This past weekend marked a significant date for everyone at this newspaper. 15 years ago on 25th April, two UCD students, Dara O’Briain and Pat Leahy submitted their application for the positions of editors of what was to become the editorially independent, The University Observer.
In the years that have passed since, this newspaper has won national and international acclaim and has built a reputation as Ireland’s leading student newspaper. In this time we have also faced many challenges and without doubt there are more to come. Publications worldwide are navigating rocky waters and this paper is no different.
Yet as I prepare to hand over the newspaper which has meant so much to me to those who will set the foundations for the next 15 years, I can say with confidence that The University Observer will prosper as it has always done. In fact, finding the right words for those whose words are worth so much is perhaps the most difficult task I have faced yet.
The beauty of this newspaper lies in its unique history; a history rooted in a commitment to truthful, objective reporting but also in the dedication and passion shown year after year by its writers. There are over 80 students who sacrifice their free time and work hard for this newspaper – without whom the paper simply would not exist.
They are the future of this newspaper and I am consistently touched by their generosity, kindness and pure talent.
And leading these writers is a core group of students whose dedication and hard work certainly knows no bounds. These sections editors are the lifeblood of the newspaper and have been nothing short of an inspiration, giving more to us than we could have ever asked for. The sheer volume and standard of their work can often be almost incomprehensible and so they deserve to be thanked individually.
Paul, you have been quietly sensational this year. You made a radical jump from sport to Otwo and I can’t thank you enough for infusing the paper with your commitment and truly beautiful writing.
Kate, I’ve watched you grow into a confident and capable journalist as Otwo Editor. I have no doubt that your dedication and talent will ensure your place at the Irish Times and I hope to see your name in print for a long time.
Alison, thank you for taking on all the work we threw at you this year. You have an incredible style and it was a joy to read each and every one of your articles.
Aisling, my favourite, fashionable politician. Thank you for sharing your passion, Susie, your connections and most importantly, your friendship.
Quinton, we’ve worked together for three years now and it has been a joy to watch you grow into a journalist. Thank you for taking the helm of Team News and leading them into another fantastic year.
And to my wonderful Team News. You have each been such an inspiration to me over the past two years and have consistently showed me why this job is so worthwhile. I am so proud of each of you.
Ciara, I spotted your talent early on and you have nothing but impress me every since. Your kindness and dedication has brought so much to this newspaper. It has been such a pleasure to work with you.
Babs, your enthusiasm and good humour have made the past two years such a joy for me. I hope you continue writing as your vitality and talent will light up any newsroom.
Bridget, thank you for jumping through sections this year. Your hard work and journalistic drive has made both news and features so very strong and is, as always, a pleasure to read.
Peter, your talent, humour and dedication have brought so much to this newspaper. It has been a joy to watch you grow into the journalist that I fully intend on poaching in a matter of years.
Alanna, thank you for bringing a truly international aspect to the paper yet again. Your writing is a pleasure to read and the paper has been richer because of it.
Eoin, I can’t thank you enough for coming on board with us this year. Your work is quite simply breath-taking and has consistently been a highlight of production week. I sincerely hope that this will not be the last time I see your name in print.
Farouq, thank you for making Science & Health one of my favourite sections. You are a joy to work with and your humour makes it impossible for me not to smile whenever you walk into our office.
Fearghal, I sincerely doubt we could have survived the year without you. You took over the sports section single-handedly and made it a success yet again. Thank you for everything you have done for us.
Katie, you took on the role of Image Editor with such dedication again this year and I can’t thank you enough for sharing such a talent with us.
Gav, you have a brought a whole new aspect to The University Observer with your deservedly, award-winning website. Thank you for opening our writers up to the world.
Michael, I can’t imagine a newspaper without your wise words in Clark on Sport. I think I can speak on behalf of all former editors when I thank you for sharing your passion – the paper has been so much stronger for it.
In addition to this dedicated students, I have been lucky enough to work with two incredibly talented individuals over the past year.
Sean, your pure talent is something that I will always admire. Yet again, you have brought a fresh appearance to the newspaper and I can’t thank you enough for saving it. Working with you has been nothing less than a dream.
And Zelda, my partner in crime. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without you this year. You gave your all to this paper for three years even before you joined me and dedicated yourself to volume XV. You have been everything, and more, that I could have needed; a journalist, editor, leader and a true friend. You have given me so many wonderful memories and because of you, I leave with no regrets, only that I wish it had not gone by quite so quickly.
To my family, particularly my parents, who have supported me unconditionally, I will never be able to thank you enough.
To the editors who have gone before us, thank you for trusting me with such a unique and meaningful publication. Enda, Danny, Samantha, Emmet, Eoghan, Sorcha, Nathalie and especially Stephen, Michelle, Dave and Rob – thank for your unending support and friendship. You are more of an inspiration than you could ever know.
It’s impossible to describe the feeling we get – from first time writer to editor – when we see you, the reader, open a copy of this paper. It has been an honour to write for you and I hope that we did not disappoint.