Golden: Reflecting on my four years at The Daily

Andrew Golden, Daily Senior Staffer

Graduation Issue 2021

My journey at The Daily got off to a rocky start.

I walked into the tiny Daily Northwestern newsroom for the first time freshman year for an open house, and my heart was beating out of my chest. My best friend Marissa Martinez strode with confidence into the room and immediately introduced herself to editors, made small talk and got herself involved.

I, on the other hand, couldn’t begin to gather my thoughts and figure out what to say. I eventually found myself standing in front of the sports desk and the sports editor at the time: Jonah Dylan.

Jonah introduced himself and we began to talk, but he was whisked away by another editor. I was left standing in the middle of a loud, crowded room, yet felt alone and lost. So, I walked out of the room.

I often joke with Jonah that the reason I joined The Daily so late was because he ignored me at that open house. In reality, I didn’t think I was worthy of writing for The Daily.

What I did promise myself as I made the trek back to my dorm was that I owed it to myself to go back in the future and give it a chance.

A few months later, I sauntered back into Norris and made my way up the elevator. This time, I had much more success. I walked up to the sports desk with confidence, albeit not that much more than before, and was able to talk to the new sports editor Joe Wilkinson.

The decision to come back to The Daily was the greatest decision I have ever made.

Each time I walked into that newsroom, I left it knowing I was better than when I entered. It wasn’t always perfect; I had stressful deadlines, had stories torn apart and ones that I’ve had to re-write completely. But I knew that as long as I gave my best effort on every story, I could be satisfied with the results.

It also helped that the people in the newsroom had my best interests in mind and pushed me to be better. A tall, quiet, curly-haired guy who lived in my freshman year dorm, a few girls who I went to a high school summer camp with and random classmates working on other desks became some of my closest friends.

During my time at The Daily, I have had the opportunity to travel to places I would never have imagined visiting when I first got here: Palo Alto, Lincoln, Bloomington, Iowa City, Madison and Champaign among others. I even had a chance to cover a Final Four as a sophomore and take photos with no experience at all.

Being at The Daily has taught me a lot of things aside from journalism: how to form meaningful relationships, how to build community and how to advocate for myself and what I believe in.

If I’ve had one qualm with my time at The Daily, it’s that I notice the same issue at each sporting event I cover across the country. I am one of, if not the only, Black person in the press box. I often have this same experience in my classes at Northwestern.

This feeling of isolation is a truly awful feeling. It constantly baffles me that in sports that I have covered, like football or basketball, the race of the journalists covering events doesn’t represent the race of the players on the field or court.

The same goes for positions of power within newsrooms. When I became sports editor in fall of 2019, it was the first time that a Black person had been sports editor since Khadrice Rollins was in the fall of 2015. Before him, Ava Wallace was the sports editor in the Winter of 2014.

This is a Northwestern problem, but also a problem with journalism in general. The 2018 AP Sports Editor Report Card found that 85% of sports editors were white and 82.1% of sports reporters were white.

Moving forward, Northwestern needs to commit to not only bringing in Black journalists, but also making concerted efforts to make its Black students feel welcomed.

I’ve had a lot of great experiences here and felt supported at times, but have also been called the wrong name in front of my parents by a professor who mistook me for another Black student in the grade above me. I know from talking to other Black classmates that I’m not alone in these negative encounters.

Since my time as sports editor at The Daily, we’ve had another Black sports editor, Sophia Scanlan, who did an incredible job. I hope there continues to be more Black sports editors after me, and it’s not another four years before we have another leading the desk.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @andrewcgolden