Goodbye – But not really


by Caleb Geer, Editor-in-Chief

It’s been one hell of a year here at Simpson College. I have enjoyed being Editor-in-Chief this year, but next year I will be returning as the Advertising Manager instead.

This time last year, I was being offered the Editor-in-Chief position at The Simpsonian and I accepted. It felt odd at the time, as I am a marketing communications major and was only going into my junior year, but the position presented an opportunity that I welcomed.

Admittedly, I had to fight through a real case of Imposter Syndrome. After all, my predecessor, Amelia Schafer, was both a journalism major and a senior when she led The Simpsonian. She was also a major kickass student in general, but that is besides the point. As I got going this year, I found myself loving journalism more and more.

This surprised me as I never wanted to be a journalist most of my life. I grew up wanting to do something in science or engineering, but quickly found it not for me. I actually found myself choosing between attending Simpson or going into the trades. Ultimately, I ended up here and decided I wanted to pursue marketing which led me to declare as a marketing communications major.

The funny thing about the marketing communications major is that you are required to work in student media for two semesters which requires a prerequisite AP-style writing course. I had no idea what I was doing when I started the class, which was Professor Mark Siebert’s Media & PR Writing class. I had never done journalism or yearbook in either middle school or high school, so I was truly a clean slate. Through the class, I found something I felt I was good at and something that provided a welcome challenge. I especially remember winning a red pen for writing Siebert’s favorite ledes in the class, which was a huge turning point in my time at Simpson.

When I started writing for The Simpsonian as a staff reporter my sophomore year, I saw lots of opportunities. I quickly fell in love with how I was able to tell stories and inform the rest of campus. Working on the paper gave me the identity I had longed for after coasting numbly through my COVID-19-ruined senior year of high school and freshman year of college. My news writing became a point of pride which led to me joining the editorial staff as the copy editor in the spring. The staff felt like family.

This school year, I was able to serve as Editor-in-Chief, which was a life-altering experience. I got to lead the oldest student-published newspaper in the country. Absolutely wild, and freshman year me would have never even considered the possibility. Moving the paper forward this year was great and I truly could not have done it without my editorial staff which I am forever thankful for. ID Magazine Editor-in-Chief Katie Burns redesigned our materials for the paper this year which I am thrilled to have helped implement although the physical materials are all her work.

I have done my best to deliver balanced reporting to campus which involved student voices. For much of the year, not only did students feel they were in the dark, but I did as well since I couldn’t get clear answers for students on certain topics, like renovations, which took center stage this year. This led me to feel I was doing a disservice to the community and I decided to fight for what I believed the students deserved to know.

Along with the achievements and welcomed feedback I got over the course of the year, I also received my first threatening email for an article I wrote. This certainly caught me by surprise, but through my education and training, as well as reassurance from my peers, I knew I was in the right. I wanted to make sure I served Simpson’s campus to the best of my ability, and to me, that consisted of making sure everyone knew what they had the right to know.

The experiences I was able to have this year with the great editorial staff and faculty around me will remain with me forever. I will specifically look back fondly on our trip to Washington D.C. for MediaFest. Dancing outside the White House to “All the Single Ladies” will be forever iconic.

I’m not great at goodbyes, but this isn’t really that. I’ll be here next year in a different capacity, but I will still be working to keep the campus as informed as it deserves to be. Thanks for a great year, everyone, and I am happy to announce that Jenna Prather, current news editor at The Simpsonian, will be assuming the editor-in-chief role next year, so be sure to give her a crisp high-five if you see her on campus. 

As always, #RollStorm!