Family away from home, home away from family

The mission statement of the Butler Collegian is just one of the innumerable collaborative efforts that come with being a part of the editorial family. Photo by Josh Doering.

CHRIS BROWN | SPORTS EDITOR | cbbrown@butler.edu

If you’re lucky enough to spend the better part of four years at Butler University, there’s a good chance you’ll find a home away from home, a family away from family.

That could come from a club you join, a team you play on, a floor in a residence hall. For me, the new family I made was in Fairbanks 210, the Butler Collegian office.

The family that forms around The Collegian stems from some common goals and passions: to inform, to entertain, to challenge — to tell powerful stories that make a difference. That doesn’t look the same for everyone — that difference could be anything from helping students make it through the semester to just putting a smile on a person’s face —  but those core goals unite each person that spends countless hours in room 210 and around campus on behalf of Butler’s student news organization.

For the past four years I’ve covered everything from campus construction to networking events, from upset victories to crushing defeats, from contract extensions to transfers. By my count, I’ve written well over 100,000 words across hundreds of stories for The Collegian.

But those words don’t carry much weight, don’t go far in accomplishing those goals, without the people that make them possible. 

First, it’s the people who welcome us into their lives, personal and professional, to tell the stories that make a difference. I could probably count on one hand the amount of times I’ve used first person pronouns in a story. It’s not about me and it’s not about us, it’s about the players, coaches, administrators, students, staff and faculty who give us a glimpse into their world to tell their stories. 

Second, it’s the people we work to serve every day. It’s you, our audience, who we’re committed to produce the best product for; it’s you we keep in mind when we come up with story ideas and seek answers from administrators, coaches, students. It’s you and your support that makes what we do, and what we constantly strive to improve in, possible.

Third, it’s the people who frequent room 210, who directly make what we do possible. The majority of the content The Collegian produces has just one byline on it. But there are few things I’ve been a part of in my life that have been such a collaborative effort, and that’s hard to easily put into words.

Every story, every video, every page of the paper may have just one or a few names on it, but the number of people who made that piece of content what it is is enormous. There’s the other designers, editors, photographers and reporters that fundamentally shaped that piece, and then there’s those who shaped each of those people. 

I would never be the writer, the editor, the person I am today without the colleagues-turned-friends who’ve taught, supported and challenged me along the way in the best and worst of times — often in ways I might not have understood in the moment. I’m afraid if I start listing names, I may reach the 200,000 word mark in a hurry, and simply thanking them doesn’t seem nearly enough.

But around those common goals — to inform, to entertain, to challenge — a new and ever-evolving family is formed within the walls of Fairbanks 210 and across campus each year. My life will forever be better for what was the best experience of my college career. And that’s not because of one story, or really any stories at all — it’s about the family that forms.

Little did I know when I climbed the steps of the Fairbanks Center to pick up a paper application three school years ago, I’d be finding that home away from home and joining that family — a family that together truly makes a difference.

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