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Senior Goodbye: Jake Brien

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Senior Goodbye: Jake Brien

Photo by: Jake Brien

Photo by: Jake Brien

Photo by: Jake Brien

Jake Brien, Commentary Editor

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Dear all,

I think the biggest challenge for me right now is trying to reflect back on three years of an amazing tenure as one of the Commentary Editors (CE).

I feel I should start by thanking Ian for his incredible help throughout my tenure as CE. He was always very kind and willing to help. He never seemed to let stress get the better of him and he is a perfect example of how a CE should be. He’s humility and excellent page design and writing skills are something I think any CE should have.

I would also like to give a shout out to both Cianna and Abby for carrying the torch left by the seniors before us and even surpassing them in many regards. The Dispatch couldn’t have asked for two more qualified people for EIC. Each of them are light years ahead of many of us when it comes to page design, are exceptional leaders/role models, and created innovations in page design that inspired me in many of my designs both junior and senior year.

Newspaper changed my life for the better. Well, it’s not exactly the single reason I’ve progressed positively throughout high school, but it’s a damn good one regardless. Working as CE gave me structure and a sense of purpose throughout high school. Regardless of whatever awards our paper was winning throughout the years, I always felt like we were making a difference — not just in the way Bowie’s students connected with us, but how Dispatch staff members developed critical thinking skills.

I hope that any future or current staff member understands that school is not just for the purpose of acquiring skills like algebra and proper essay writing and so forth; rather, it’s so that we can learn to think critically and manage learning new skills in a quick and efficient way so that being a diverse, well-balanced person can become easier as we build on one skill to the next.

Some people say that journalism as an institution is fundamentally disconnected with the public. I disagree. I feel as though what The Dispatch represents is base-level skill learning done right that represents how journalism is not a lost cause. Every mainstream media reporter had to start somewhere and I couldn’t think of a better way to prepare pragmatic, proper journalists than Bowie High School’s newspaper.

To my fellow student journalists who wish to pursue journalism for a career, I urge you all to challenge the contemporary institution of mainstream journalism. We all know it’s changing — and frankly, it’s for the better. The sensationalist agenda, and sometimes outright ideological one, from the 24 hour news cycles is something we must overcome. It’s your duty as enlightened student journalists to tackle the modern era effectively using the skills you’ve learned to change the institution of journalism for the better.

I would like to give an enormous thank you to Reeves. He’s been an excellent teacher and a role model for me. His advice on editing commentaries opened my perspective on what being a CE means. It’s not just about editing for structure and grammar mistakes, it’s about fostering creative thinking and self-confidence from staff writers. I made the mistake early on while CE during sophomore year was over-editing; an editor that edits minimally is an editor that edits best.

To all of you who are sophomores and juniors, I hope you each play a role in helping out with the student press rights movement of New Voices. The state of TX meets biannually, so it’ll be another two years before we can get a senate or house bill passed. Prior review and censorship is something we have not experienced at The Dispatch (knock on wood), but many other student journalists have. I encourage you all to read more on the subject. It’s a truly amazing cause that deserves your attention and help.

A HUGE shout out to the online team! I’m so proud of them and they’re small team is a true power group that cranks out some of the best content in this paper. Austin, your podcast is amazing, and I’m excited to see where it goes next. Kaitlyn and Mo are incredible leaders and I wish many of us had their same level of true passion for what journalism is all about. They deserved all the awards they got and they rock!

Lastly, I want to thank my Mom and Dad for encouraging me to always improve my character throughout high school and to give a huge shoutout to my Mom — her skills as an English teacher came in handy throughout high school and my tenure at The Dispatch.

Gig ‘em!

Jake Brien

P.S. Austin’s podcast is awesome, Dalton is an amazing artist, Peter will be a great EIC, Preston is an amazing photographer, Carter and Maya will do great as CEs, Katie is the best editorial writer that we ever could have hoped for, Chase is hilarious, the journalism conventions were great, and I love you all!

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Senior Goodbye: Jake Brien