There are days when I look back at my time working for the Daily Eastern News, from 2014-2018, and I don’t know how we pulled it off.
A bunch of broke college students, all from different backgrounds and levels of experience, who came together to put out a paper five days a week, while juggling school projects, papers and exams. Why did we do it? How did we do it?
Was it adrenaline? The passion we had for our work? The millions cups of coffee and cans of energy drinks we drank? Who knows.
But somehow, every Monday through Friday, there would be a copy of the Daily Eastern News on stands all around campus. It was the closest thing I had back then to a miracle: that we could all come together, every night, even when there were so few of us, to tell the story of our university, in all its forms.
As one of the only daily student newspapers in the state,tasked with covering the campus and Charleston community responsibly and accurately, my co-workers and I all felt the awesome responsibility that this privilege afforded us.
Being daily was a source of pride for us, but I like to think a paper is more than how much it publishes. When I think of my time at the Daily Eastern News, I am incredibly proud of how we were able to print every weekday. But what I’m most proud of is the stories we broke. The public figures we held accountable. How we kept our community informed.
During my time at Eastern, my co-workers and I chronicled the university at its best, and worst. We wrote about the good times, the bad and everything in between. We made mistakes, but we grew from them. And while all my friends from the Daily Eastern News took on a variety of different careers after college, I like to think we all took something from our time at such a special newspaper, whether it’s a certain skill, an appreciation for journalism, or just memories of some great times.
As grateful as I am for all the classes I took while in college, it was working at the Daily Eastern News that really prepared me for my current career as a reporter. The fast pace,the way I never knew what each day would bring- all of that came with the territory as a student reporter, and that hasn’t changed as I entered the workforce. Being at the DEN taught me the basics: how to interview people, how to write a lead, a headline, how to design a paper. But it also taught me to question everything, to read between the lines, to remain skeptical, but fair, and how to have compassion for others- and myself- when things got rough.
No matter if the DEN is a daily paper, a weekly paper, or something in between: that won’t change the love its students feel for their craft, and their mission of holding the university’s feet to the fire, of making sure it’s everything it can be and more. This year’s staff has the tenacity, reporting chops, curiosity and kindness it takes to do excellent journalism, and I can’t wait to see what they do and how they experiment with presenting the news in a more digital space. I was lucky enough to be working at the Daily Eastern News during its 100th anniversary: I can’t wait to read it for 100 more.
Cassie Buchman, class of 2018, is a reporter with the Northwest Herald in McHenry County.