The reaction I got from most people when they heard I started working at my college paper was cutesy, if not dismissive.
People assumed I would be covering club meetings or writing student features. And of course, there’s a place and a demand for that type of content. But the times I’ve been most proud of working at The Daily Tar Heel have been when I saw a student journalist livestreaming the fall of Silent Sam on Facebook. Or when I was able to sit in on the DTH’s oral arguments before the N.C. Supreme Court over UNC’s sexual assault disciplinary records.
I can remember a particularly long night in the office covering the special election in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district. The next morning I received an email from some readers complimenting me personally on our coverage of the race.
“Congratulations on a job well done. You are our local paper of choice.”
That was when I first realized how necessary the DTH is to so many people in Chapel Hill, Orange County and statewide. After that email, I started posting positive reader feedback on a cork board in the office so my writers could get a bit of a pick-me-up when 4 p.m. rolled around. Just as rewarding as the reader feedback was seeing the pride the younger writers had knowing their work had made a difference in someone’s life.