I am so grateful to have been your Editor

Mitchell Shaw, Former Editor

Issue no. 5, vol. 67, was the last issue I oversaw as Editor of the Lumen Newspaper. Maybe you noticed? It was bitter-sweet to step down from a position which has brought me so much joy. However, when you find yourself in a leadership position, you get this warm feeling when you know it is time to step back and let someone else make their mark. Now, observing from the passenger seat, I can reflect on my journey with the Lumen Newspaper, remembering what I have experienced and reminding myself how much I have grown. 


Full disclosure, I got this position solely because I was the only one who applied; otherwise, I don’t think I would ever have gotten the job. As a person, I am unorganized, an average writer at best, and had never been put in a leadership position before. I don’t know what Jackie Herbers, Lumen advisor, saw in me, but I guarantee any other professor would have conducted a national search before they chose Mitchell Shaw to run their paper. 


I remember my first semester as Editor like a partygoer might remember the night before: brief flashes of excitement, doubt, and choices I question. Maybe those don’t sound like fond memories, but I can’t think of how to convey my first days any other way. My first three issues were putting coffee on at 3 a.m., Monday, to write and edit articles past-due, not sleeping Wednesday to build the paper with our graphic designer, Jacob Vanasse, and tying my running shoes the following Monday to hand-deliver the printed copies, not because I had to, but because I needed to be sure people were reading it. 


I was interviewed at the start of this year (which was a first for me) by an English student who was writing a paper for her journalism class. She wanted to know how I did this job. “What does it take to be the Editor of a school newspaper?” she asked. After a moment I responded, “You have got to fall in love with it.” By this I meant you must fall in love with every aspect of the Lumen: the pitching and brainstorming meetings, organizing lists and agendas, the hounding and handholding of writers, and sacrifice of sleep on “issue weeks.” 


As humble of a beginning as it was, I really treasure those first moments I had as Editor because they were my first steps as the manager of a team learning to create a product I was not just happy with, but loved. In doing so, I led a team which established its own brand and its own voice, which better suited the needs of the student body we served. As a soon-to-be graduate ready to join the workforce, these are elements which I now get to include on my resume and are elements which will get me a job. 


As with all things you love, however, comes sacrifice. I sacrificed a lot for a newspaper I have been told time and time again that “nobody reads.” More times than I would like to admit, I prioritized Lumen responsibilities over my schoolwork. When deadlines got tight, I emailed professors to ask for extensions rather than email Herbers to push an article back to the next issue. Regardless, people still convinced me this was all for nothing. “Nobody reads the Lumen,” they told me. Okay! Maybe they won’t. Maybe, besides my advisor, nobody will even read my final editorial. I’d like to be remembered as someone who stitched the pain and love I have for this newspaper and these people in every line. 


Though it is hard to get these negative thoughts out of your head, I have learned this too is part of being a leader. Yes, in the grand timeline of this publication’s history, my days as Editor will seem so brief. Maybe Mitchell Shaw will have had little to no impact on the Lumen moving forward. Maybe my efforts were all for nothing and I should have focused on my education. At the end of the day, what matters is that I am proud of my time with the Lumen Newspaper. I am proud of all I accomplished as a writer, collaborator, and manager for this paper. I am grateful for the friends I have made, the people I inspired, and the good times we shared. Most of all, Viterbo University, I am grateful to have been your Editor.