Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


A heartfelt thank you to a place that gave me memories, lessons, friendships of a lifetime

After four unbelievable years, my goodbye to The Badger Herald
David Guenthner

I still remember the day I first joined The Badger Herald. I drove my bike all the way from Dejope Hall, following the GPS on my phone in one hand, without a single clue of where I was heading in search of this so-called office. 

As my GPS said I had arrived at the office, I looked around with utter confusion about where this place was, as there was no sign or indication that such a place existed. I finally saw someone standing at the entrance of a sketchy office building who invited me in. She allowed me to keep my bike inside the vestibule as I couldn’t find the nearest bike parking for some reason. I walked up the dimly lit stairs, at which point I convinced myself I had taken a wrong turn and ended up somewhere that was no longer Madison, Wisconsin. 

But that night changed my life. (Yes, I know I’m dramatic.)


I entered the Herald office knowing little to nothing about journalism. (I kid you not, I did not know how to contact or find a source). But, the Herald took me in with open arms and taught me everything I know.

As I moved up the ranks from reporter to associate to section head, I couldn’t get enough of this thing that admittedly had little to nothing to do with my career path. I typed as fast as humanly possible to write up articles right after events on digital nights, squeezed in interviews with sources in between classes, cold called potential sources hours before deadlines because nobody responded to my n number of emails and found sources in the most convoluted, bizarre ways. 

Four years later, I wound up as the editor-in-chief of the “largest independent newspaper.” My favorite interaction to this day is when I told people I was the EIC, followed by, “No, I’m not a journalism major, but actually pre-med.”

My time as EIC has been a whirlwind, to say the least — the hundreds of Slack messages I sent as I walked down the street, not looking up from my phone (seriously, it’s a miracle I didn’t get hit by something), the nights I spent dreaming about all the things that need to get done for the Herald (not exaggerating when I say I’ve had dreams about it, Eureka moments and nightmares), the anxiety of seeing hundreds of emails flood my inbox every day, the overwhelming fear I felt before hitting publish, the hours I spent in the Herald office waiting for digital stories to come in, the annoyance of my roommates when every other word that comes out of my mouth is Herald-related and the undeniable burnout of not being able to handle one more thing on my plate.  

But, there were countless beautiful parts that undoubtedly made up for the not-so-fun ones — celebrating with secret Santas, champagne nights, end of semesters and Bozo nights, crushing the Cardinal at softball and football, hosting the Herald’s first ever community listening session, uncovering breakthrough stories, laughing at EOS superlatives and the infamous quote wall, eagerly picking up a new physical edition from the stands Tuesday morning, receiving feedback from our community that we have reported on an issue well and even gossiping late at night in the office (this one mostly applies to Sophia). 

I lived, laughed, learned and cried at 152 W. Johnson St. I loved every second of it and wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. 

The Herald has given me more than I can put into words. It gave me the experiences of a lifetime (how else would I’ve gotten to meet the president of the United States). It showed me that it’s okay to make mistakes because that’s the only way to learn. It pushed me to ask for help, allowing me to understand that that doesn’t make me weak. It enlightened me on ways to connect with my community and support them in a time of need. It made me recognize that journalism serves as a way to bring overshadowed voices into the light. And it taught me how to be a leader.

Being a leader is so many things. As EIC, you wear many hats, from HR manager to designated party planner to custodian (I will forever have nightmares about how unsanitary the office is), but it’s more than that. It’s getting to know people beyond their role or responsibility and who they are as a person. It’s celebrating everyone’s accomplishments, big or small. It’s supporting your people no matter what and facing challenges together. It’s having courage to admit when you don’t know something and to take accountability when you’ve done something wrong. It’s acknowledging that there is always something to learn. It’s teaching others what you know so that they can one day become leaders. It’s giving feedback in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone but encourages them to take pride in their strengths and empowers them to grow from their weaknesses. We often forget the first part of the daily hustle and bustle. And inevitably, it’s having a lot on your plate. 

But, all of this wouldn’t mean anything without the people at the Herald. To all my fellow Heralders, I love you. You are the Herald and the most crucial part of this entire equation. Undoubtedly, you are what I will miss most about the Herald. 

To this year’s staff, you are amazing. The Herald would not be what it is without each and every one of you, and I’m so grateful to have been your leader this past year. I have learned so much from you. You have given me the memories of a lifetime, and you all have a special place in my heart. 

Erin: Simply put, you’re an inspiration in every way — as a leader, as a journalist and as a friend. When I took on this role as EIC, I hoped I would at least be one-eighth of the journalist and the leader you are. You are one of the most beautiful writers I have ever met, and you have a way with words that is truly remarkable. Your willingness to help others no matter what, and your ability to stay kind and grounded even in the most challenging times will always astound me. I have met very few people who wholeheartedly love what they do, and you are one of them. Your undeniable passion for journalism, your desire to serve your community and your willingness to learn are all things I wish to embody in my future career. You’re destined for greatness, and never forget how amazing you are. 

Celia, Cat and Sophia: Thank you for keeping the matriarchy going. I have no doubt in my mind that you will kill it as upper management next year, and the Herald is lucky to have the three of you at the helm. This job is demanding, exhausting and challenging. But it’s also the most enlightening, fulfilling and rewarding. When things get hard, remember to cut yourself some slack. It’s about progress, not perfection. Don’t be afraid to rely on each other, have each other’s back and ask for help. You don’t have to do it all yourselves. Teamwork and playing to each other’s strengths keep the ship running. Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy it because it’ll be over before you know it.

And now the two people I couldn’t have done this without, my rocks and my pillars — Audrey and Caroline. 

Audrey: I remember the first time we met over FaceTime to discuss your first Herald article. After getting off that call, I knew with the utmost certainty that you would be a phenomenal journalist, and you lived up to that expectation ever since. Your passion for journalism, particularly your dedication to report accurately and ethically, is inspiring. You care so much for the people around you, and it doesn’t go unnoticed. I’ve learned so much from you, from remembering to celebrate our victories just as much as we contemplate how to overcome our setbacks to taking a step back when you need to. You’re one of my best friends, and I am so grateful to have you in my life. I can’t wait to see how you change the world because I know you will. 

Caroline:  It feels like just yesterday we covered commencement together, and suddenly we were there as graduates ourselves. I remember the first time we met, too. It was at Savannah’s Halloween party, and the first thing I thought was, “That’s a killer Wanda costume.” But since then, I realized that you are legitimately superhuman. The way in which you just get things done will continue to astonish me for years to come. You’re never afraid to conquer something new, and thank you for engaging all my crazy ideas. Your desire to report on the things that go unnoticed and underreported is beautiful, and you are what the future of journalism needs. You are so kind and gracious, and I always feel I can confide in you about anything. I’m so unbelievably grateful to have had you at my side this year, as managing editor and as a friend. I hope you can enjoy some well-deserved time off as well. 

As my journalism journey ends, I can say, with confidence, that the lessons I’ve learned and the memories I’ve created along the way are ones I will keep and cherish forever. When I embarked on this position last year, I had so many insecurities about whether I was the right person for the job. I hope I have done it justice, and I know with utmost certainty the best is yet to come for the Herald. Thank you for everything!


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