Letter from the (outgoing) Editor: a long-overdue farewell

Letters Opinions
Our former Editor-in-Chief Cormac O’Brien, pre-tenure and post. See if you can spot the difference. Photos by Belle White, Senior Staff Photographer and Marshall Scott-Bigsby, Contributing Writer

When writing heartfelt goodbyes, people typically start with a “As [important job position] of [company with a terrible, stuffy name], people always ask me . . . ”

Unfortunately I can’t do that, because as Editor-in-Chief of the Martlet, no one ever really asked me about the stuff I did here.

Instead, I spent a lot of time asking other people questions, like, “What’s going on?” “How did this happen?” or — my personal favourite — ”The website is down again?”

I can pretend that’s because journalists are supposed to be asking the questions, not answering them, but it really just speaks to how unprepared I was when I started as Editor-in-Chief at the Martlet.

Nowadays, I’m asking fewer questions. (The main one: “Is there a difference between being a full-time musician and being unemployed?”) Instead, I get to see other people asking big, important questions about their university, their city, and their world. I couldn’t have known it going in, but this is the most exciting part about being the Editor-in-Chief. You watch people grow and learn, continuing to create a better paper and community.

I won’t miss the late nights, the copy editing mistakes, or the UVSS elections, but I will miss the people.

These people make up the amazing Volumes 70 and 71 Martlet staff and volunteers, and they are a bunch of phenomenal journalists, editors, and designers.

I won’t miss the late nights, the copy editing mistakes, or the UVSS elections, but I will miss the people.

They’re also the UVic community, who shared their powerful stories with us. We broke tuition raises, covered rallies, and shared stories of love, loss, and condom wrappers. The stories have made impacts big and small, and it’s been a pleasure telling them.

They’re also the people I let down, whether personally or professionally. I came to and left the Martlet without including a territorial acknowledgement in the paper, I let stories slip away, and our coverage sometimes left a lot to be desired. I also made mistakes with people whom I care about deeply, and those mistakes have both kept me up at night and kept driving me forward to do better in the future.

They’re the brilliant and generous mentors I had throughout my time here: Myles, Alex, Cam, Jack, Zack, Bailey, Richard, David, Sarah, Kaitlyn, Hugo. (This 600-word article could easily be a list of names.) The work they do inspires me to do better, and the compassion and kindness they do it with is also terrifyingly impressive. I’m very happy and proud to say I know them.

I also count Anna Dodd, the Martlet’s next Editor-in-Chief, among the people I’ll miss. Anna is the best story editor I know, and her compassion, smarts, and warmth will make for one of the best Martlet newsrooms the paper has ever seen. If you haven’t met her, you’re missing out, and I recommend you go down and say hello before she’s whisked away as the copy editor for the Washington Post or something like that.

I’ll also miss you, the reader! (Though some of you are definitely more frequent readers than others). Thanks for picking up the paper, commenting on FB, or posting our stories somewhere yourselves. If you wrote something nice, thank you. And, honestly, if you wrote something mean, thanks as well.

(One of my favourite comments ever came from Corruption555 on Reddit, who commented on my article about sexualized violence and called it “fear-mongering propaganda from campus Marxists so they can justify their racist and misandric witch hunting of white men and gain influence.” I liked the comment so much that I took Corruption555 out for a coffee and we had a lovely chat. It was nice of him to meet with me, even though I am a misandric Marxist.)

On that note (and having overstayed my welcome for about four months or so), I’ll bow out. Thanks for reading this letter and this paper. I recommend that you continue to read the latter. Volume 71 is set to be a tremendous year of news, arts, opinion, and sports, and I hear the crosswords won’t be too bad either.

All the best,

Cormac O’Brien