OXENDEN: Everything will be fine


McKenna and the Marquette Wire’s Executive Director, Patrick Thomas.

To my babies: You will be fine. Everything will be fine.

This isn’t me just saying it to say it like I usually do, but everything will legitimately be fine.

Do you want to know why? Because you’re good. You don’t believe me? Then remember all the times when I told you to apply for these positions. It’s because you’re excellent.

To my babies who are our reporters: Listen to your editors. Take in what they say, ask questions and absorb knowledge. There are no stupid questions. Ask now before you get thrown into the world of internships and life. It’s what I did, and I’d like to think it’s what has made me the journalist I am today.

To my babies who are the executives and managers: Don’t let your curiosity go away. You might not be writing stories every week, but you can still live vicariously through the reporter writing it. And then live vicariously through working with them.

Teach them. Edit constructively. Tell them what they could’ve done better — but don’t forget to tell them what they did well. As frustrating as it can be, always keep in mind they are still learning, just like you are.

Don’t forget through teaching and through mentoring to hold people accountable. If there is one thing you’ve learned from me, I hope that it’s OK to be the stern mom (or dad). It’s OK for people to “hate” you in the moment. Because whether they realize it 10 minutes or 10 years later, it’s the right thing to do.

Rob Gebelhoff, Claudia Brokish and Drew Dawson: You gave me the opportunities that made me fall madly in love with this absolutely insane and absurd profession. Thanks for that.

To my babies: I ask that you do the same. Go out on a limb. Give someone an opportunity you usually wouldn’t. Because more often than not, they’re going to surprise you.

To my babies: Take advantage of the people that surround you. Mark “the dad” Zoromski sits right in his corner office. He has 40 years of experience. Talk to him. Cry to him. Yell to him about your frustrations (better him than your reporter). He’s a great listener, a great comforter and is known to give some killer advice.

A Pulitzer Prize winner has his office on the first floor.  Make a point to stop by. Ask Dave Umhoefer any question you desire. Journalists never get to talk about themselves, but they love to share their knowledge and their own stories to anyone that will listen.

Get to know Ana Garner. She’s the dean of the journalism department, and she knows what she’s talking about. And, if you visit her, she might even have some snacks for you in case you’re hungry.

They did it for me, I know they’ll do it for you. And they’ll do it with a smile on their face.

To my babies: I will miss you dearly. I’ll miss someone calming me down when I’m frustrated. I will miss that at no matter what hour, there is always a friendly face in Johnston Hall. I will miss the stress of production night and the 3 a.m. Monday nights. I’m going to miss it all. But probably not as much as I’ll miss all of you.

It wouldn’t be a senior column if I didn’t say that student media has become and is my family. You are the people I can count on for a Tuesday night pitcher at Caffery’s  after our meetings. You are the people that when I’ve fallen down, you’ll pick me back up. You are the people I couldn’t imagine not having by my side.

Thanks for making my student media experience so great. I can’t wait to watch everything you do as you grow into better editors, better managers and better people. And I can’t wait to watch you raise the next crop of eager young journalists that will be the future of the world.

You know I don’t give out my approval easily. You know I have high standards. But my ducklings, my minions, my babies: You have earned my approval.

Like I said, everything will be fine.