Executive Editor bids farewell to NI


Courtesy Photo

Executive Editor Emma’le Maas prepares to graduate and say goodbye to UNI and the Northern Iowan.

EMMA'LE MAAS, Executive Editor

When I first came to UNI, I didn’t have much of any purpose. I had no clue what I wanted to do and was mostly going through the motions that had been expected of me. In the middle of my freshman year, I received an email from Sydney Hauer, the executive editor of the Northern Iowan. She was reaching out about possible interest in writing for the paper, and I decided to respond.

I remember the first story I did I was so nervous I nearly threw up in the bathroom at the venue. Every time I turned something in, there was even more panic and doubt that I wasn’t good enough to keep doing it.

When the fall of my sophomore year came around and I didn’t receive any emails from the NI, I assumed I was fired and was devastated. After a month or so went by, I emailed the new executive editor, Gabby Leitner, and asked what had happened. She explained that it was just a transition issue and I wasn’t fired, which was a big relief.

That year, I started writing a lot more and got more and more interested in the profession. For the first time in my entire life, I wasn’t going through the motions; I was actually living for myself and my future. I felt like I had finally found my purpose. I wanted to tell stories and make an impact on the people who need it most, and through the NI I did just that.

At the end of my sophomore year, I applied for executive editor convinced I wasn’t going to get it. I was only a sophomore, I had maybe 15 articles to my name and I didn’t really feel connected to anyone there. I was so convinced, I even made my schedule for the fall without worrying about the executive editor schedule. Then, a week after my interview I got the email that changed my life: I got the position.

When I first started this position, I was so scared. I had never edited before, there was no training because of COVID-19 and I had no clue how to manage or supervise people. The first few weeks on the job, I would go home and cry because I thought I wasn’t good enough, and I dreaded coming into office thinking my peers knew I wasn’t. 

That being said, after those first few weeks, I saw just how perfect this position was for me, as well as the support I actually had from my team. I cannot thank my editing team for how incredible they’ve been this year, between the long nights and breaking stories, the random car breakdowns and software issues. We came into this school year with no idea what it would be like, but I think we did a pretty good job making sure the UNI community felt informed.

Over the course of my time at UNI and the NI, I’ve covered immigration forums, homecoming pageants, NISG scandals and just recently, the George Floyd memorial. Through the NI, I found my passion for news, and quite frankly my passion for living, which I’ll always be grateful for. 

I know my team will go on to do amazing things, but to Karla, Elizabeth, Anthony, Erin, Gabi and Colin: don’t ever forget the year we spent in the Maucker Union basement, and know you’ll always have someone in your corner, just like you were in mine. 

To Gabby, thank you for the continued support you’ve given me since I first came in your office in December 2019. We had no idea what was coming, but I still consider you to be one of the first people in my major I could call my friend, let alone the paper. 

To all my wonderful staff, I know some of us never got to meet in person, but know that I am so appreciative of all the amazing things you have done and continue to do for this paper. 

To Nixson, the new executive editor, you will do incredible things in this position. On paper, it all seems a little daunting, but you are more than capable of changing this paper and university for the better — in many ways you already have. Never forget I’m just a call or text away if you ever need anything. 

To Chris, our awesome advisor, thank you for being the first person at UNI who I felt truly believed in me. All of your little check-ins and advice emails went so much further than you’ll ever know. As a professor you are truly remarkable, and the way you care for your students shows beyond words. Without your support and guidance, I wouldn’t be half the journalist I am today. 

Finally, to UNI and the NI itself, thank you for the best three years of my life. I will never forget the times I’ve spent here, and I can’t wait to continue my journey as a journalist knowing I had the greatest experience possible to help me get there.