Nina Baker, Staff Writer

Nina Baker, Staff Writer

I am not a skilled enough writer to express how The Scarlet & Black impacted my livelihood without resorting to platitudes. 

I worked at The S&B because I cherished our staff and the mission of our newspaper. Even the most monumental S&B members are forgotten as this campus grows and changes. I want to highlight three alumni who impacted my work as I witnessed them devote themselves to our newspaper. 

I learned my first journalistic skills from Eva Hill `22, a 2021-22 co-editor-in-chief and 2020-21 news editor. She exemplified the thoughtfulness behind every ethical decision a newspaper makes. She showed me how to think like a journalist. I recall hoping I would someday have the care to manage editorial challenges as she did. 

I realized from her that journalism appeals to me because it is a methodological attempt to decode ambiguity and determine the truth. Reporters use rigorous interviews and systemic fact checks to explain the world that many people, including myself, sometimes find indecipherable. 

I am indebted to 2020-21 S&B co-editors-in-chief Zoe Fruchter `21 and Seth Taylor `21. They hired me as a copy editor with no experience amid a pool of competitive applicants. It was the first time in years, they told me, that a first-year was hired to an editorial position.

That fall, I worked remotely from California. Every week I joined Zoom calls, listening as they reminisced about a campus I had never seen. They kept me smiling, even as I watched my family break apart from pandemic turmoil. I am forever grateful for their leadership and kindness. 

In one of these Zoom calls, I first met Lyle Muller, The S&B’s professional advisor. He mentored me when I thought mentorship was impossible. I will never be able to express my gratitude towards him. 

I left The S&B briefly to report for The Des Moines Register. It was the first time, but not the last, that I was responsible for reporting on the death of a child, and nothing will ever wipe that feeling from my memory.

I learned journalism is a profession awash in fallibility, but that journalists constantly push themselves to be better.

The world’s best journalists discover stories buried beneath our world’s complexity and illuminate those stories and the people involved in their full humanity. These journalists improve the lives of people, communities and nations. 

I hold my journalism to these high standards. I do not often succeed, but every day I work towards this ideal. 

I will forever stay dedicated to The S&B. Our newspaper is a newspaper like all others — awash in fallibility, but with journalists who exhaust themselves in pursuit of a world with sincerity, accountability and nuance.

My adoration for The S&B itself is too deep to be uprooted. Please support our staff and newspaper.

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