Martinez reflects on time with The Rider News

By Amethyst Martinez

When I first began contributing to The Rider News four years ago as an unpaid photographer and writer, I remember looking at the job of executive editor in awe. It felt like an unattainable dream, something that I never could accomplish during my time at Rider. I looked up to my executive editor as a leader, trailblazer in the Rider community and someone I wanted to be during my journalistic career. I remember thinking to myself: “That’s incredible. But not me, of course.” 

When I landed the job as features and entertainment editor my sophomore year, it felt unreal. Now, I had a place in the newsroom and a desk I could call my own. I had an incredible co-editor who I immediately clicked with, and I felt so lucky every single Monday and Tuesday we’d work alongside all of the other editors and copy editors. 

“I found my people,” I thought. 

Then, a pinnacle point in my life toward the end of my sophomore year spring semester put me on a split path. Feature and entertainment writing wasn’t my style – but I thought journalism was just a bust and not what I wanted to do. I told myself that I was going to run for managing editor, and if I got it, it was my sign to continue journalism. 

I remember winning managing editor like it was this morning. The shaky hands, the jumping and crying with joy as soon as I walked out of the newsroom after finding out. I felt like I had just won the election of a lifetime, and maybe I did have a chance at being a journalist. I knew that everyone that chose me took a risk, and I wasn’t the safe choice. I knew I had to prove myself, and I took the responsibility incredibly seriously. 

I remember winning executive editor a year later. I cried all the way home. I was going to run the newsroom with every single fiber of my being. 

By Maggie Kleiner/The Rider News

Now, here I am, leaving my post as executive editor to someone who I know will be amazing. I’m leaving a newsroom that I have watched grow. A newsroom that I have found a home in, just as those who came before me have done for generations. Some of the students in that newsroom in Longstreet House I have seen as worried freshmen turning in their first story, to section editors, and executive and managing editors. All of them deserve this. It’s in safe hands, and I know they will continue the legacy of this campus newspaper so that journalism students can take over afterward.

This past year, this newspaper has been my everything. I have nurtured it, cared for it, given so much of my time and resources to it – and I wouldn’t change it for the world. 

To the students reading, I want to thank you for letting me tell your stories the past four years. Some of you have told me the hardest points in your life, times where you struggled. Some of you have also told me the best points in your life. I am so incredibly grateful for all of those conversations, including the in-betweeners who may have just been my last-minute source. 

To the faculty, staff and administration reading this, thank you for allowing me to practice being a journalist, and for dealing with me when I needed a quote from you the night before we went to print. Now, you no longer will have to read my constant follow-up emails if you didn’t answer me for a day. Some of you have become my mentors, people I look up to. I extend my deepest gratitude for everything you’ve done for me. 

And for my newsroom, I will miss you. I will miss the unvacuumed floors, the painted bricks of those that came before us. The squeaky chairs and Cranberry’s runs. I will miss every single thing. 

As for me, it’s time to move on. I will never forget this place, but The Rider News has done what it does best and will do for many years to come: provide a safe space for student-journalists to learn, in this case, be myself. I’m so happy I didn’t give up being a journalist. I’m so happy that I get to continue doing the thing I love the most, something I thought I wasn’t made for just two years ago. But I wouldn’t have been able to without my sources, my friends. This experience has changed my life for the better, and I will never, ever forget what The Rider News has taught me. 

I am leaving not only a better journalist, but a better person. 

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