Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Tuesday, April 23, 2024 — Houston, TX

I’m proud to call the Thresher home

By Prayag Gordy     3/19/24 9:46pm

I still can’t believe it’s over.

Today ends my term as editor-in-chief of the Rice Thresher. I’ve been involved with the paper since freshman year — even before the semester began, actually, since I was one of those annoying freshmen who wanted to start over the summer.

I wrote a few times as a new student, but life often got ahead of me. It was 2020, after all, back when we all wore masks outside and anxiously awaited Kevin Kirby’s COVID-19 response weekly updates.

By sophomore year, I became a senior news writer. I quickly realized that the Thresher was my home. I was shocked that a year of isolation didn’t seem to shatter the Thresher’s social side; in retrospect, we spent more of our meetings gossiping than working. It was a thrill to write, to receive edits and to eventually see my byline in print.

Only in my junior year did I realize I wanted to pursue a career in journalism. Former editors-in-chief Ben Baker-Katz and Morgan Gage gave me the opportunity to create my own special projects desk, and we did award-winning work. First, I led an investigation into Rice’s developments in Houston’s historically-Black Third Ward. Then, some six months after Roe v. Wade was overturned, we wrote a history of abortion rights at Rice. We even ran a project about baseball, the best sport in America. Art Director Robert Heeter made eye-catching designs in print, while a team of developers built a stunning website.

Finally, it was time to run the show. Riya Misra and I took the reins in May 2023, built our team and eagerly counted down to the fall. When we returned in August, we dove into the daunting task of telling the stories of the largest student body in Rice’s history.

I don’t think we ever could have anticipated the term we had. It’s been a historic 10 months in so many ways, from the sudden removal of Willy’s statue to the campus’ response to the Israel-Gaza war and a $33.75 million legal settlement — not to mention a certain lingerie party gone wrong, the Baker Institute for Public Policy’s 30th anniversary gala and so much more.

Each of our front pages tells the story of a busy week, with far too many of the details still stuck in my head. Our editorials provided sharp but fair critiques of the day’s news, and we solicited reams of guest opinions and letters to the editor. And our lengthy list of long-term initiatives is still pasted to my wall, barely half checked off.

As I look back at the last year, I recognize that I’ve experienced a slew of emotions leading the Thresher — but none more than pride. I am deeply proud of every single story and editorial we ran, every photo we printed, every illustration we commissioned.

None of it would have been possible without the best team in the world. Some 150 students have contributed to the paper this year, including more than 30 core masthead staff. Our writers, photographers, illustrators, editors and designers are immensely skilled, and each person was individually such a pleasure to work with. I’m thrilled to call you all friends.

To Katharine Shilcutt, the director of student media: We could not have made it far without you. I will always remember your advice, your stories and your friendship with gratitude.

To Riya, my fantastic co-editor: I wouldn’t have wanted to do this with anyone else. You’re going to crush it next year. Just please remember how to convert the backpage to an image.

To my friends and family: You carried me through the hardest days. Your enthusiasm for and encouragement of my work meant the world to me.

And to the Rice community: Our newspaper would be nothing without you. Thank you for trusting us with your stories.

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