Senior Column: Grace McFadden

The outgoing Digital Editor Grace McFadden, then and now. Photos courtesy of Grace McFadden/The Daily Campus

After being a digital producer, news writer and eventually associate digital editor, I became the digital editor — one of four executives — my junior year here at the University of Connecticut. Given the nature of the job, something the new Daily Campus executives do in training is go over a big document of exec scenarios. This is a four page long list of things you might have to deal with as an exec. It usually includes things like “What do you do if someone’s not doing their job?” or “What should you do if two people aren’t getting along?” 

Since I’m graduating, I figured I’d try to create a more accurate list of some of the scenarios I’ve faced in my four years at the DC. Here’s what you may be getting into by joining the student newspaper: 

  • It’s your first week of classes your first year, you barely know where your classes are, your cat just died and this guy you met from your new job at The Daily Campus asks if you want to come hang out at production. Do you go? 
  • Do you think it’s okay for the entire production staff to take two hours off in the middle of their shifts to stand in line for free Insomnia Cookies? 
  • How would you handle production bungling your headline so bad it goes minor league viral? 
  • A hypothetical: it’s your first week of production as digital editor. You’re drinking a warm White Claw at a tailgate. You get a Slack message saying it looks like the website is down, and you soon figure out that your domain name has expired. What do you do when the entire website is out for your whole first week on the job? 
  • How do you explain why you’re carrying a Christmas tree across campus other than  saying “it’s for the football game with the TV station”? 
  • How do you respond to angry feedback about the paper’s annual Valentine’s Day issue/sex map (and corresponding realizations from other organizations that they may not be fully aware of what happens in their offices)? 
  • What do you do when you find out two days before the banquet that the restaurant isn’t actually booked and you have 48 hours to pull together an entire end of year event? 
  • How do you encapsulate everything this organization has done for you in a single senior column? 

My first shift at The Daily Campus was the night before my first day of college classes. I am writing this column two days after the last day of classes. After everything, it feels fitting that this organization would bookend my college experience.  

The Daily Campus has been my foundation for the past four years. When I didn’t know who to talk to on campus my first year, there was the DC. When COVID-19 kept me locked in my dorm for most of sophomore year, the DC was the only place I could count on actually seeing people in person. Through junior and senior year, I was able to help lead the organization, and I’m honored and grateful for that. 

To The Daily Campus: thanks for all the 7/11 runs (RIP), dance parties, late night walks home, zona hours, editorial board dinners, icebreakers, 3 a.m. office conversations, extremely niche memes, elaborate cutouts, label maker labels, Wikipedia races, Sam/Zach races and races to quote wall someone. And fuck it, here’s to the stressful 90-minute emergency meetings, the papers not delivered, the shifts I called out sick, the shifts I showed up extremely hungover, the @channel Slack messages no one read, the single useless plunger that’s keeping our delicate plumbing system afloat and the light that fell out of the ceiling (also RIP).  

However corny it sounds, I really do want to thank everyone who I’ve had the chance to meet at this organization, because you guys don’t hear it enough. Everyone deserves a pat on the back for being deranged enough to work past midnight or write articles when they probably have homework. Thanks especially to every cohort of editors who I’ve had the chance to work with thus far — the amount of work you all put into the paper is unreal.  

Grace McFadden pictured (left) during her freshman year of college at the University of Connecticut. Photo courtesy of Grace McFadden/The Daily Campus

A few personal notes: Shout out to my predecessor Courtney, who, among being an amazing exec and mentor, was also the person who ensured that I was the first digital editor to get my own office. Shout out to Kim, the person who hired me based on a scared and overly formal email I sent the summer before my freshman year. Shout out to all the news editors I’ve worked with, but in particular Gabby and Ashley — you guys taught me how to write. Maggie and Brandon, Harrison, Zach and Sam: thank you for everything. You are the only people who truly understand what my experience here has looked like. And finally, Charlotte, you truly have been a pleasure to have in class. I couldn’t imagine a better successor. 

Despite everything else, this group of students still gets up five days a week to make a newspaper. Thinking about how the DC functions while you’re working there is something like thinking about how an airplane works while you’re flying in it: you realize how delicate the whole operation is and then you start hyperventilating about it all falling apart. This absolute Rube Goldberg machine of an organization was the basis for my personal and professional life, and not to sound cliché, but my home on campus. 

At the banquet this year, Zachary “Big Business” Wisnefsky said that there’s something poetic in the way we create a daily paper every day. We can print a paper with a comically large crossword, or a major misspelling, or a factual error or an article that shouldn’t have made it out of workshopping; but all this doesn’t matter because we have to wake up the next day and make another paper.  

The Daily Campus has been around since 1896. The people who started it are long gone, as are their successors and their successors. People graduate, buildings change, printing locations move, but The Daily Campus keeps printing a paper. If my math is correct, this is issue 140 of the year. The next group of Daily Campus editors will put hours into creating this issue, ship the pages off to the printer at midnight, have the papers delivered from Rhode Island at 4 in the morning and circulate it at dawn. 

And then next year, you all will do it again. And again. And again. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.  


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