As a graduated senior, I cannot imagine leaving Ann Arbor without paying tribute to the Michigan Review. The Review was one of the first organizations in which I became involved as a University of Michigan freshman. I vividly remember my first meeting. Sitting among a handful of active editors and writers, I felt young and apprehensive. Though I did not realize then, my first semester of college was the perfect time to join the Michigan Review. The transition of editor roles, combined with the staff’s small size, presented ample opportunities to become involved. I feel privileged that I had a hand in editing, writing, and formatting a newspaper that our small staff was proud to call our own.
Having served on the Review’s staff under four different Editor-in-Chiefs, I observed many of the publication’s highs and lows. I witnessed the Review’s new era under the leadership of Derek Draplin and Omar Mahmood, which accompanied many changes. In the year 2014, Omar Mahmood’s article, “Do the Left Thing,” became a source of local and national media attention. The Review re-emerged as a publication strong in its tradition of providing an alternative campus viewpoint, earning the Collegiette Network’s 2014-2015 “Publication of the Year” award. Our staff grew, and our readership expanded. Overall, we reasserted our rightful place as a University of Michigan campus publication. It was an exciting time to be a Review editor.
However, the sudden surge of publicity came with a cost. As the Review hosted debates with high-profile speakers, layout and publishing took a backseat. In 2016, the staff voted to terminate print production. I honor the Review’s decision to augment our online presence, as it is crucial to expand our readership through digital platforms. However, I will always be a firm proponent of print newspapers. I look back on the long hours spent in the Michigan Review’s small, crowded office formatting and re-formatting the paper’s layout with fond memories. Delivering a stack of freshly printed Review issues to the Mason Hall newsstand filled me with tremendous pride. I hope that future Review staffs will read our newspapers with the same sense of awe and intrigue as we read the Michigan Review’s first 1982 issue, which remains framed in our office.
College is much more than an academic learning experience; my time at the Michigan Review is proof of this. I learned far more about political ideologies, current events, and the media than in any college class. I met and befriended passionate, inspiring, and intelligent students whose beliefs both fortified and challenged my own. I learned the importance of reporting both perspectives of an issue. Most importantly, I gained a true understanding of “free speech.” As I leave the Review, I will miss the stimulating conversations and friendly debates. However, I will take with me the learning experiences that shaped my own attitudes and beliefs. I am beyond grateful for this experience, and look forward to observing the Michigan Review’s growth for years to come.