Column: Thankful for the past, excited for the future

Mike Rundle
For my first semester as Senior Photo Editor, the photo desk consisted of (left to right) Steven Nunez, Ignacio Calderon, myself, Halie Parkinson, Orlando Pinder and Patrick Reponse.

Last week, I visited the Chronicle newsroom for the first time in almost two months.

I stood in the empty newsroom, gathering my belongings from my desk and appreciating the fact that I was able to come back one more time. Other than the Orange and Green Line trains passing by outside the window, it was silent—a rare thing for a newsroom that was always buzzing and often burning the midnight oil.

After I finished packing up my things, I walked across the room from my current desk as director of photography to the desk where I began my time with the Chronicle as a staff photographer. When I arrived at that desk in August 2018 as a junior, I had no idea what was in store for me as a photographer or as a person.

In the almost two years I spent at the Chronicle, I experienced what felt like a lifetime of opportunity and change. For a brief period when I started, we were without a general manager, but thanks to the leadership of then-Editor-in-Chief Ariana Portalatin and the rest of the management team at the time, things went on without a hitch.

Mike Rundle
My first year at ICPA was celebrated alongside a great group of coworkers.

As the semester progressed, I started to form friendships, and I got excited about my photography again. The Chronicle allowed me to witness history first-hand and explore parts of the city I never would have seen if not for an assignment sending me there. I valued the time I had in the office and out in the field, and I learned so much from my photojournalism peers who, looking back, were quite the cast of characters.

From running through torrential downpours on the way back from an assignment to brushing shoulders with presidential candidates, I have made unforgettable memories with each and every one of the photojournalists that have passed through the Chronicle. You are the ones I have to thank for the ways I have developed as a photographer, and I will always consider you friends.

Alongside those image-makers, the Chronicle has seen groups of immensely talented people walk through its doors. Each one of those people is another piece in the puzzle that completes our award-winning newsroom, and a single missing piece means we are incomplete. While we might have some pieces walking out the doors this year, we have talent stepping in and stepping up that is ready to take this news organization to the next level.

Mike Rundle
At the 2020 ICPA ceremony, both Senior Video Editor Ignacio Calderon (left) and myself received awards.

I have full confidence in the future of the Chronicle and that it will be marked by continued innovation in digital storytelling. Changing focus from solely print to daily digital has been one of the greatest successes I’ve seen in our newsroom. Every day, we worked together to create something new—something better than the day before. I have no doubt this will continue to be the attitude in the office, and it makes me excited to see what will come next.

Columbia College Chicago has an incredibly diverse and gifted student body, and it has been a pleasure to work with, and work for, each and every one of you. While my time at the Chronicle might be over, its impact on my life and career will always be in the back of my mind—for that, I’ll always be grateful.