By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
Former editors and staff members of the Ole Miss student newspaper, The Daily Mississippian, will celebrate the paper’s centennial anniversary next weekend.
I’ll be one of them, as a former editor-in-chief.
Before I started my editorship, my friend and former editor Laura Houston told me it would be the “best job you’ll ever have and the worst job you’ll ever have.”
I didn’t know what she meant by that, but I soon learned.
It’s hard to put The DM and what it means to me into words, because, five years later, my time as editor is mostly a blur.
When you’re the editor-in-chief of The Daily Mississippian, you have a full-time job on top of a full-time class load.
While your fellow classmates are going to frat parties or studying, you and your staff spend your Sunday-Thursday nights in Bishop Hall, writing stories editing, laying out pages and sending the final product to the press.
When I was the editor, our readership was at about 15,000, which was a huge number to me, considering I assumed my hometown paper’s was probably less than 3,000.
On a really good night, I’d get home about 3 a.m.; on a bad night, it was more like 7 a.m. For some reason, I took an 8 a.m. class my second semester as editor.
I remember bits and pieces, but I barely remember full days or newspapers we produced.
But I know this:
It was a string of long days and even longer nights.
It was fight after fight, in-joke after in-joke, hugs and rolling eyes and tears and exasperated sighs.
It was, “I’ll have it in at midnight!” followed by “I’ll have it in at 1 a.m.,” followed by “I’ll have it in at 3 a.m.” followed by “Is 5 a.m. too late?” (Yes, it was.)
It was a year of missing or sleeping through classes, praying profusely before exams and begging professors to extend that essay deadline just one more day.
It was answering question. After question. After question. After question. After question.
It was lonely.
More than anything else, it was the best job I’ve ever had and the worst job I’ve ever had.
It broke me down and built me back up.
There was nothing like seeing The DM picked up by my fellow students, reading the paper before (and during) class and spotting those empty wooden DM boxes at the end of the day.
The DM gave me a group of people that, in the beginning, were my staff, but now I consider them family. We may not keep in touch these days, since we’re scattered all over the country, but they each mean everything to me.
Here’s to another 100.
Contact Daily Journal writer Sheena Barnett at 678-1580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.