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Friday, September 24, 2021

Column: Against all odds

The outgoing Editor in Chief of this newspaper is a white male former sports writer. The Chief before him? White. Male. Former sports writer. The Chief before him? White. Male. Former sports writer. The Chief before him? White. Male. Former campus news writer, but later, turned sports writer.

What have I gotten myself into?

Maybe you can’t tell by my little mug shot, but I am a female minority who has a writing background that spreads across news, features, art, opinion and food. I’m the first female Editor in Chief in at least a decade. I’m not accusing anyone of being sexist here — I am merely stating facts and I am merely proud.

A few weeks ago, I returned from a year abroad in Brussels, Belgium. I learned a lot there — how to navigate public transportation, how to avoid confusion when reading signs that are in both Dutch and French, how to live off of waffles for a day without feeling sick and plenty more.

Obviously I can use these skills in leading The California Aggie. Along with my new international perspective. And experience at The Aggie as former Campus News Editor, who has completed various daunting tasks like reporting on ASUCD Senate meetings that last from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., covering protests at the Capitol or trying to explain “technocultural studies” to UC President Mark Yudof.

Part of me, though, is nervous. Maybe I’m not qualified enough. Can I even do this job without bailing on an afternoon of editing for the Super Bowl? What if I don’t want to work for the Sacramento River Cats after I graduate? Is my one-year stint as a co-Sports Editor for my high school newspaper enough to prepare me for next year? I apologize profusely if my office in Lower Freeborn does not bear a single San Francisco Giants poster. Truly.

That said, my office door is open for you. Yes, you.

The California Aggie is not some weird, secret club full of vampires out to make you look bad. If we look pale, it’s only because our office is in a basement. And if you have concerns about our coverage, I want to discuss them with you.

There is no journalism department at UC Davis, so The California Aggie is the best way for students interested in the field to obtain that learning experience. Key words: learning experience.

We’re all learning here. We are students, not professionals. In fact, most of our writers don’t even get paid. We’re a financially independent newspaper, and like most financially independent newspapers in the world right now, we’re kind of broke.

On that note, we’d probably like to hire you.

Are you a UC Davis student? Do you like to write? Edit? Read? Talk? Listen? Learn?

Do you like to create? Photograph? Design? Graphically excite?

Are you on Facebook all the time and consider yourself to be a social media expert?

Do you have not-so-secret dreams of being Don Draper?

Do you have not-so-secret dreams of working alongside Don Draper and then secretly sleeping with Don Draper in a secret darkroom not secretly known as The Orgasmatron? I’m not condoning such behavior, and please be advised that you would really, really need to keep such activity a secret.

Or maybe you just like the idea of having a boss who bakes you cookies! (Me.)

I’ll admit to being sad leaving Belgium and my year studying abroad. But I’m more than excited to be starting this venture. I came back because I love the UC Davis community and The Aggie, and I want to see them thrive. I came back because I strongly believe in free student media, and after the events of Nov. 18, it has never been more important.

JANELLE BITKER genuinely hopes you are not more concerned about the fate of The California Aggie after reading this column. Be reassured by e-mailing editor@theaggie.org.

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