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123 years of journalism: All the reasons why we love The Daily Tar Heel

One day a year, staffers and editors at The Daily Tar Heel gather in the newsroom to cut a cake and sing happy birthday to the newspaper that has given all of us so much. It's time again to celebrate 123 years of award-winning, ass-kicking student journalism at The Daily Tar Heel.

The Daily Tar Heel gave me a home and a family at UNC, and I've spent most of my UNC career here in this cozy office at 151 E. Rosemary St. I'm a senior, so this is my last DTH birthday I'll ever celebrate in the office with a big piece of cake and a lot of love for journalism. I'll always remember the cake and the memories from my four years here.

I decided to make a list of all the reasons many of us will forever be grateful for the opportunities and experiences the DTH has given us over the years — and just simply why we love this place. (Disclaimer: I did try to make a list of 123. Oh well.)

Here's to you, The Daily Tar Heel.

1. It’s the only place on campus where I’m not judged for my absurd coffee consumption or weird sleep habits. — Lauren Kent, state and national senior writer

2. Whenever I think of any of my favorite college memories, almost all of them are in some way tied to the Daily Tar Heel. It's not a stretch to say the DTH made me a journalist. I knew I wanted to be one but had literally no idea where to start. But on weekdays, I would go to J-School classes and study and then immediately go to the DTH where I got my real education in journalism. I learned how to report on politics, how to talk to sources, how to pitch a story and how to strip out the extra words in my writing to make it as accessible as possible all at the DTH. There is something really amazing about a bunch of rowdy, brash and cocky college students sending people out into the open to go say, report at the N.C. Republican Party's victory party on election night, but doing that taught me how to pursue the stories. I still carry those lessons to this day. More importantly, the friendships I made there still last. Two roommates I have had in DC were former DTHers. We meet and have dinner and watch the Heels play Duke together. Working at that office on Rosemary builds a bond that is hard to fray. — Eric Garcia, DTH alumnus, Class of 2014

3. I love the DTH because it has given me opportunities that other people dream of experiencing! I also love the DTH because we share the same birthday. I feel like that makes us twins. — Katie Williams, photo editor

4. Professionally, I'm grateful for the DTH because it gave me the opportunity to cover President Obama (twice), Michelle Obama (twice), and report at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. I wouldn't have gotten my internships without my experience at the DTH- I learned way more there than I ever did at the J school. Personally, I'm grateful because it gave me a community within UNC. I met some of my best friends there. I met my college boyfriend there! Being a part of the DTH made me feel like I was part of something special and important, and I'm very grateful for getting to experience that every day for four years. — Maddy Will, DTH alumnus, Class of 2014

5. I love that we aren't above writing about three nerds streaking through an Econ class. — Bradley Saacks, director of enterprise

6. I love working for José (Valle, design editor). Even though I disagree with all of his food choices, he is a great guy and boss! — Langston Taylor, assistant design and graphics editor

7. The DTH makes you fearless. — Jane Wester, university editor

8. I love The Daily Tar Heel because it brought me to my closest friends and let me find my passion for giving a voice to others. — Mary Tyler March, managing editor

9. For decades, our editorial voice has often been prescient and on the right side of history. — Sam Schaefer, opinion editor

10. The DTH quarterzip. That's a nice quarter zip. — Sara Salinas, senior university writer

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11. How about Daniel Thaddeus Hildebrand, the DTH raccoon? — Jessica Swanson, senior copy staffer

12. 1.) M&Ms 2.) Allowing me to find people that are on my level of insomniac and coffee addict. 3.) Mutual support and encouragement in all facets of life, journalistic and personal. — Rachel Rhodes, copy staffer

13. I love the cool places I get to go and the amazing people I get to talk to as an assistant sports editor. — Logan Ulrich, assistant sports editor

14. The standard of excellence our predecessors set has pushed us to challenge the status quo every day we slave away here. — Hayley Fowler, state and national editor

15. I am thankful for the DTH because it lets me explore my writing style in a cool and public way. It helps me get more attention. Seriously, my face is on TWO banners. I met my boyfriend because of the DTH! And all of my friends. And I lost all my old friends but it's fine they were lame. The water in the water fountains is always VERY cold! — Kelsey Weekman, online managing editor

16. I love the deep feelings of appreciation and friendship I feel every day at the DTH — not with our staff, but with our very vocal and dedicated online commenters. Here's to everyone who's ever slid into our mentions and, subsequently, my screenshots. — Danny Nett, community manager

17. I enjoy the office atmosphere. — Will Bryant, sports staff writer

18. Thankful for all of the following opportunities: to voice my opinion about LGBT rights to thousands of people, whether they wanted it or not; to avoid signing petitions and endorsements on campus; to call 911 about a raccoon harassing staff writers on our back steps; and, last but not least, to write about a shirtless man harassing the Pit Preacher with a sex toy. Here's to you, DTH. College would be boring without you. — Danny Nett, community manager

19. The DTH taught me how to put out a popcorn fire in a microwave. The DTH taught me how to deal with haters. And by that I mean ignore them but silently favorite their tweets from my personal Twitter account. I love that I am going to bring cake to a tombstone tomorrow!! I have always wanted to get involved in ancestral worship. — Kelsey Weekman, online managing editor

20. M&Ms. Matching chairs in backshop. Ad staff's tissues. — Alison Krug, copy chief

21. I love the DTH because of the coolest people you get to meet and the new perspectives you gain by listening to others. — Kiana Cole, senior city writer

22. The way sass is accepted — and sometimes even expected — from everyone on staff. How we can all bond over a stupid cat game. The amount of time we spend working together to produce a bomb-ass paper. The fact that everyone accepts me even though I'm constantly eating strange food. I also love the fact that it gives me the chance to refer to my staffers as Designasaurs because it's cute and they're cute and I love them all. — José Valle, design and graphics editor

23. 1.) The first time you walk into a press box and you see the food you're allowed to eat. For free. Just for writing a gamer on a field hockey game where UNC plays a school you've never heard of (s/o to the Longwood University Lancers). 2.) Being in a real press box in general, where you get to watch the game above all the plebeians below. 3.) Making more twitter friends in six months than you did in all of high school. Seriously, DTH twitter accounts are the best. — Sam Doughton, sports writer

24. The DTH gave me the connections and knowledge to land a job in my dream city. I met my girlfriend because of the DTH … and other people I guess. I have had the opportunity to work in real life crisis situations with real adults with real consequences. I've learned how to drink a lot at 5pm, every day. The DTH provided me with skills and views that I would never, ever have found in school. It is the school. — Alex Walkowski, special projects manager

25. We will never again have anything to complain about more yet love more. — Gwendolen Blackburn, creative director

26. I love seeing my past and present DTH Sports Desk family succeed in their careers. Whether that's getting a job upon graduation or writing great stories while they're here with us. Nothing is better than seeing my friends do great things! — David Allen, Jr., senior sports writer

27. I love the DTH for letting me explore new passions. I love the DTH for our fearless approach to journalism. I love the DTH for always giving me something other than homework to work on. I love the DTH because we are the best at what we do, but we never stop working to be better. — Alice Wilder, columnist

28. I love the DTH because everyone told me that I would find a niche in college and the DTH is that and's a second home. I'm just happy whenever I'm in the building. — Alex Kormann, photographer

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Special Print Edition
The Daily Tar Heel Victory Paper for November 20, 2023