Halfway through a semester in Denmark, I feel it may be time to pay my respects. To what? God? The deceased? The widow herself? No, to my position, or more so my presence, at the Old Gold & Black.
Last year, I worked as an editor for both the sports and opinion sections, and although writing itself still remains the most rewarding experience attributed to the newspaper, the memory of intellectual and emotional camaraderie in the office forms a poignant nostalgia. Even as I continue to submit articles from across the ocean, I find I miss the human component.
Let’s first say this (for my colleagues were surely raising this point as soon as they read the title of this article): I am no workhorse. The laborious computer software work attached to the Old Gold & Black has never been my point of strength, nor was it my port of entry. I joined the staff because I wished to join a group of writers who were intelligent and curious about current issues — political, cultural, sociological — and the digital duties and jargon that came with it were ancillary. I do my job, but am constantly asking for help.
I also joined the staff because I was urged by a friend, Mr. Ethan Bahar, to take over his section while he spent his semester in Denmark. That section was sports, and although I have minimal interest in the Wake Forest [blank] team, the position as editor allowed me to acquaint myself with InDesign software (and then, the next semester, to swiftly forget most of it), and to enjoy the company of a close friend, confidante and intellectual coeval, Ren Schmitt.
Ren, The Hunt is really doing wonders for me over here.
But this article was drafted not to highlight my procedural incompetence in producing a newspaper, nor was it decidedly a facile piece of flattery to the individual staff members (although both points have their place). I am writing this as a piece of cultural nostalgia. I yearn for the late-night atmosphere of the OGB: people antsy to get out (and “go out”), my contacts beginning to swim because of the length of screen time, the general energy we bring pleasingly puddling into delirium.
All of these idiosyncrasies of the workplace environment, especially once one has become accustomed to and learnt to love them, create a certain air quality, a buzzing, ebb-and-flow energy that makes the experience of compiling opinion pieces, formatting and then editing them into a scintillating smorgasbord of action and talk.
It’s a low-key Woodward and Bernstein thing where not only do we discuss getting “the best obtainable version of the truth,” but our lives, our worries, our tragedies, and our many, many joys.
I hope to return to an editor position in the spring, if only so I can return to the unique and raucous buzzing of the OGB on the eve of publication. It is a time of warmth and chatter that I can compare only to the holiday season, and I think one of my better contributions to the publication is the role I play in personality.
As many of the current staffers know, “I’m a content guy,” but I’m also a guy who is really grateful for the memorable, unconventional, incandescent time I spend in the office with you all. It’s a literal space of creation, of ideas, and of a final product that we trust to report on and contribute to the zeitgeist, not in a vacuous way, but in a provocative, truth-telling way. That, of course, is the goal of a newspaper, but the perhaps unintended result of the process itself is that of intangible, lasting joy. And for that I owe you all.