An open letter to the Clarion staff

Dear staff,

I am a very lucky guy. I have had the good fortune of working with the most talented college newspaper staff ever assembled.

Just because I am biased, does not make it untrue.

I have worked for the Clarion for the last 20 months and as it all comes to a close, I wanted to take moment – a very public moment – to thank you for all your hard work and effort since we started.

Dennis Hitzeman was in every Journalism class I took at Sinclair Community College and started working for the Clarion around the same time as me. He single-handedly built the beta version of and always challenged and inspired the writing of the print edition.

One of my biggest regrets was not seeing more Dennis L Hitzeman bylines. Dennis was the most respected and thought-provoking person I met during my time at Sinclair. He is also immensely talented and possesses a vast knowledge of the English language I aspire to one day have myself.

Mary Edwards was the first person I hired and may be one of the most talented people I know. She has pulled off the impossible on an almost daily basis and always delivers beautiful work. I know I have not be a perfect editor, but Mary has always stepped to the plate and knocked it out of the park.

From incredibly clean, traditional newspaper layouts to a photo illustration about ghosts in Blair Hall, Mary’s work has been second to none. More than any other staffer, she is responsible for the professional look and feel of our print edition.

Rather than wish Mary good luck, I will congratulate the employer who is lucky enough to hire her.

Kamari Stevens is a force of nature. I hired Kamari not long after Mary and have watched him grow into an amazing writer and reporter. He has a passion and excitement about writing that is infectious.

Kamari probably logged more hours in the office than anyone this year. He was always looking for a story and was always ready to report. He always kept the newsroom a fun place to be.

Joseph Stueve was my assistant editor and he knows more about sports than any human on the planet. He probably has more natural writing ability than anyone on the staff.

The rest of the editors have worked hard to get better at their craft – it seems to flow from Joe.

He hit the ground running as a reporter last year and carried that momentum into 2009. His coverage of Sinclair athletics was balanced and thorough. He not only pumped out consistently amazing stories and columns, but took on the not-so-glamorous jobs as well.

Megan Ewton and Frank Coleman did a great job as staff reporters. They not only reported what they were assigned, but actively found stories ideas. Rather than doing the bare minimum, they always went above and beyond what was expected of them. Their input and work was invaluable to the shaping of the print edition.

Donna Van Wert assisted with the website maintenance and Georgio Byam served as distribution manager. Both did amazing jobs and were reliable and dependable. While I didn’t have a chance to get to know them as well as I would have liked, they did their jobs well.

Heather Stamm was hired as the graphic design assistant and quickly acclimated herself to the role. She caught on very fast and should admirably fill the very big graphic design shoes Mary leaves behind.

Samuel Huist joined the staff late in the year and always delivered accurate and compelling stories.

Melinda Powell finished out the year as advertising representative and also did great work.

I think I speak for the whole staff when I thank our advisor Sandy Hilt. Her door was always open and she always had our best interests at heart. She praised us when we were down and challenged us when our heads got big. She runs an incredible Journalism program and we all are better off for our experiences here.

The Clarion also brought home some trophies this year.

The Columbia Scholastic Press Association awarded the Clarion three Gold Circle awards. Joseph Stueve won a certificate of merit for best first person story, Dennis Hitzeman won a certificate of merit for an opinion piece and Mary Edwards won first prize for photo illustration. So, when I say we had an amazing staff, it is not just opinion – it is bona fide fact.

I probably forgot a few names, but I appreciate all who had a hand making this paper what it was this year.

I think this year has been something we can all be proud of.


Rusty Pate

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