The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

PARTING SHOT: More than a hundred stories later, I’m signing out

I’ve spent all of my eight semesters as a News Writer for The Cavalier Daily. Now, four years, a global pandemic and 117 news stories later, my time at the University has drawn to a close, and I want to do what little I can to make sure that people understand that the students dedicated to The Cavalier Daily, which is more important than most know, are some of the most hardworking on Grounds.

My time at The Cavalier Daily has been a pleasure — I’ve enjoyed working with four different editors-in-chief, plenty of news editors, hundreds of staffers and everyone else who keeps the massive enterprise that is The Cavalier Daily afloat. Without my experiences here, I surely would not have been able to secure prestigious writing opportunities at The Washington Post, The Council on Foreign Relations or AccuWeather — all of which have allowed me to build upon the journalism skills that The Cavalier Daily helped me develop. I’ve come a long way from the first-year applicant who said they wanted to launch a weather section here, and while I did not manage to make that happen — I don’t exactly have a meteorology degree — I’m happy to say I wrote about the weather at least a few times.

Don’t tell any of my editors at the other publications I write for, but The Cavalier Daily’s editing and commenting process is arguably the most thorough I’ve seen, with the pursuit of fact-checking and rigorous journalism that involves student voices being second-to-none, even in drafting this Parting Shot. 

Over the past 118 stories I’ve written, I’ve worked to inform students and tried to hold people accountable when needed. Yes, I’ve written fluff stories about electric scooters. But, our section holds a history of important stories too, including some of my own — from student activism to extend the University’s COVID-19 grading policy to anonymous activism around the naming of Alderman Library, to my very first story. Still one of my favorite stories, my first piece covered the difficulties non-English speaking students experienced at Student Financial Services. Shoutout to the editors who saved that piece from being a mess.

In general, I think the role of student journalism at the University isn’t fully appreciated — when I tended to tell friends I wrote for The Cavalier Daily, a common question was to ask who actually read the pieces. In reality, plenty of people do — as our website analytics prove. Charlottesville and the University have both found themselves in the national spotlight time and time and time and time again, with The Cavalier Daily’s news section remaining an independent overseer of all these difficult and polarizing issues. 

So, to those still reading this parting shot and my final words words in this paper, I hope that you appreciate the amount of time and effort that goes into running this paper —  from the news section, to the sports section, to the copy editors that make any of this possible, to even the oft-criticized Editorial Board that tends to take way more heat than it deserves. 

To any students reading this — join the paper! Even if I don’t work in journalism after I graduate, the experience has been invaluable — hopefully, at least, my coworkers appreciate grammatically-correct and well-phrased emails.

Signing out — Zach.

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