Friday, December 2, 2022

State News is an education

August 13, 2012

Pat Evans

Four years at The State News, and now it’s over.

I stepped foot in this building before I ever went to a class. The time I spent in class and doing homework doesn’t even compare to the amount of time I invested in The State News.

The State News was my college education. Working here gave me insider education and taught me far more about MSU and the city of East Lansing than an average student would know. It taught me how to work in a professional setting.

It showed me that, often, a college class could lag in terms of where a field actually is. So I switched majors.

It is a professional newspaper, competing on a large scale with some major publications. We get a lot of flak from students and East Lansing residents alike. We often put out quality, award-winning work, but we’re also just students — still learning the right and wrong ways to do something. We make mistakes, and we learn from them. But we are in the spotlight and criticized when we mess up. If you get a 1.0 on an exam, only the professor’s note brings down your day a little. A comment or two can ruin a week.

Not only are we trying to keep up with professional newspapers, the ability to say we’re a college paper gives us the chance to try to work toward the future of the industry, trying to push the limits. A lot of professional papers can’t do that.

The best part about this place, though, is it gives us opportunities that no other college students can get.

I was on the USS Carl Vinson for the Carrier Classic. I was courtside. I shook President Barack Obama’s hand, and my co-worker was shafted, which always will be a better story. This fall, the paper will send reporters to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. During my freshman year, it sent students to Obama’s inauguration.

I’ve schmoozed with politicians, covered riots and elections and talked at length with some of the greatest athletes to ever grace this campus.

It gave me the opportunity to connect with former MSU and NFL running back T.J. Duckett, who has helped inspire me to help everyone else in my path in life, while giving me the chance to further my writing career.

It helped me develop the design skills to make a baseball card résumé that got me a job with Topps Company.

Just like any other office place, like-minded friendships developed. Although, it was unique in the fact that it rotates many of the people who come in and out every semester. I’ve met several people whom I now consider my best friends and will be for life. My girlfriend, too. That is what college is about, but it feels different because we poured blood, sweat and tears into this place and spend upward of 40 hours a week together.

The thing that brings us together the most, including alumni, is the annual football game against the Michigan Daily. The hatred is mutual and strong. The games are intense and turn from touch to basically tackle. The memories from those games and the time in the newsroom make us one tight-knit group.

State News alumni are even more tightly knit than MSU alumni. One of the best college beat writers, Joe Rexrode, makes sure to mentor those who cover basketball and football. We’ve partied with Pulitzer Prize winner M.L. Elrick.

We have alumni at some of the best publications in the world. We have some of the best journalists in the world.

Some of us don’t go into the life of journalism, but we still had quite the experience in college.
The professional staff here is awesome.

They spend their lives helping to shape a young generation in an industry so many people have deemed to be dying. They keep their noses out of the work, but help out when we make big mistakes. They know us far better than a professor could hope to in just a semester.

Everything is coming to an end. This is the last thing I’ll write for the paper. Tuesday’s my last day in the building and my last trip to Campus Corner — a place I’ve visited daily for three years.

I’ve missed out on a lot of experiences college students have had, but gained many more in my four years at The State News. I’ve learned to look at the big picture of a business rather than just the writing side. I did it all while getting paid very little, but I’d still do it all over again.

I can’t thank this place and the people — and all of MSU — enough for these past four years.

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