Editorial: Mixing pleasure and professionalism – four years at Signal ‘so good’

Former Editor in chief Kristen Anastos and I just returned from watching the graduation clock in the Rat tick down 17 days. Our countdown is actually shorter. We have one day – one night, rather – until life as we know it halts: This is our last Signal.

We have about six hours to recall the past four years spent in this windowless basement room – both the professional and personal memories. But tonight, there will be no crying over commas or cursing the corrupted computers. Tonight, we have only U2, The Killers, Domino’s and Carlo Rossi to write a great ending to this story (the story behind the stories) that, if these kryptonite-green walls could talk, would tell of rants and rivalries, glaring errors, late-night Cole calls, broken printers and broken hearts.

Yes, these dramadies make The Signal what it is. An editor will not remember misspelling “Gitenstein” in a headline – but she will remember spilling garlic sauce on her capris and leaving the stinky mess in the basement bathroom overnight for the info desk staff to find in the morning.

That is why, as Editor in chief, I have made it my goal this semester to make sure the entire staff enjoyed what they were doing. My philosophy about this position was not to be a dictator of layout or content, but rather a facilitator to provide guidelines for doing it right and have a lot of fun along the way.

This has been the philosophy of the paper for the past year-and-a-half, and I can honestly say that I am proud of all that The Signal, as a whole, has become since then. But that was only accomplished because each staff member has been so dedicated to this paper, as well as journalism in general. I couldn’t be more proud of each of you:

My fellow “Features Hos” – Tammy, Donna, Becky and Daniela: your motivation is exceptional. Tammy, I can’t wait to see your byline in the Times. Donna, you’ve become a phenomenal features writer for the (other) Times. Becky, you do it all – I bet you’ll be EIC by the end of your sophomore year. Daniela, I really appreciate our boy-bashing sessions; you are going to be a star at the AC Press this summer.

Audrey and Katelyn: Amy would be proud of you guys. Thanks for keeping entertainment entertaining (and thanks, Audrey, for Iraq essay pointers).

Andrew and Matt: “Sprots” won’t be the same without you, Andrew, but Matt, I know you’ll run an awesome section (especially if you keep Kari Post around).

Marty: Where to begin? How about Paramus Catholic, eight years ago. Who, at that time, would have thought we’d be spending Monday nights in a dungeon together? Keep in touch in North Jerz.

Zac: Thanks for whipping those Opinions writers into shape. Sorry we couldn’t get you a steady editorial cartoonist.

Eve: I’m glad you stuck around through all the confusion at the beginning of last semester. You’re one of the most dedicated photo editors we’ve had in a while.

Matt S.: You made your mark on this paper with the “rejected students day” ad. Now you’re really one of us.

Sarah: In your quiet corner, you devoutly fact-checked. Good luck with the move up to Copy Editor – you’ll be fantastic (as long as you memorize every page of the AP stylebook this summer).

John: Thanks for being social (unlike other art editors) and offensive (the Pope Maze is a classic). Please don’t let the documentary be too abrasive (translation: cut the scenes of me singing, please!)

Jaclyn: Signal-Online has never looked better. I’m glad your experience at The Signal has allowed you to reconcile your love for English with the need to make money – your dad must be proud!

Joe A: No other business guy has hung out with us so much. Thanks for coming around, and thanks for taking on so much responsibility next semester. I’m sure Rich is extremely happy with his successor.

Matt Fair: You are a better writer than Ryan McDermott. I know you’ve waited years for me to say that. I trust that The Signal is in good hands next year.

Kristen (Chief forever): There’s no way to capture, in coherent writing, our experiences together over the past four years, so I’m just going to throw a bunch of words out there and try to make you cry as you think about how much they mean to us: Travers 5, Anthony, beef jerky, Josee, Crystal Diner, Jeanine, “I love Fiore!”, JBo, hockey beat, homewrecker, Incubus, alcohol poisoning. You are an incredible editor and I hope that one day you will be my First Amendment lawyer.

And of course, the journalism department always helped The Signal along – Kim Pearson, Bob Cole and Donna Shaw. I’d like to extend a special thanks to Donna, who has made a great effort to help us out and get to know us even though she only joined the faculty in September.

To everyone I just mentioned, I hope I have helped you with your journalistic pursuits in some way. If I was any support to you, I will know I have done my job. And my job could not have been done without my family (mom and dad especially), Christine, Joyce, Amy, U2 and acrylics (Teresa) and Desperate Housewives.

Tonight, when I lock those double wooden doors of The Signal office for the last time, I’ll look back and realize how much I will miss this place. But “like a star, I’ll shine” as I move on to NYU Journalism, making my way where “the streets have no name,” always wishing for better circumstances but perhaps not appreciating those in which I currently find myself.

As this night winds down, thoughts of Signal goodbyes past fill my mind. It’s three years ago, and six Signal editors are in Kristen’s car on our way to Crystal Diner after the last production night. It’s 5 a.m. and the sun is just coming up. We turn on the CD player in her ’92 Ford Explorer, blasting Better than Ezra’s “Good.” The entire car is screaming, “it was good … wa-how … it was gooo-oo-oood,” thinking about how good working for The Signal was – not just because we wanted to be journalists, but because we had such a good time with each other. All these years later, we still listen to the song and agree, Signal, “yeah you were so good.”