Sailing On: Two Years at The West Georgian

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Being the Advisor for The West Georgian newspaper is something of a paradox. In one way my task is to be the benevolent “guide on the side” for the editorial staff. Then again there are times when my role is to be assertive, managerial, an “authority” figure.

There’s another way of putting this. When good things happen for The West Georgian, it’s because of the students’ great work—whereas when something goes wrong, it’s my fault. C’est la vie.

All that said, the success of The West Georgian in the last two years is indeed directly attributable to an exceptional group of student reporter/editors. Yes, it’s time for the dreaded guest editorial where I, the windbag professor/advisor, will wax poetic about the virtues of my dedicated students.

The end of the academic year is always a milestone, a time for both goodbyes and new beginnings. This year is especially poignant for me because the core staff of The West Georgian is finishing the final edition of the semester. This issue that you hold in your hands will be their last.

When I first arrived at UWG, I would be introduced as the new advisor for The West Georgian and people would ask me, “Are they still publishing?” We were all but forgotten. But there was still a hard core of driven writers and editors grinding it out—cranking out edition after edition when it seemed like nobody cared. These are the folks that brought the newspaper back to life, and now they’re on the verge of taking that final ride into the sunset. They’re graduating.

A lot has changed for The West Georgian. In two short years the newspaper has reemerged from a period of inertia, resumed print publication and gone from a bi-weekly to a weekly. And in this time I daresay the quality of the paper has gotten exponentially better.

There will always be room for improvement.  We’ve yet to win a Pulitzer Prize, for example. The Pulitzer is on our collective to-do list for the next academic year.

Still, I want to take this time to thank a vanishing breed—the original gangsta staff members of The West Georgian.  To everyone: the editors, reporters, reviewers, columnists, photographers, designers and webmasters of the last two years—a heartfelt thank you.

I would especially like to thank the Terrifying Three: Features Editor, Kathleen Sturgeon; News Editor, Donny Karr; and especially the “Master of Disaster,” Editor-in-Chief Ashley Copeland, who tirelessly, selflessly, fearlessly manned the helm of what might have felt like a sinking ship for a time. Simply put, Ashley is a real world-beater. Because of Ashley and the rest of the team, print’s not dead at UWG. It’s thriving, in fact.

Thanks to them, we’re sailing on.



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