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The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University community since 1890

PARTING SHOT: Learning from a professional environment

Sonia Gupta was the Chief Financial Officer for the 130th term of the Cavalier Daily. Prior to this, she served as the Operations Manager and Production Editor during the 129th term.
Sonia Gupta was the Chief Financial Officer for the 130th term of the Cavalier Daily. Prior to this, she served as the Operations Manager and Production Editor during the 129th term.

I’ve never written a single word for The Cavalier Daily — up until now, that is. I like to say that I’ve done “everything except write” for the paper. In my three-and-a-half years working for The Cavalier Daily, I have been part of the production, copy, ads staff…the list goes on. I am grateful for the huge step that my first-year self took to sign up for this organization.

It’s difficult explaining to people why I have enjoyed my time in the journalism sphere so much. As someone who majored in STEM and business fields, there’s no direct connection between why I would want to be a part of this organization — not a CIO, in case you thought so. However, through my years in middle school, high school and college, I have found my home in journalism. 

I don’t think I have to explain the moving parts required to make this organization run. I am fortunate to have had a role in helping every one of these parts and have gained experience that will help me for years to come. The people I have met through my career on the paper have not only been some of my best friends, but they have challenged me on how I see the world and helped me grow as a student and a leader.

Personally, I can’t take credit for any of the amazing writing we have done during my terms. Nevertheless, I am still incredibly proud to be a part of a team that could produce such hard-hitting journalism without any funding from the University. We’ve managed to transform our newspaper into the digital era and provide news that the University and Charlottesville community deserve.

That’s not to say everything has been easy for me nor the organization. The Cavalier Daily faces daily animosity — whether it’s from students, online commenters or University administration. People have come into my face and questioned why we published an article, despite me having no hand in the article in question. Like any other media company, we are not immune to the criticism. I can’t say there weren’t moments where I was frustrated by the work we had produced — but at the end of the day, we are a group of voluntary student journalists that is always trying to improve. That being said, with no faculty advisor or journalism major at the University, the 450+ students on our staff work tirelessly to produce the best content we can.

As the work done by The Cavalier Daily is invaluable to the University community, the work I have done for The Cavalier Daily is invaluable to me. It’s the closest thing to a real professional environment one can get in school. After spending a full day in classes, I would often have to go to the office and work for four, six, sometimes eight more hours for the paper. And yes — in case you were wondering — this was all unpaid. I have had to juggle thousands of dollars around to make sure we can print that week or pay for our necessary operational costs. I was the only woman on a managing board with four white men. I have had to deal with several hundred people on a daily basis and managed countless crises. Without this group of people challenging me constantly, I wouldn’t have grown into the person I am today.

Even as a business undergrad, this experience has helped me shine in job applications and interviews. The impact from my experience here will last a lifetime, just like the friendships I have made. And for that, I have to thank everyone who challenged and pushed me along the way. To all of my friends on the paper, thank you for always making me feel like my voice was heard, something that I was struggling to deal with in the classroom. And to everyone else who questioned me along the way and listened to me talk about The Cavalier Daily constantly, I appreciate the words of encouragement and guidance. For this experience, I will always look upon it fondly.

And lastly, I wouldn’t be a proper ex-CFO of the paper if I didn’t invite you to make a tax-deductible donation to The Cavalier Daily — a 501c3 nonprofit — to support the next generation of journalists but also help provide students with professional experience to serve them beyond just the journalism field.

Sonia Gupta was the Chief Financial Officer for the 130th term of The Cavalier Daily. Prior to this, she served as the Operations Manager and Production Editor during the 129th term.

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