student newspaper, university politics, and conspiracy theories surrounding secret societies. Over the last year, it has been my duty to Georgia Tech to make the newspaper my life, but my identity is not wrapped up in being Editor-in-Chief of the Technique. It?s just a title, a job with cool perks, and a unique opportunity to work with some of the most outstanding people I?ll probably ever meet. We all had the same goal-continually working for a better university-even though we went about it in different ways, sometimes disagreeing vehemently. I?m looking foward to getting my life back, but at the same time I?m sorry that such an exciting and rewarding phase in my life is drawing to a close. I?ll still work towards a better Georgia Tech, doing whatever is necessary at the moment to achieve that goal. It just won?t be through my involvement with that august news organization known as the Technique.

It?s hard to believe we have produced 31 papers since the start of my administration last year. We?ve spent 31 Wedesnday nights poring over stories, layouts and photos until our eyes hurt from the glow of our cheerful Macintosh monitors, our stomachs complained after one too many slices of greasy pizza, and our backs ached from being awake for far too long. For 31 issues, we have dealt with personal and organizational crises, overcome our own shortcomings, and sometimes spent the night in the office because we are dedicated to each other, the newspaper, and to the Georgia Tech student body.

It hasn?t always been easy; I can attest that running a college newspaper is often a logisitcal, political, and social nightmare, but we made it through.

I went through hell and back because of some of my choices in roommates, friends, affiliations, and employees. I was criticized for editorial and political decisions I made. I was information technology guru, public relations director, organizational behavior analyst, and total quality management expert all rolled up into one-and received both praise and criticism for each of those roles.

Despite the bad, everything was worth it in the end.

I will not remember the advertising controversies, that heinous middle-east story, factual and typographical errors that evaded us week after week, inappropriate sliver boxes, the threat of libel lawsuits, last-minute printer emergencies, or having our clocks stolen.

I will rember the fun we had with the April Fools and To Hell With Georgia editions and our late-night escapes in Athens distributing THWUGA. I?ll remember the random encounters I had with readers, overhearing them talk about something in the ?Nique and then joining their conversation without them ever knowing I was responsible for what they were reading.

I will remember the office antics such as playing ?Nique composite bingo, Sharky-official weddings, staff ?hazing,? meeting the editors of the Emory Wheel, and playing ?light as a feather, stiff as a board? at my home in Macon.

I will remember having an office with a ?window? and being dunked in the shaft fountain on the coldest night of the month after being elected editor.

Yes, I will remember the people-both from within and outside the paper-whom I?ve met and befriended over the years. Not the politics. Not the long hours spent in the office. Not the hardships.

I?m placing the paper in good hands; next year?s leaders are positioned to take the paper to the next level. I hope I was able to prepare them in some way for the task that lies ahead. The task is, quite simply, to know everything and everybody, filter out what?s most important in the lives of Tech students, and then objectively report it. The concept is quite simple, but the application, well, that?s another story.

There are so many individuals who have helped me-both personally and professionally-during my time at Tech, and I wish I could extend a personal ?thank you? to each one. But by naming a few, I would inevitably leave out dozens more so I?ll restrict my public thanks to a few groups: my friends, who kept me sane; my roommates, who provided a welcoming home; and my staff, without whom the paper would simply not exist. Thank you.

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