North Texas Daily

Man of many firsts: Summer editor-in-chief brings change

Man of many firsts: Summer editor-in-chief brings change

Man of many firsts: Summer editor-in-chief brings change
June 13
18:26 2019

Featured Image: Editor-in-chief for the North Texas Daily Jelani Gibson in the newsroom in Denton on June 7, 2019. Gibson is a graduate student at the Mayborn School of Journalism who will serve as editor-in-chief for the summer semester of 2019. Image by: Kara Dry

First and foremost, please follow my Twitter handle @JelaniGibson1 so I don’t get shanked by my Arts and Life editor.

“I’m a piercer, so I would know how.”

Her words not mine.

I had my social media profiles locked down before this job and the Shadeslayer-in-Chief Amy Roh felt some type of way.

“Jelani, I think this might be the first time where we’ve had two back-to-back black editors,” said previous Editor-in-Chief Alec Spicer to me and Rebecca Najera as we were selected as the editors-in-chief for the summer and fall respectively. “You may also be the only veteran,” he continued.

I take these accomplishments and the new direction for the Daily with a simultaneous sense of pride and cautious neutrality.

With our institution majorly consisting of minorities, and the Mayborn School of Journalism   having been founded by a military-journalist veteran, we should have had someone like me a long time ago.

Being the first of anything is a reminder that I live in a society where there are inhibitors to people like me — and that doesn’t feel good.

But being the first means that I don’t have to be the last — and that feels good.

As a man of many firsts, I plan to announce some others as well. 

First and foremost, we are changing the website.

The time has come to revamp our website into a modern, digital-first website that serves our readers with a smoother template and, yes, a dark mode.

Secondly, we are expanding our relationships.Whether it’s partnering with local school districts in the community, UNT Frisco, UNT Dallas and non-profits, I want to collaborate where collaboration hasn’t happened before.

I look forward to highlighting the good news that happens within Denton and the University of North Texas community. Our university does inspiring, important work, and that work can change the lives of others for the better.

That being said, keeping balance in the force, I plan to emphasize watchdog journalism and editorial independence within investigative journalism.

Journalists can be community builders, but there comes a time where we must also function as assassins of lies.

Every human being has the right to lie, but no human being has the right to lie or obscure the truth so much so that others are being disadvantaged for the sake of a lie. Lies have collateral damage, and journalists keeping officials honest reduces that damage.

To the board that selected me, I thank those who had faith in me.

To those who actually had me as a teaching assistant in JOUR 2310, who may now be reading this, I would like to reiterate that I hate and love all of you equally.

To those on the selection committee who thought my military background would cause my employees to flee in tears, I am glad to inform you upon the first week that I have not drank any blood from the skulls of my enemies in Mordor but you should stay tuned.

(Disclaimer: drinking blood from skulls is unsanitary, frowned upon and can land you in prison or on a Netflix show/future season of True Detective. Going to the edge of demonic volcanoes with questionable gold-digger company will have a stressful impact on your physiology and mental health. If you encounter any of these things please call the appropriate professionals. Do not attempt any of these actions.)

As far my employees go, many are even crazy enough to actually do what I say. The real crazy ones are enthusiastic about many of the things that I plan to accomplish over this summer.

If you stayed with this article to the end which has been greatly cut down by my Copy Editor Jordan on print night, here’s a toast to relieved eyes, a surgical summer and the fun we will have.

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Jelani Gibson

Jelani Gibson

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