We came into this semester excited to lead The State News in our final semester of college.
We expected excitement as commencement approached, fear and apprehension at the uncertainty of the future and tears as we said our goodbyes to the place that helped mold us into the professionals we are today.
We got all that — plus the most challenging semester of our four years. And we had to lead a newsroom through it.
The night of Feb. 13 tested the depths of our leadership capabilities. The 72 hours that followed may be the hardest thing we’ve ever done and the most challenging story we’ll ever report on. It was a defining moment in our lives, and like every other MSU student, it will never leave us. It’s a permanent fixture in our life story.
The weight of informing our student community was on our shoulders that night, and while we felt that pressure, we also felt a sense of purpose. Knowing that our editorial decisions helped the MSU community heal, even just a little bit, helped us cope with everything.
We led coverage on alumni support after the shooting. We highlighted students’ stories during the chaos. We listened to the 911 calls from Berkey Hall, even though it was some of the most difficult audio we've ever had to listen to.
Feb. 13 was not the only story this year, either. MSU has seen many other defining moments before and since that night. We, The State News, were there to cover it all and inform our community the best we could.
We watched our university president and Board of Trustees fight in a months-long battle that ended with the president resigning. We led our staff in combing through Title IX documents and investigations to determine what went wrong. Through our coverage, we pushed for change in reporting protocols for relationship violence and sexual misconduct.
We cringed as our football team went 5-7 in our senior season. We held back tears when the basketball team returned to the court after the tragedy. We cheered when they kept dancing all the way to the Sweet Sixteen.
We slept in the office to cover a contentious midterm election. We attended rallies and watch parties to give students the best image of their candidate choices possible. We attended protests and gave a voice to the social issues students cared about most. We were out on election day, shining a light on a community that could help decide statewide winners.
We made sure The State News covered it all.
We advocated for student journalism to MSU administration, MSU Police and Public Safety, East Lansing Police Department and other opposition. We stood together when the Twitter comments got harsh, and it felt like our hard work was pushing us in circles. We knew the value of The State News and upheld it.
We didn’t do everything perfectly. We know that. But we did everything in our power to support the 70 student journalists within our newsroom and inform the thousands of people who call Michigan State University home.
This is not how we planned this year to go.
Despite all the chaos, though, we still stayed together through it all. We partied in basements together to mark the start and end of each semester. We sat down together to talk about plans after college and how to achieve our goals when we leave 435 E. Grand River Ave. Hayrides, bowling nights and staying in the office far too late gave us memories that, luckily, can sometimes overshadow the darker moments this school year has brought.
We are most proud of the work this newsroom has done this year, but we are also proud to be a part of a social circle that is formed through both our love for journalism and the stressful moments that come with it.
To our readers, we hope we did you proud.
We hope we gave you informative, concise, student-centric news that kept you informed on the university you decided to attend.
We hope you look back on this year and see The State News as a constant force in what has been a whirlwind of a year.
But most importantly, we hope you continue to read, listen and engage with your student newspaper. We do what we do for you.
Goodbye State News and goodbye Michigan State University. We hope we did you proud.