Saying goodbye to college journalism

Ethan Tan is a junior politics major.

Haley Keizur is a senior media studies major.

Mardy Harding is a senior international studies major.

LEO TAFOYA/GRAPHICS CENTER

Anyone who has ever written for a journalistic organization knows that two unavoidable parts of the trade are harsh criticism and endless improvement through revision. It can be rough getting a draft back that’s peppered with edits and comments, being told to go back and do three times the amount of reporting you already put in, or, as editors, having to tell a writer that what they turned in isn’t publishable.

At its core, though, journalism is about learning. As writers, it’s about immersing ourselves in a subject so that when we communicate it to the rest of the world, we do it justice. And, as a society, we use journalism to stay informed, discern the truth, and hold those in power accountable. As the three of us depart from USF and venture into a world of contradicting information and fake news, we feel beyond grateful to have had our experiences at the Foghorn. 

While being an editor is time-consuming and exhausting, the Foghorn community made the weekly onslaught of extra work fun and worth it. We got to know incredible faculty members and inspiring students through our work. We learned more about the culture and priorities of our school, and, most importantly, we formed a family of reliable, brilliant peers; all of whom would dramatically shaped our time at USF. Each of us was touched by the paper in various ways through our various roles, and we reflect fondly over our years here.

Haley Keizur

Positions held: Online Editor, Opinion Editor, Layout Editor, Managing Editor

My story at the Foghorn starts with a visit to the USF campus and the Foghorn office my senior year of high school, and an email sent to the Editor in Chief at the time, one week before class started freshman year. I was interviewed by Mardy Harding for the News Deputy position as I drove to San Francisco to move into my dorm room in Fromm Hall. I began pouring myself into the Foghorn from my very first week on campus and continued to learn more each day. I was hungry for community and education, and I loved expanding my relationship with the larger student body and the city of San Francisco as a whole. 

At the end of my freshman year, I became Online Editor, then transitioned to Opinion Editor a few months later. As COVID hit in Spring of 2020, I added Layout Editor to my list of positions held and became our Managing Editor at the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester. I have written about everything from free condoms in the bathroom, to the 2018 midterm elections, Taylor Swift (twice), Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the USF dance team, and this year’s modified Donaroo. 

I am grateful to have had so many different positions within the Foghorn and to have been able to pour my creativity into our digital and print mediums. I have cherished the late nights in the office and long Zoom calls, the infectious laughter during staff meetings, and the lessons each of us on staff have taught each other. The Foghorn is more than a family on layout days; we offer each other resources in classes and life beyond USF. They’re the people I have Zoom dinner dates with, text in times of burnout, and jam to Taylor Swift with. I went into USF knowing I had a love for journalism, but I am leaving, not only with a network of friends and peers, but also with a new understanding for what journalism means to me and the rest of the world.

Mardy Harding

Positions held: News Editor, General Assignment Reporter, Scene Editor

As a freshman, I, too, aggressively pursued working at the Foghorn from day one. It took only a few short months before I was a News Deputy, and, by my second semester at USF in Spring of 2018, I was News Editor because we lost staff to USF in D.C. My first Editor in Chief, Ali DeFazio, is now a New York Times-published, UC Berkeley graduate School of Journalism alumna. Two of my news deputies are now each the News Editor and Managing editor of the Foghorn. Throughout my time at USF, what stands out is the inspiring dedication of the people I’ve worked with — something I sensed from the very start. 

After three semesters of being News Editor, however, I left to study abroad in Fall of 2019, feeling burnt out and relieved to have a break. I was questioning whether I wanted to pursue, or even continue with, journalism. While abroad in Morocco, I learned some important lessons, and lived a different life than I had before, but I missed the Foghorn dearly. I missed writing, I missed layouts, I missed interviewing, I missed being informed, and I even missed deadlines. When I came back to USF in the spring of 2020, I was more sure than ever that I would finish out my time at the University with the Foghorn community — and I have. Throughout COVID, through crisis, through classes, I have counted on the Foghorn’s commitment to never letting the USF community be seen in plain black and white. 

Ethan Tan

Positions held: Copy Editor, News Editor

After being part of my high school’s newspaper, I was looking for a fresh start to explore different activities in college. After visiting the Foghorn’s fall open house and meeting Gabe Greschler, the then-Editor in Chief, I slowly started to feel drawn to the paper. I didn’t start in the editorial section, as most do, but rather in layout for two weeks helping our former Layout Editor Miles Herman. After realizing that this behind-the-scenes role lacked the excitement of interviewing people, the rewarding sensation of having a breakthrough in your reporting, and having a byline on a story, I emailed our News Editor at the time, Mardy Harding, to pick up my first story on the 2018 Clery Report, which details disciplinary action and crime on campus. 

Being a part of the Foghorn has allowed me to develop personal relationships with faculty, staff, and students outside of my major and interests, and see the power of hyper-local journalism at a small campus like ours. From covering USF’s offshore investments, turbulent union negotiations, the caf’s health score troubles, sexual assault allegations on the men’s soccer team, and other topics both large and niche, I’ve been lucky to be part of a team that provides a service to the university community. Being able to finally lead the News section this semester has been an honor. I’ve gotten to train and edit for the next generation of writers who are interested in holding university institutions accountable.

As I leave the Foghorn to be a part of the USF in D.C. program in the fall and graduate early in December, I can’t help but look back at the countless hours I spent in UC 417 (the Foghorn’s office), leaving too many times at 3 a.m. after editing. I am grateful for the friendships I have made with staff members as we sang “Hamilton” renditions post-midnight, and for the people who have supported my work over the last three years by sharing my reporting or dropping a confidential tip in my inbox.

Conclusion

Throughout our time at USF, particularly, during the pandemic, journalism has offered us a safe space. From our first moments on campus, to late, late nights in the UC, to distributing print issues of the paper up to Lone Mountain, to Zooming in from across the country, the Foghorn office became our second home and our fellow editors became not just our friends, but our family. The Foghorn has kept us humble (not to mention it makes other, non-journalism deadlines seem luxurious). The three of us are leaving behind our bylines and our lack of sleep, but are eager to move on to our next adventure with the skills we’ve learned from our time at the paper.

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