A bittersweet departure

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Opinion by Kenny Yum

I remember the first day well.

A Wednesday afternoon in January, 1995.

A student, unsure of his journalistic skills, somehow drawn to the offices of The Eyeopener.

One of a dozen young news reporters this paper unleashed upon the campus that week, he started interviewing, reporting, writing.

And he was hooked.

So, after five years with this paper, he takes his leave.

It is the weekend before my final issue — my 100th — here at this paper, this time as its Editor-in-Chief. While our student staff are relieved that another stressful year is about to come to a close, I write this editorial with a different set of emotions. It’s a bittersweet experience: that I have come so far, but it’s almost over. Somehow, sadness reigns as this chapter of my life moves on.

It has happened for a host of other people — now journalists across the country — that there came a time that they had to leave The Eyeopener. Scores of Editors-in-Chief and hundreds of section editors and thousands of volunteers preceded me.

The Eyeopener, like Ryerson, exists in an unending circle. Looking at our past 31 years on this campus, we read the same stories chronicled for prosperity. We see the same fears and triumphs: an uncertain future, a last gasp of freedom before we launch ourselves into the real world. We see the same idealistic and proud young faces in the yearly staff pictures.

In this environment, we strive and succeed to produce a weekly newspaper. Although The Eyeopener has been maligned by some readers for being juvenile, offensive, arrogant, we are, in the end, what we are: students, young, stupid, brilliant and irreverent.

Our mission is to be your student newspaper. Our mission is to produce the best newspaper we can. We achieve that and I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.

I know they can’t because they can’t beat the unshakeable truth that this is your paper, a damn good one. Long after I am gone, and my current staff have left, there will be an equally talented and dedicated core of students that will run this publication. Along with them will be our full-time staff who preserve and strengthen this student organization.

Of my time here this year, it’s the editors, especially, who I attribute and thank for our success. They don’t know — that is, until now — of how proud and in awe I am of them in this “dream year.” They seek little glory but for the pages they produce, the writers that they teach and the debate that they encourage. They deserve my admiration and, I hope, your respect. Their reward, for the most part, is to have their names printed in seven-point font on page 4 every week.

But for me, and I’m sure for others, to be on the masthead of The Eyeopener is a great honour.

At our 30th anniversary alumni celebration in 1997, I watched people like Kirk LaPointe, recently Executive Editor of the National Post, reminisce about his days at ”The Eye”. I remember so many speeches but one theme: remember your days here, because it will be the best time you will have as a journalist.

So as we take this issue to print — for me, my 100th time — I’ll say and remember this. It has been the best time and it always will be.

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