Letter: Thoughts from the Winonan’s new editor-in-chief

Allison Mueller

Allison Mueller/Winonan

What an amazing two years it has been with the Winonan so far! I have previous editors and an awesome staff to thank for that. Now as I begin my junior year as editor-in-chief, I find myself extremely thankful for everything the Winonan has given me over the years.

As a journalism major, I knew my freshman year that I had to gain as much experience as I could and start getting my feet wet. I heard about the Winonan student newspaper on campus and thought it would be a great place to start. After submitting an application and samples of sports pages I created for my high school yearbook, Alyssa Griffith, the sports editor at the time, hired me to write for her.

I showed up to the first meeting with no clue as to what I was getting into or how anything worked. I had no mass comm classes under by belt and virtually no experience with interviewing, AP style, or any other journalistic need-to-knows. Needless to say, I was pretty nervous and intimidated.

The Winonan editors were unbelievably helpful and encouraging, which really helped ease my nerves and build my confidence as a writer. With each issue that was published I could feel myself getting more and more comfortable at the Winonan and with reporting. To this day I am incredibly thankful for the doors this publication has opened for me right out of high school.

Near the end of my freshman year Alyssa asked if I’d be interested in taking over her position as sports editor as she graduated from Winona State. I was both flattered and surprised by her proposal and was eager to learn the editing ropes.

Once Alyssa was gone and I was officially left to fend for myself as editor I could feel the freshman-year nerves tugging at me again. Fortunately the Winonan was led by an amazing editor-in-chief last year, Julia Sand, and I was able to turn to her with anything.

Accepting the position as sports editor was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned from the experience and how good of friends I became with my fellow editors (we can all agree that Monday night layouts consisting of fruit snacks and a never-ending flow of Dum Dums played a huge role in the growth of our friendship).

Three of our editors graduated last year: Kylie Bridenhagen, Molly O’Connor and Julia. This time when I was offered another key role in the newspaper as editor-in-chief those freshman-year nerves were still there, but I knew I was well-equipped with the tools previous editors had given me to handle this responsibility.

Long story short, I wanted to write this letter for a few reasons. One, to give a shout out to my newly departed editing buddies from last year because you guys are missed dearly in the office. Two, so readers can get an idea of who I am and how much I love being involved with this paper. And three, to send the message that you never know what you can do until you try. I would have never imagined that one day I’d be lucky enough to fill the role as editor-in-chief of the Winonan, but here I am. As soon as you finish reading this awesome first issue from front to back I challenge you to go and try something new, something that makes you feel those freshman-year nerves. You never know what may come out of a new experience!