Editor-in-Chief reflects on four years of service

Photo by Amy Rosenheim

By Zibby Pillote /// Editor-in-Chief

When I was a sophomore, the only things I hung on the cinderblock wall of my Copeland single were printed drafts of the front page of The Pioneer Log. Each week I would duct-tape the newest front page next to the last, until by the end of spring semester, I could see the beautiful journey I had taken with the newspaper over the last four months. I was so proud.

If I were to look at those drafts now, I think I’d be embarrassed. My first semester as Editor-in-Chief of The Pioneer Log, I knew nothing. I’d written one or two stories for the news section, a story about the sailing team, and about four hundred previews for concerts in Portland. I was unprepared, untrained and naive. I was a nineteen year-old overseeing a staff of fifteen or more who were older and much more jaded than me, and I failed miserably at earning their respect.

In the final semester of my senior year, I’m still collecting front pages, but now I wait until they come out on Friday so I can see them in color. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how far the paper has come. For two and a half years, I have served as Editor-in-Chief of your student run newspaper. And as I grew and changed into the 21-year-old graduate to-be that I am today, so did the newspaper.

In the past four years, we’ve been overseen by three different advisors. We’ve been in debt and we’ve come out of debt. We’ve changed our payment policy to include opinion writers. We’ve gone from printing in black and white completely to printing four of our pages in color. We’ve launched a new website. Our staff has grown. We’ve had articles written about us in the Oregonian. Most importantly, The Pioneer Log has worked extremely hard, especially this past year, to be a trustworthy and respectable platform for students, by students. I’m honored that I’ve gotten the chance to participate in so much change at The Pioneer Log. I’m honored to have worked with people who have graduated who taught me what I know, and I am so proud of the staff that will continue to develop the newspaper next year.

When I was a sophomore, I had no idea what I was capable of, no idea what the newspaper was capable of. It’s taken several reality checks, a few trainings and plenty of Googling for me to become the professional, confident and skilled editor that I am today. Because of The Pioneer Log, the Pioneer Express runs during the day, not just mornings and nights. Because of The Pioneer Log, the grounds staff was not outsourced. Because of The Pioneer Log, the college was held accountable when it violated our first amendment rights. And because of The Pioneer Log, I’ve interviewed my favorite musicians, written about the things I love about campus and Portland and earned a job after I graduate.

At the end of February, I watched my staff learn their trade at a national college journalism conference. I’ve been to four. For many, this was the first. Everyone was excited, inspired and jittery even on our 6 a.m. flight back to Portland. I was truly moved by the way the editorial staff spoke about the changes we would make to the newspaper upon our return. I leave The Pioneer Log knowing it is in good hands. I leave having written countless news stories, still only that one sports story, and far too many music-related articles. Thank you for reading The Pioneer Log. Thank you for giving me, and all of the people that work so hard every week the opportunity to create, learn, teach and grow.

And a shoutout to the following people, places and things: Hayley Trivett, Molly Robinson Kelly, Michael D’Angelo, Anthony Ruiz, Grayson Arango, the Papa John’s LC discount, André, all the kids I’ve had to kick out of the Mac lab, my roommates for leaving the door unlocked for me (and listening to me cry, complain and gush about the newspaper), Skyline for occasionally vacuuming the office carpet, the Catamaran Resort and the Pacific Ocean at Mission Beach (where I left my dignity). BOW DOWN.

Zibby Pillote is the editor-in-chief of the Pioneer Log. Her work has also appeared in The Portland Mercury and the Lewis & Clark College webpage. She likes to write about music and culture. Follow her @ZibbyPillote


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