Liberty Champion Staff Goodbyes
Emily Wood – Editor-in-Chief
Words cannot express my gratitude for the Liberty Champion. I grew both personally and professionally and became a better writer, communicator and leader through my time at the Champion. The real-world newsroom experience contributed so much to my journalism education and gave me opportunities I never even imagined.
Through the long production days, many rounds of editing and lots of trial and error, we all became better journalists and people in the process. I owe so much of who I am as a journalist and person to the Champion.
Some of my favorite college memories were made in the Champion office and I cannot think of a better group of people to have worked alongside. It was a joy to do what we love together each week as we provided quality content, told Liberty’s stories and documented our college days. This task was never something I took lightly and I enjoyed every minute of it.
We learned so much more than journalism in making the newspaper each week. I will miss the encouraging and high-energy office atmosphere and the amazing people who filled it! It is truly a special place.
Before Mrs. Huff encouraged me to apply, working for the Champion was not on my radar. Now, it is hard to imagine college without it. The Liberty Champion is a highlight of my college experience and I am forever grateful for this opportunity. Thank you, Liberty University and Champion staff for making my experience so wonderful!
Chad Wylie – Asst. Sports Editor
Every time I write for the Liberty Champion, I am struck with amazement at the fact that people want to read what a 21-year-old college student has to say about the world. That reality is equal parts humbling and inspiring — to know that, in some small way, I can contribute to conversations much larger than myself. It’s a responsibility I know all journalists must take seriously, and that weight never loses its power on me.
My generation now faces uncertainty like never before. People are dying, losing their jobs, confronting the toughest challenge since that fateful day in September, 2001. Unfortunately, fear is much more accessible than facts.
Journalism was not the path I envisioned for myself growing up. I chose it as a major simply to learn writing and speaking skills to take to law school. But I learned a lesson in every class at Liberty and in every production meeting at the Champion, and if I could leave you with that same lesson it would be this: in all things, let truth shine through.
Truth shines through a cloud of agendas. Fear is only confronted with facts. I know so much better than I did three years ago how to chase after truth with reckless abandon, pursuing it, digesting it and projecting it to the world around me.
I appreciate the Champion newsroom for the friendships, the laughs, the memories and the constant heckling. I will never forget the Champion newsroom because it gave me my first platform to pursue the truth and share it with readers, and, with your permission, I would do that one more time:
Never lose hope. Never give up. I see now more than ever how the resilience of our nation, and our world, comes not through policies or individual efforts. It comes through community.
Be an encouragement to your community, and receive the encouragement of others. We have gone to the moon, rebuilt after tragedy, created cell phones and airplanes. We’ve done it together. And together, we will triumph once again.
Abby Bowman – Opinion Editor
There are two things that the Lord has put in this world that I love more than anything: words and people.
In my year as opinion editor for the Liberty Champion, I have experienced the best of both.
Working with words is, of course, the obvious benefit to working at a newspaper. I had the privilege of editing articles written by my extremely talented coworkers, whose passionate and pristine writing never ceases to amaze me.
I also assigned and edited more articles than I can count for my student writers and thoroughly enjoyed watching each of them showcase their writing style and skill.
I even got to explore my own opinions and musings in my column, “Adventures with Abby.”
Yet I never would have enjoyed either editing or writing as much as I did were it not for the truly marvelous group of people I worked with. I’m going to miss being able to ask for story ideas and receive suggestions ranging from the latest political hullabaloo to the intricacies of Kanye West’s music.
I’m also going to miss the plethora of office conversations that had absolutely nothing to do with work and everything to do with friendship. I’m especially going to miss the little chats I would have with Mrs. Huff about everything under the sun.
No matter where the Lord leads me post graduation, I will always look back at my time at the Champion and smile.
Rachel McClamroch – Copy Editor
It wasn’t that long ago that I regarded the Champion office as a Dickens orphan would a bakery window display, metaphorical nose pressed against the metaphorical glass, looking in on this Ultimate Club of Cool People.
The level of talent in this staff is extraordinary for a bunch of students, but I especially appreciate their humor and kindness. Even when I was holed up in my little office in the back, I would hear loud repartee and brainstorming and think how privileged I was to be part of the team.
I originally went for the copy editor position because I did not want to overload myself with writing assignments during my last semester. The result was that I became enamored with a new role within the media industry. I could unleash my perfectionism to explore those little nuances of the English language, encourage writers in their skills and help readers understand.
Maybe I will end up in a copy-editing career, maybe I won’t — but I will always be grateful for this job that awoke my love for it. And wherever I go, I can only hope that any future newsroom of mine will be just as full of friendly, zany people.
Emily Baker – Sports Editor
It’s a little strange to be writing this goodbye, if I’m honest. The Champion has been a part of each semester I’ve spent at Liberty, and I’ve learned and grown so much through my experiences. This semester may not have gone as planned, but that’s okay. I’ve had the chance to meet so many of my closest friends through the Champion, and I’m forever grateful for the people I’ve gotten to know and love. It wasn’t always easy, but helping produce this paper every week was one of the highlights of my college career.
Maybe the saddest goodbye is the one I never had the chance to say to Lil’ Champ, our resident betta fish and flake-eater extraordinaire.
Benjamin Craft – Asst. News Editor
God works in funny ways.
Around the middle of the last semester, I was beginning to lose hope about my future as a journalist. I needed an internship to finish my degree, and every corner I turned seemed to be a dead end. If I couldn’t even succeed in college, how could I be expected to compete in the job market?
Then due to unforeseen circumstances, I was given a new professor halfway through the year. I knew Mrs. Huff as the nice lady that ran the Champion, but I hadn’t interacted with her personally very much at all.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Mrs. Huff asked me if I wanted to interview for a position at the Champion.
Mrs. Huff gave me a chance, and I will be grateful for that for a long time. The Champion helped build my confidence in working in a newsroom, and in myself.
While working alongside some of the best people I met in college, I experienced hectic production days and tight deadlines. It was pretty awesome.
Every day that I worked in that office, I fell more in love with being a journalist as I continued to grasp the power that stories hold.
The team at the Champion were a constant joy, and it was wonderful to produce content for readers every week.
Thank you to Mrs. Huff and everyone on the team for an incredible semester. And thank you, the Champion readers, for allowing us to enter into your lives for a short while every Tuesday.
Jenna Crenshaw – Feature Editor
When I was first hired on to the Champion staff, I still wasn’t sure that being a writer was in my future. But when I accepted the position as feature editor, I no longer had a choice.
I wasn’t originally planning to pursue journalism. In fact, my love for cooking beckoned me to pursue a culinary arts degree and do what I loved — create symphonies with food. I had no idea that there was another passion that kept me in the kitchen.
Putting meals together set my mind free to dream, and cooking became a way for me to absorb stories in the background through music or movies. My brain finally had space to make connections between concepts, which evolved into me venturing out to tell my own stories, but not with food — with words.
But writing doesn’t come as easily as cooking. For me, writing takes courage. A blank page is far less condemning than hundreds of words that aren’t exactly what I want to say. Finding the right word or phrase demands accessing feelings that tend to hide in the shadows of my mind. Writing a story could take days, and sometimes I felt like if I were meant to be a writer, it wouldn’t be so difficult.
If it weren’t for my time at the Champion, I would have never pushed through the fear of never being able to find “exactly” the right word to open the floodgates of meaning I was longing to convey. That magical occurrence didn’t happen every time, but every time it did I was surrounded by the encouragement of my coworkers and supervisors and I never again wondered if writing was what I was meant to do.
I am forever thankful for the friendships I’ve gained and lessons I learned during my time at the Champion. I will remember that office as the place where I decided that my dream was bigger than my fear.
LaCroy Nixon – Graphic Designer
Even in the short time that I’ve worked with the Champion I’ve grown so much as a designer, as a teammate and as a worker. The camaraderie of the Liberty Champion office is so positive. Everyone there is easy to work with and just all-around fun. I’m glad I got the chance to collaborate with such amazing people. I have to say that all of the late nights, tight deadlines and hard work were worth it — especially on this team.