Editor says goodbye to The Gannon Knight

Madeline Bruce, Editor-in-Chief

Before I even stepped foot on Gannon’s campus, it was my goal to become editor-in-chief of The Gannon Knight.

At that point, as an 18-year-old senior in high school, I didn’t know exactly how I’d get there. It felt far away and like a dream that had the potential to not come true.

Yet, here I am. After four years of writing for The Knight, three years of being on the editorial board and one oh-so-short year of leading it, I am producing my last issue.

It’s hard to put how I feel about this organization into words. How do you limit something that was part of your life every day for years to a few hundred words?

My freshman year, I struggled to find my place on campus. Before that, I fought violently to not come to Gannon.

I applied to several other colleges in hopes that I would get good enough financial aid that it would justify not choosing Gannon, where I would basically attend for free due to my mother’s employment at the university.

When it was finally time for me to choose Gannon, I cried tears of frustration. It felt like my life was ending, which was incredibly dramatic, looking back on it. However, I now know that it was just beginning. Gannon as a whole became my home, and I am finding it difficult to say goodbye after the happy yet tumultuous years I had here. Most of all, though, my happiness is attributed to The Knight.

I remember touring Gannon the summer before my junior year of college and stepping into The Knight office. It smelled like old newspapers, and I began to envision myself sitting at one of the desks. I thought about how much fun it would be to be part of something like this.

I can testify that it is. The Knight and the people I have encountered and bonded with because of it have singlehandedly made Gannon feel like home. I walk away from this organization with many lifelong friends and college memories I never thought I’d have.

The Knight gave me hope in a time that I felt like I really didn’t have any. Walking into the newsroom at the beginning of my sophomore year, I was extremely lonely and felt like an outsider on campus. Just when things started to look up, the pandemic hit.

The only thing on my mind was that we weren’t going to be able to produce the paper. What would I do without Tuesday night pizza and Frank’s red pen all over my work? What would I do if I couldn’t write? How would we operate in a completely online capacity?

But just like it always does, journalism prevailed through the pandemic. The Knight was my solace and my source of hope as the pandemic months wore on, even though we weren’t operating in the capacity we used to.

When we got back to campus, falling back into the routine of producing every Tuesday night felt like riding a bike, and that remains true today. As I wrote earlier in the semester, I am incredibly lucky that I had the staff I did.

I couldn’t think of a better group of students to work with. Every week, they faced hurdles that would cause many others to give up. However, they pushed through and turned around high-quality content. They even made it look easy.

During our short 24 issues together, they showed me what innovation, hard work, creativity and resilience look like. I will carry their lessons with me in everything I do post-graduation.

Of course, I can’t write my last column without acknowledging Frank Garland, The Knight’s stalwart faculty adviser for the last 16 years.

I am lucky enough to be “riding off into the sunset” with Frank, as he said in an email to me a few weeks ago. This is his last issue as well, as he is retiring from Gannon in May.

I took all of Frank’s classes my sophomore year, and I attribute my success and growth as a writer to that.

In that academic year, Frank taught me more about myself as a writer than anyone ever has. And he’s continued that streak through today. If it weren’t for Frank and his red pen, I wouldn’t know how to take criticism and use it to improve my craft, whatever that may be.

I also wouldn’t know what it means to believe in myself, be true to myself or that ice cream is always necessary when things are going poorly – and well, for that matter.

When I was applying to law schools and got my LSAT score back, I talked to Frank about retaking the exam because my score wasn’t up to par with Georgetown University’s median score. Frank emailed me that day and said “Screw Georgetown – if they don’t take you with the score you have, they don’t deserve you. There are plenty of other good law schools out there.”

I printed that email out and have it taped on my desk in The Knight office. It will follow me to Pittsburgh, where I will be attending The University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

I don’t think I would have made it this far without The Knight and Frank being a constant in my life. The various roles I held, criticism I received and success I earned while on the staff gave me both the confidence and tools I need to make the next steps – and the rest of my life – count.

So, from the very bottom of my heart, thank you, Gannon Knight.


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