Tuesday, November 28, 2006

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye

Most blue and white bleeders would argue that Penn State is a tradition-heavy school. There’s the "We are…Penn State" chant, football White Outs and the guarding of the Lion Shrine. Creamery ice cream, JoePa, Thon…

The list goes on.

Well, we’ve got a few traditions of our own at the Collegian.

A row of empty champagne bottles dating back to the 70’s decorates the top shelf in my office. It’s a longstanding Collegian tradition that each incoming editor in chief be toasted with a champagne bottle of their own, which will then be signed and placed in the editor’s office for years to come. I kinda like that one.

Every spring the senior class and a few underclassmen take a trip to Lewistown on the last day of publication to watch our newspaper come off the presses in the middle of the night.

And as a final farewell to the student body of Penn State, each senior, regardless of staff position or experience, gets a chance to write their senior column.

I don’t know yet what my senior column will be about, but God knows I’m not looking forward to writing it.

It’s kind of an assumption around the newsroom that the senior column is supposed to be the best work you’re capable of. No one wants to disappoint with a senior column.
And certainly not the editor in chief. So you can see why I’m dreading it.

But I got a bit of a preview of what that might be like when I read the farewell column of outgoing Philadelphia Inquirer editor Amanda Bennett from Sunday’s paper.

Bennett, who is stepping down in opposition to sweeping editorial staff cuts, chose to end her stint as the newspaper’s editor by reminding readers why the Inquirer is valuable and why they’d suffer severe consequences without it.

It’s a bit of a public relations piece, but I think she did a commendable job of taking her passion and putting it into words. That’s all you can hope for from a farewell column.

I’m hoping that sometime between now and April I’ll come up with a great concept for my last column.

I might even have one now, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise.