Gen Xer finds niche

Janet Schaaf

I am returning to The University News staff as News Editor this year after spending last year as a copy editor. It was a year I enjoyed more than I could have imagined. I will admit to beginning this journey for purely selfish reasons: money, experience to include on my resume and perhaps in part to escape my too-real adult life. I didn’t join the staff because I wanted to make a difference in the world, but joining the staff did make a difference in me. It plugged me in to campus in a way I did not anticipate.

As a copy editor, I read almost every article that was published in the paper and some that didn’t make the cut. I have met people I probably would not have otherwise met, and I’ve listened to their tales of joy and sorrow as a generational outsider. I have some personal experience not giving advice unless specifically requested to do so – I have a college-aged child who is not always interested in my perspective, although that is changing as he gets older.

This will be my last semester at UMKC, as I am just one class shy of my English degree. In my time away from campus, I work part-time in the MCC-Longview community education office. I am an avid reader – no surprise coming from an English major – and am almost always in the middle of two books at the same time. My current selections are James Joyce’s “Dubliners” and “On Writing” by Stephen King. Being a part of U-News also turned my eyes to more news reading than in the past.

This publication went through some changes last year: an experiment with two editors-in-chief, a new format and a new faculty advisor. I didn’t realize how many changes had taken place until I listened to a few conversations about the previous year. We have fewer changes this year and it feels like a solid start.

We have new leadership in Kynslie Otte. Kynslie is an excellent writer. I hope you enjoy reading her work – I do. I am excited to be working alongside her this year.
Several former writers, editors and staff will be back in the U-News house again. Be sure to look on the masthead for familiar names of those who are continuing to hone their journalism skills. This year’s reporting will have the benefit of solid experience by writers excited to be a part of this organization.

I consider myself lucky to be included in this group of college students working diligently to bring you the news. I suppose my reason for being here has changed. It feels a little more altruistic this year because I have a vested interest in this paper and this institution. UMKC will be my alma mater in a few short months and I want to be proud of what I leave behind.