Letter from the editor: Crossing boarders


Shelby Tankersley, Editor-in-Chief

Hey readers,

So this guy from North Carolina comes up to me and proceeds to tell me that he’s the best thing to ever happen to sports journalism.

OK dude, whatever.

I was standing in front of him, wishing that he knew how dumb he sounded, when it crossed my mind that confidence as a student journalist is perhaps the best tool you can have.

My Managing Editor Cheyanne and I spent most of last week in Dallas, Texas at the Associated Collegiate Press’ and the College Media Association’s National College Media Conference learning how to do our jobs better.

Essentially, a bunch of professionals sat hundreds of college editors down and taught us how to suck less.

Every last Editor-in-Chief went into the conference thinking the same thing I did: that their newspapers and their staffs are the best thing since The New York Times.

We all then proceeded to discover how much we still have left to learn and how much better we could be teaching our staffs.

Especially in a field like journalism, learning is never supposed to end.

But, aside from learning how to be a better EIC to my staff and to our readers, the biggest thing I took from the conference was that I can learn from people who don’t live their lives the way I do.

Because the conference was in Texas, most of the students there were from the South. I will praise the Midwest until the day I die, because people from the South live life much differently than us Michiganders do.

For instance, while southern folks are very hospitable, they will not hold back in telling you that the way you do something is, in their opinion, totally stupid (that guy from North Carolina wasn’t very good at making new friends).

But I did learn something from them.

If you’ve never been to Texas, just know that the people who live there think that Texas is the only state in America that actually matters (I can say that, my dad is from the Houston area). But, some of that well-placed pride drives the EICs and editors to lead teams of student journalists that do great work because they all really believe that they’re great.

I met a group of editors from San Antonio that gave an entire presentation on the way they run their newsroom because they are proud of the way they do things.

Cheyanne and I had a chance to speak with their adviser and we were able to trade ideas as well as emails so we can, hopefully, continue to learn from each other.

So the South has confidence, but the Midwest has motivation.

I heard so many horror stories of staffs that go MIA on their editors and never take criticism well. I have been told by more than one Oakland University professor that one defining characteristic of our student body is our willingness to work hard for what we want.

My staff has their low moments, but they make me proud to be their EIC because of their continual willingness to learn and improve.

This past week The Post was given a lot of criticism, but it was praised for its staff. What made our school stand out is the way our students work hard.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m going to take that hard work and add some southern moxy to it so this Michigan gal can really do something great.


Shelby Tankersley