Last weekend, The Saint made the long and arduous journey to the Student Publication Association National Conference (aka the biggest SPANC yet). We learnt a lot, not least that CMYK humour might have a niche audience, but this audience does indeed exist. We never thought we’d find ourselves in a room where we could bond over spelling accommodation incorrectly on the front page. But, lo and behold, we did. And it was fantastic.
We were honoured that we’d even made it as far as the awards ceremony, having been shortlisted for eight (the most in The Saint’s history). We felt at home because we were surrounded by other student journalists who would genuinely live and die for their 32 pages of paper. We also realised that what makes The Saint so special is the fact that the team manages to, week after week, do an incredible job despite being comparatively very small.
In this, our final editorial, we first and foremost want to say a massive thank you to everyone on the team who makes The Saint possible — the editors, writers, illustrators, photographers and the business team. Your passion, dedication, and loyalty does not go unnoticed. You not only make our jobs easier, but you make us laugh, you push us to be better, and you don’t question our sanity when you receive a 4:23am message about a single line in an article. Thank you for putting up with us, and we will miss you all dearly.
Most importantly, we want to say thank you to you, our readers. The platform you have provided us has meant so much. The hours we spend painstakingly trying to tweak an article at the cost of our social lives, sleep schedules, and coursework marks might, to others, appear inconsequential. As a small team writing for a small community, it may seem ridiculous to fret over a comma slice on the third page or a non sequitur in a sensitive article. However, the consistent feedback we receive from the community, be that a kind appraisal from a reader or a not-so-friendly email from a disgruntled event committee member, reminds us how impactful our work actually is. It is this that drives the, for lack of a better word, obsession all Saint editors seem to develop with making the paper the best it can be.
Over the past year, we’ve learnt a lot about the different uses of the em dash, a nice alliterative headline, and each other. We’ve also learnt that having a vision is one thing, but putting it into practice is entirely another. There are only so many hours to ensure the paper is as rhetorically strong, aesthetically pleasing, and financially stable as it can be. Our iPhone notes include a passion project graveyard, populated with headstones like “Saint SKETCH” (a gorgeous arts and culture pullout), “deep dive into secret societies recruiting practices'' (a hard-hitting investigative report), and “book Lupos for Saint re-launch party” (a celebration of said arts and culture pullout). As much as we would love to have another year to pursue some of these (preferably without trying to do a degree at the same time), it is time for us to say goodbye.
There’s a lot of work to be done at The Saint, both internally and externally. It’s difficult to keep everyone happy — and we can never promise to achieve that. There have been many moments where we’ve felt and, let’s be honest, have been, in over our heads. Balancing the obligations required of you as a newspaper editor along with the demands of a student can leave you wishing for the mythical “Food and Drink Design Editor” other student papers have. However, with our comparatively tiny team, we are proud of what we have accomplished this year. About a sixth of the size of the front-running student publications, the hours each member of our team dedicates to this publication ultimately inspire the deep love we hold for it.
The Saint is small, but it is mighty. Even when we make mistakes, we will keep bouncing back. At the end of the day, whether you’ve got 12 people on your editorial board, or 50, sometimes you might still spell accommodation incorrectly on the front page. And you’ll just have to get over it.
And to Amelia and Alex, our incoming editors, we’ll just remind you of the motto one last time:
Anything for The Saint!
Sophia Brousset and Isabel Loubser