Student can’t just walk away for good; comes back with clear vision

Jeremy Fugleberg

Jeremy Fugleberg

In disgust, I quit The Collegian in the spring of 2005. I felt like it was a waste of time, that nobody besides a few students who worked there even cared if it actually printed.

But I couldn’t walk away like I had thought I could. I started to wonder what it would take to make the newspaper healthy again. The ideas I wrote down then have guided me to this day.

None were that surprising. We needed a clear call for change from an outside voice. We needed a network of support among administrators, the journalism department, alumni and student government. We needed an adviser who would be an advocate for student-journalists. Our newspaper needed to look better in the newspaper racks. We needed to get on a firm financial footing.

Looking at these goals, I realized that making a better paper wasn’t about fighting The Man; it was about building a university-wide team of those who wanted to make things better.

And, piece by piece, it came together. Heather Mangan joined me in the effort. A consultant showed up, and left us with a blueprint for change. The administration and student senators worked together to fund an adviser. Sherry Fuller Bordewyk, a perfect fit, stepped into the role. She worked tirelessly to bring order to our struggling business side.

The senior staff this year had seen tough times, but, along with a clutch of newbies, fought tirelessly for what we knew we could be. Together, we took on the tough topics, the hard fights. Our sports staff pounded out a solid year of complete Jackrabbits athletics coverage.

We won a court battle for open government, multiple journalism awards and the enmity of those who accused us, sometimes simultaneously, of being conservatives, liberals and teacher-haters.

But more importantly, we became a real newspaper. To be read for what was inside, not just for the comedy of our mistakes.

It’s all for you, the readers. Don’t get me wrong. We’re fiercely proud of what we do. But in the end, our job is to entertain you, to inform you, and to fight for you.

And we’ve only just begun.

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