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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Learn to embrace the ending

Peyton McKenzie

Endings are rough. I’ve meandered back-and-forth on what “words of wisdom” I should impart as I close this chapter of my life, and I’ve settled on a simple mantra that has helped me over the years — embrace the ending.

As a movie nerd and self-declared filmmaker, I believe the hardest part of any good story is the ending. What should be the final shot? The final line? How long until we cut to black, to leave a strong impression on the audience? There are so many questions, and even more possible decisions. It can be overwhelming.

But if there is anything The Chronicle has unexpectedly taught me, it is to take such endings and learn from them. When the print issue goes live (and, for me, all of the social media promotion along with it), take what you can from that week and bring it with you into the next one.

This has gotten me through many creative hurdles, and introduced me to a side of storytelling I hadn’t experienced before.

When I joined e-board as the first associate multimedia editor in 2022, I immediately felt a sense of freedom to experiment. Former Editor-in-Chief Melina Khan trusted my video background, and very limited journalism knowledge, to contribute to the team of established editors and writers.

This freedom gave me the courage to experiment with something new — “Chron-60,” a weekly recap of each issue’s top stories. Those first few weeks with former hosts Nicole McIsaac and Christiaan McCray were inspiring and chaotic. We didn’t have a locked set, a staff of producers, writing sessions or anything normally associated with a weekly series. Each recording session was part-goofing off and part-working, while the editors sat wired-in on their print sections in the media suite.

But we got each episode out on Wednesdays at 11:45 a.m., and the series grew into its own. It quickly spawned more creative video packages, which granted me opportunities to cover Fall Fest, the men’s hockey team, the new South Quad project and even this year’s solar eclipse.

The hardest part was establishing a rhythm to this new style of work. In narrative filmmaking, life on set is slow, tedious and, if you’re not immediately involved with the director or actors, boring as ever. But in journalism, I learned quickly that the “set” is random, unexpected and fast. You don’t get a second chance at a shot in real-life, and there are blink-and-you-miss-it moments everywhere you look.

Try asking for a retake during an interview with a professor or guest speaker (hint: it doesn’t happen). So, I made a lot of mistakes.

I did my best to cover for them in editing; staying up late to fix audio problems or color grade poorly-exposed shots. Sometimes, the final result was short of what I wanted it to be.

Yet, I learned over time to find comfort in ending a project. The final video export and upload to YouTube or Instagram is definitive, there is no going back. This certainty used to scare me. But I slowly learned to accept it, and this is all due to The Chronicle.

Now, in writing this send-off, I find myself in a similar mindset to all those late-night editing sessions. I’m sure there will be parts of this piece that I don’t love, and parts that I’ve changed time and again.

It is tough to think about a future week where I don’t commute to the media suite for deadline, meet for Coffee and Critiques later in the week and joke around in between with an editing staff that quickly became my friends.

But, this is just one of those endings. Like those final moments completing a video package, an overly-wordy movie review or episode of “Chron-60.” I am a better filmmaker, writer and storyteller because of The Chronicle, and I will carry these lessons with me long after my last byline in print or tag on the QUChronicle Instagram.

To the next multimedia staff, Emily Adorno and Quinn O’Neill, I wish you all the best with this section. It will be challenging more often than not, but I know you have the talent and skills to make this part of Chron even better. Keep experimenting!

Before I end this thing, I want to extend a sincere thank you to the managing board staff who worked alongside me this past year. It’s been a privilege leading this organization with you. Thank you to the many editors and writers who taught me about how awesome journalism can be. And thank you, The Chronicle, for being such a fulfilling avenue for my creativity.

Cut to black.

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About the Contributors
Jack Muscatello
Jack Muscatello, Digital Managing Editor
Peyton McKenzie
Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

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    Debbie NewmanApr 24, 2024 at 12:43 pm

    Wow, Jack! What an amazing experience and beautiful reflection. You will do great things in your many future chapters!