Since I started writing here, I’ve tried a lot of punchy ledes. But now, I can keep it simple.
After four years, eight semesters and plenty more memories, this is my final byline at The Daily Tar Heel.
From my first story on a UNC volleyball match in September 2016 to this column — my 239th DTH story, according to the website — it’s been a heck of a journey filled with its share of chaos and joy and fueled by a nonstop supply of medium caramel iced coffees from Dunkin’ Donuts.
The DTH has changed significantly since I arrived in Chapel Hill. It’s gone from printing five days a week to four to three; worked out of 151 E. Rosemary St, 109 E. Franklin St. and the UNC journalism school’s basement in between; and faced the tough decisions and unavoidable struggles of any media organization in the country that’s existed over the last decade.
But in many ways, it’s stayed the same. And that’s what I’m proud of.
The paper still gets printed and picked up and read (long live the crossword); my colleagues on the University and investigation desks still report relentlessly on UNC and hold it accountable (see: Silent Sam settlement); and the sports desk still covers every team UNC athletics has to offer (believe it or not, there are stories outside of just college football and men’s basketball).
Since my DTH career began and ended there, on the sports desk, that’s where most of my thank yous will go. I took over as desk editor as a last-second backup choice my sophomore year, and I was absolutely in over my head.
North Carolina men’s basketball was gearing up to defend its national championship, which required top-tier coverage on its own. Construction was moving the men’s and women’s soccer teams to Cary and the field hockey team to Durham for home games, a struggle for our many writers without cars on campus.
The entire newsroom was working under the stress of a potential move and drastic budget cuts. Our desk had lost a slew of writers to graduation and other publications, leaving me and two assistants — none of whom had any DTH editing experience — to run things on the fly.