In my first week as a Reed student, after reading a post on Facebook, I walked into a Quest contributors’ meeting. With delicious off-campus pizza and joyful chatter, a grimy room in the basement of the GCC felt welcoming. I remember sitting awkwardly in the corner, nervous and shy, before agreeing to write a profile of my new theater professor. A week later, I picked up the first Quest of the semester to find my story on the front page below the fold. I was so excited about it that I texted a picture to my parents. I wrote an article every week for my first semester at Reed, and then before student body elections, a Quest editor encouraged me to run. I did, and the rest was history.
I have been an editor for the Quest for three whole years. I started at Reed with no journalism experience — I mean my high school didn’t even have a newspaper — and now I know the whole process of writing, editing, and publishing a weekly newspaper. I’ve learned how to conduct interviews, write journalistic articles, and edit in line with AP Style guidelines. While I do not understand InDesign and Wani’s magical layout skills, I can help strategize how much content we need and where articles should be placed. Starting in my second semester, I took over uploading articles to the website, managing the Quest’s finances, and working with our printer, OregonLitho. Most of all, I learned how to work with our writers, teaching them the journalistic skills I was taught and guiding them through the writing process.
It has been the greatest honor and privilege of my Reed career to become a leader of this publication. Founded in 1913, the Quest is the longest-running student organization, representing a rich archive of the college’s history. In an era of decreasing student autonomy, the Quest serves the student body as the only completely independent and student-run source of information and news on campus. During my three years as an editor, I have witnessed increasing challenges to the Quest’s mission including a vindictive Judicial Board case, a suspicious change in funding, and a campaign of personal attacks on the editorial staff. I’ve paid to print an issue of the paper out of pocket, I’ve withstood death threats related to my work, and I’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of hours working on this paper. Being a Quest editor is an incredibly hard and thankless job, an act of service to the Reed community akin to being a senator. It’s been stressful and exhausting and miserable and easily the best thing I’ve done at Reed.
But being an editor has offered me more than a resume item, a journalism lesson, or a method of supporting the Reed community. The Quest is the greatest group of people I know, and I’m so grateful I got the opportunity to work with all of them. While I made a few friends my first semester, I didn’t find my place and my people until I became an editor. There’s nothing quite like all-night editing sessions for creating tight friendships. I will confess — like many Reedies — to not having many friends in high school, so I cannot overstate how wonderful and life changing it has been to gain these relationships. To my original editorial board of Ben Read, Elai Kobayashi-Solomon, Nick Chaiyachakorn, Loralee Bandy, and Purna Post-Leon, thank you for welcoming me into the fold and teaching me how to be an editor. To the next group including Val Lim, Dan Primka, Russ Foust, and Paul Molamphy, thank you for growing with me and letting me take over a lot of things. And to the recent staff of Abby Durrant, Betsy Wight, Albert Kerelis, Clarissa Lam, and Wani Pandey, thank you for loving this job as much as I do and ensuring the Quest’s future success. To our frequent contributors like Nicole Kretekos, Aislin Lighter Steill, Sabrina Blasik, and Pax Lloyd-Burchett, thank you for filling our pages and hanging out with us. Again, I love you all and I’m so thankful for the chance to work with you.
It’s been a true pleasure to be a Quest editor for the last three years. Good luck with finals, and have a restful winter break!
With love and appreciation,