Column: Mary Racette’s Lanthorn farewell

Column: Mary Racettes Lanthorn farewell

Mary Racette

I very vividly remember the day I was offered my first position with the Lanthorn. The arts editor at the time, Nick Moran, sent me the email while I was sitting in a hammock at a small outdoor concert sometime in Sept. 2018. As I was reading the job offer, I remember the band started playing a cover of a song by one of my favorite bands, Vampire Weekend, and in that moment I was overwhelmed with excitement.

I began my time at Grand Valley State University with the goal of joining the Lanthorn, so having the opportunity to be a staff writer so early on in my college career was a big deal to me. 

Admittedly, there have been times throughout the years where my enthusiasm for my job has lessened and writing weekly stories on top of school work got harder. But, those were the times when I would remind myself of how excited I was when I was first brought on board and how lucky I am that I’m following the path that freshman me would’ve been proud of. 

Joining the Lanthorn has made a huge impact on my growth as a journalist as I have had continuous opportunities to practice skills in reporting for the last three and a half years. While I learned many valuable lessons in my journalism classes on campus, having the responsibility of writing and editing weekly gave me the practice I needed to grow more confident in my work.

I came to GVSU primarily for their multimedia journalism program and I’ve never regretted this decision. I value the range of skills that I have developed through my in-class and extracurricular activities such as the Lanthorn and Grand Valley Television.

In many cases, a journalist has certain beats they are most interested in. For me, arts and entertainment is my favorite subject to cover. I appreciate the freedom my class projects always gave me to explore my interests and apply them to my work.

Being able to work with peers with differing specialties and viewpoints was very interesting and helped expand my own views. Collaboration was a theme in most journalism classes, so it gave me the opportunity to learn from my classmates. 

In addition to these classroom interactions, the Lanthorn newsroom atmosphere gave me the opportunity to work closely with a very talented team of writers and editors. 

I think the GVSU multimedia journalism professors are effective in teaching journalism. They’re able to share their experiences from their own media careers. Instead of taking notes only to memorize and regurgitate information on a term paper, I was always genuinely interested in what my professors had to say. 

My advisor Jeff Kelley Lowenstein was especially helpful in helping me find my place at GVSU and in journalism. 

The Lanthorn experience is one that I would recommend to anyone studying journalism at GVSU. The opportunities I gained with the newspaper have been so valuable to my growth and journalism and I know I’ll take these key experiences with me throughout my career.