My Time With the Newspaper Gang


Trey Van Natta, Assistant Edit0r

The summer before my freshman year of college, my father and I made a trip out to Vincennes University to attend Start VU. I had to take a test and talk to my advisor to create my first semester schedule.

That was the first time I met Emily Taylor. She doubled as my advisor and my professor. Taylor is a unique woman. She’s so kind and helpful, she encourages students and truly wants to see them succeed. There aren’t many good people left in this world but Emily Taylor is one of the good ones. 

I remember seeing the course ‘News Reporting Lab’ on my schedule. Immediately, I was worried because I was soon to be a staff writer for a student run newspaper and I had no experience. 

When I started this class everything changed. At first, I was nervous and hesitant. Having to come up with story ideas, interviewing strangers, and then writing the stories was scary to me.   But the more experience I gained, the better the job was. 

Soon, I became excited about school and learning. I became passionate about being a part of something and loving what I do. I love making connections and getting insight into people’s lives, experiences, and work. I think that has been my favorite part of reporting. 

My favorite story that I’ve written is about a student with a pet lizard as an emotional support animal. It definitely fell under the unusual category. It was very interesting to see how something that some people find gross to be enlightening to another. 

In this particular story, my subject’s preferred pronouns are they/them. This was the first time as a reporter that I stopped to think about preferred pronouns. I’m so glad to have met this unique and amazing person because they helped me to make a change. 

When reporting, The Trailblazer typically used ‘The Big 4’ technique. This is something we do when we interview someone. We ask; 1. Their name, 2. Their Occupation, 3. Their Hometown, and 4. Their contact information. I suggested to Taylor that we change that to include asking what someones preferred pronoun is. 

Professor Taylor immediately hopped on board and we now have a new standard when it comes to interviewing. Afterwards, I suggested we write an article about the change and Taylor agreed to that, too. Our editor “, Savannah Boone,” and I wrote the story together. I was so proud that we students could make a change. 

Throughout my time with The Trailblazer I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned interview techniques, how to design newspapers, how to write newsworthy stories, and how to find good stories to write. The most important thing I’ve learned is how to take charge and think outside the box. 

Being a reporter has made me a better person, too. I’ve become better at understanding  people and their side of the story. I’d like to think that I have gained better social skills as well. Having to find people to interview is a great way to meet new people. 

I also got to meet and work with amazing people for The Trailblazer. There have been a few students come and go but we always stay a tight knit group. We call ourselves the Newspaper Gang.  I’m going to miss my friends, but I am so thankful for the friendships I’ve made. 

I especially want to thank my good friend, Kirsten Jansen, our Photo Editor. I don’t think I would’ve been able to survive classes without her. She is an extremely bright and selfless young woman and she’s going to go far in life.  

 I will never forget my time working for the newspaper. It’s something I hold close to my heart. All I can do is welcome the students who will come after me. I am excited to see where the future will take me. Trey Van Natta, signing off.