A goodbye and thank you to everybody

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A little over a week ago, on a Friday afternoon, I was in The Scarlet & Gray offices working on some assignments for my current job at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

I was alone in the office that Friday, which is the only day of the week when something isn’t happening in the office, and I had just filed my stories for the day.

I sat around and it popped into my head that I need to work on the pitch notes for the next day’s pitch meeting. As I sent them out, I realized that those were my final pitch notes email.

Those pitches were for our final print edition of the semester, and my final print edition as a member of The Scarlet & Gray Free Press.

Which makes this, if you haven’t realized it yet, my goodbye column to The Scarlet & Gray Free Press.

I remember just like it was yesterday when I walked into The Scarlet & Gray offices as a freshman in January of 2019 for my interview to join the staff as a writer. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t expect my time here would lead to so many great opportunities.

After being on staff for almost a year and a half as a writer, I took on the role of sports editor. Of course, that happened when college sports were in limbo. But we found a way to manage and as more sports came back the job became easier. 

I took the biggest leap of faith of my young career during the spring of 2021 when I applied to be Editor-in-Chief for the following school year.

I didn’t know how it was going to pan out. I was the sports guy and I didn’t know if they would see me as “leader of the newspaper” material. But somehow, they did.

Being Editor-in-Chief during the return to campus, and our return to printing wasn’t easy. 

I got thrown with the obstacle of trying to help fix our website issue and look for a new one as the old one vanished. But we managed and persevered.

We also managed to print every week of the school year with a talented staff that joined the paper during the pandemic and had to acclimate to their new roles.

Despite the obstacles, we prevailed.

Some papers were better than others. Some weeks were easier than others. Some (not many) production days were easier than others. 

But we prevailed. It was a successful return to campus and a return of The Scarlet & Gray Free Press to newsstands around campus.

I believe the content of the paper is as good as it’s ever been. And we have a crop of talented staff members that are continuing to lay the foundation for the next generation. 

There are a lot of people I want and need to thank. I first want to thank some of the first people that helped me in the beginning stages of my writing career, then managing editor Terrel Emerson and then sports editor Tyler Schurr.

I am grateful to Tyler for reaching out to me early in 2020 if I was interested in being sports editor the following year. I took it as a sign that this is where I belonged and wanted to be. 

And the Editor-in-Chiefs that I worked with during my four years, Stephanie Madrid, Kaylie Lyons, Hristiana Stoyanova, and Vanessa Booth. 

I want to thank the folks at UNLV athletics for being patient with us and being helpful as we cover and tell the stories of the athletes. 

I also need to thank Rick Velotta for being a great advisor and helping me through my tenure as Editor-in-Chief. 

I want to thank the readers. Whether you are a UNLV student, faculty or staff on campus, a UNLV graduate, or someone who cares about UNLV or UNLV sports. Thank you for reading our paper, going to our website, or following us on social media. 

I cannot forget the great friends I made along the way Jimmy Romo, Mark Credico, Kayla Fassee (who did an amazing job succeeding in my footsteps as sports editor), Hadiya Mehdi and so many more. 

I am excited for the future of not just this paper, but for the group of aspiring sports journalists that are here.

That’s why I came back to the paper for my last semester. 

There is a group of hungry students that want to cover sports for their careers and I wanted to give them the best chance to succeed by getting reps here.

That’s what I did. I truly believe that my time here helped me get better. And helped me get my first job in the business with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

One thing I am most proud of is that sports are the best and deepest section every week in the paper. It’s because there are so many eager and aspiring sports journalists that want to make it in the industry and I am grateful for them spending time and contributing to The Scarlet & Gray Free Press to get better.

I am already seeing it. There are plenty of former writers that worked here that are on to bigger and better things and that is amazing to see!

I am confident that this section will thrive as UNLV becomes one of the best sports journalism schools in the country. I am confident in the future leadership of this section and that the sports section of The Scarlet & Gray Free Press will be the gold standard for sports coverage at UNLV and in getting valuable, real-world experience. 

I believe that I am leaving this paper in a better place than when I first joined. And that’s exactly what I wanted.

An environment for the next Alex Wright to thrive in.

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