Column: This was more than a newsroom

By Mari Devereaux, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Chloe McMullen

This feels so strange to write. Is it weird to say I never thought this day would come?

Watching everyone else at the Chronicle write goodbye columns and then leave is like waiting in line at an amusement park—you stand for what seems like an eternity hearing the screams and roaring of wheels against steel, but suddenly it’s you being strapped into the ride and there is no turning back. I guess it really is my time.

Part of me wants to just write, “peace out, it’s been real,” and another part wants to write a 10-page essay on how all my co-workers at the Chronicle have become my best friends and changed my life forever.

I suppose I could write about the time I accidentally crashed a wedding while on assignment, or when I got to talk with former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang or that day I sat in the courtroom during singer-songwriter R. Kelly’s hearing.

But those don’t fully capture my experience here.

I could write about how much I will miss our infamous Chronicle quote wall and the chaotic rush of the office—running out to cover events and collaborate on stories.

I could write about sharing snacks and joking around with Managing Editor Dyana Daniels, commiserating and bonding with former Co-Editor-In-Chief Kendall Polidori and current Co-Editor-In-Chief Brooklyn Kiosow, and going over to annoy my roommate and designated work wife, former Director of Photography Camilla Forte, or any of our staff’s after-hours outings.

And there is always General Manager Travis Truitt’s inspirational talks, my love-hate relationship with his puns, and Faculty Adviser Curtis Lawrence’s wisdom and infectious laughter.

Another option would be to write about the times I have been up past midnight writing and editing articles or working over 40-hour weeks trying to train and manage a newspaper staff.

I could write about times when I have been pushed to the breaking point and just about ready to throw my laptop out the window and scream into a pillow, or times when I am frustrated and burnt out and experiencing the lowest of lows, because it isn’t all sunshine and roses.

But then, I still remember standing in the same room as #MeToo activist Tarana Burke and reporting on issues that are important—topics that matter to people. I’ve learned so much on the job covering protests, presidential elections, writing larger investigative pieces, receiving invaluable feedback and managing to stay afloat during the pandemic.

The last two years have consisted of running to catch trains, buses and Ubers, going out in the cold and the rain to explore the city inside and out to properly write about it. And I didn’t do any of it alone. I relied on others at the Chronicle for advice, support and guidance on how to be a better person and a better journalist.

There is so much pride I have, looking back at it all, that I didn’t expect to feel. It’s not monumental, but it’s mine. I still have so much to learn—so much more to do. But I started here.

I began all of this as a reporter coming into a normal college newsroom, and during a global pandemic, I took on the role of co-editor-in-chief and helped shape the publication into a functioning virtual workspace.

Where the Chronicle goes from here is not up to me, but I wish everyone who will keep the publication running all the best. I’ve learned more about myself and who I am as a journalist while working here than I ever thought possible.

Alumni of the Chronicle have gone on to work for NASA, The New York Times and hundreds of other reputable workplaces, and I am so excited to see where I go next.

I went into this looking for a resume builder, and I am coming out of it with the richest life experience and friends that I could call on for anything. Is it too cliché to say the real newsroom experience was the friends we made along the way?

At times, the work was nightmarish, but it is thanks to my Chronicle family that I am living the dream. I wouldn’t trade y’all for a Pulitzer.