Editor’s Note: You never know where one decision will take you

By Ariana Portalatin, Editor-in-Chief

I had no idea where my job would lead when I joined The Chronicle in August 2016. I wasn’t looking ahead because I was far too excited to be where I was. I came to Columbia solely to work for The Chronicle, so to go from being a reader to reporter was thrilling. Looking back, my first day seems so long ago. At the same time, I’m wondering how time flew by so fast.

I learned more in my first semester than I did in any of my journalism classes. From then on, it only got better. I worked my way up from campus reporter to campus editor and then to managing editor, and each position gave me new skills that will take me far into my career.

That’s not to say I didn’t have my share of challenges along the way. What makes The Chronicle such a great learning experience is that it mirrors the journalism industry and all its challenges. I dealt with angry sources, hard deadlines, many late nights and early mornings, disagreements with coworkers and, of course, the general difficulties that come with being a student juggling a job and classes. Despite being difficult, none of these challenges compared to what I faced my last year.

As a reporter in 2016, I never imagined I would eventually end up leading the newsroom. When I became editor-in-chief in May 2018, I had a list of improvements I wanted to make and accomplishments I wanted to see. The Chronicle had always been great, but I knew the goal should always be to continue getting better. I loved The Chronicle and wanted nothing but to see it grow. However, things took a turn when The Chronicle’s management team found out our general manager of 20 years was leaving. I was one of the first people to find out, and I was immediately terrified at what that would mean for the upcoming year.

The months we went without a GM proved to be the most difficult of my time at The Chronicle. However, I knew this didn’t mean the work could stop, and I always kept in mind the goals we set. It got easier as time went on, and I’m proud to say many goals were accomplished with a few additions. We celebrated our 45th anniversary, redesigned our website and print edition, started the transition into daily content, increased our digital presence, fostered partnerships with on-campus organizations and got featured at the Newseum, just to name a few. We also won more awards, most importantly being named best in state for the fourth consecutive year.

This year had more curveballs than I can count, but I could not have survived without my management team. Working at this place isn’t easy, but they are tough, talented and know how to get things done.

Molly and Blaise, thank you for always being my right and left hands when it felt like I might lose my head. I’m handing this place off to you guys with no doubt you’ll do a great job next year and continue to lead The Chronicle forward. Zack, you’re one of the most talented people I know, and I’m so grateful to have worked with you. Nothing made me happier than to bring you onto the team as creative director, and you’ve been nothing short of amazing at it. Micha, I don’t know what I would’ve done this year without you. You have one of the hardest jobs on staff, and I couldn’t be more thankful for you being by my side through everything. Travis and Curtis, thank you for your constant mentorship and advice as general manager and adviser. The Chronicle is lucky to have you, and although you’re both new, you’ve caught on quickly, and I’m so glad you guys care as much about this place as I do.

My time at The Chronicle has come to an end, and as sad as that is, I know it’s in good hands. Through all the ups and downs I experienced while working here, it’s all led to me being a better version of myself than I ever could have imagined. I didn’t know what this place had in store for me in 2016, but it was all worth it. In the end, I would do it all over again.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.