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PARTING SHOT: Revisiting old comments

<p>Now that I am retired from The Cavalier Daily, I have the time to consider some comments I saw but ignored in my haste to finish edits.</p>

Now that I am retired from The Cavalier Daily, I have the time to consider some comments I saw but ignored in my haste to finish edits.

In my final year as Assistant Managing Editor at The Cavalier Daily, I was directly Slacked 668 times. Realistically, no human being can fully address 668 notifications, 668 article ideas or 668 issues needing attention — but that impossible task was my job. I had to do my best to solve one problem at a time before moving on to my myriad of other responsibilities. Now that I am retired from The Cavalier Daily, I have the time to consider some comments I saw but ignored in my haste to finish edits. In particular, I have come back to these five messages that I received during my time on staff here at The Cavalier Daily.

1. “She takes the time to teach all the things she didn’t learn her first year.”

As an underclassman, joining the copy section of The Cavalier Daily helped me connect more with the University, and I wanted to share that with every new copy staffer. Before taking a higher position in copy, I thought a lot about what kind of senior associate I wanted to be. Upon reflection, I decided the most meaningful thing I could do for the paper was to integrate being a mentor into my editing responsibilities. To me, this meant teaching each editor I worked with my tips and tricks and giving them any advice I had. It isn’t an editor’s job to be all-knowing so much as to be a conduit for the knowledge they do have. Seeing this quote in a shoutout from one of my editors, Isabella, made me feel ready to take on the assistant managing editor role to work with even more staffers across The Cavalier Daily.  

2. “We do what needs to be done.”

On the copy desk, we sarcastically repeated this phrase while procrastinating our work for The Cavalier Daily in favor of chatting with each other. After all, chatting is important work for the organization. And while these copy chats were fun, they were more than that — so many of these chats with staffers stuck with me over the years. For me, the epitome of doing what needs to be done was Friday shift — a group of copy editors who met weekly. Blaine, Claire, Delores, Evelyn, Issy and Matt from Friday shift were coworkers at The Cavalier Daily who became some of my closest friends. There have been few experiences in my life where I have been challenged to make friendships like the ones I have made here. At The Cavalier Daily, I worked with people who saw the world differently than I did and found so much meaning in debating small and large issues. 

3. “Can you step into this role on your own?”

When I said yes to taking on the Assistant Managing Editor role, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Traditionally, this position is occupied by two people. However, I had to take this on by myself for my first semester on the job. I cannot understate how hard this transition was — I was reading dozens more articles than I was used to and was required to edit much faster than before. Sometimes, my brain could not figure out what to do fast enough to fix issues that came up in all these articles. It felt like everyone knew I was in over my head — and that's when this question came back to haunt me. Learning to be confident in myself was one of the most challenging parts of being Assistant Managing Editor — albeit necessary. Retaining confidence in my abilities was important to keeping sections working and minimizing stress. My ability to manage this position was cemented by the time my new role of Assistant Literary Editor was created. I retained the same workload as I did when my title was AME, but by my second semester, I wasn’t shy to dive into the work and ask for help when I needed it — especially gaining support from my co-editor and friend, Alexandra. 

4. “I feel like every time I see you, you’re working on The Cavalier Daily.”

It was true — I was editing multiple hours every day. Looking back, I do not regret the amount of time I put into the paper, not even those times when I had to read articles between classes, prompting classmates and friends to say this to me all the time. I would even edit while on the phone with family or friends, interrupting the conversation to ask that person what they thought of certain ledes or a specific phrasing. I wanted to feel proud of every article we published, so I spent the time to make sure each article reached its fullest potential. Working with such a talented group of writers and editors made the work even more fulfilling and pushed the boundaries of the quality of articles we produced.  All that investment was worth it to see the published articles — each a testament to all the time and effort spent by our team.

5. “It’s easy to focus on the 25 percent of things we do wrong and overlook the 75 percent we do extremely well.”

I have come to realize how much this saying applied to the rounds of edits I was leaving on articles. I used to think that positive comments were inefficient, especially when many things needed to be changed. It took me a while to learn that even if positive praise was not needed to publish articles, the writers and editors I worked with still deserved it. Especially Ben, Cecy, Jacob and Miriella — I feel so lucky to have worked with a group of section editors who met the challenge that my edits and expectations set. In retrospect, I regret all the times I told them “Thanks for addressing my edit” when I should have told them “I really appreciate the work you put into this article.” The articles they worked on weren’t a series of edits made, but the byproduct of their larger contributions. This work should not go unnoticed or drowned out by a laundry list of nitpicky things yet to be edited. 

In retirement, I am also trying not to be hard on myself — I don’t have to hold onto all the mistakes that I made as an editor. I could probably spend a lifetime critiquing all the work I put into every article I edited, but I just want to be proud of what I learned and accomplished. I found that my experience can’t be told through any article I worked on — it instead lives in all these comments, conversations, edits and Slacks I continue to revisit. 

Claire DiLorenzo was Assistant Managing Editor for the 134th term of The Cavalier Daily, copy senior associate for the 133rd term and copy editor for the 131st and 132nd terms.


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