To the readers of the East Tennessean,

With this last edition of the paper for the 2016-2017 annual year, I have taken up the honorable task to say a grateful farewell and a welcoming hello.

First off, hello! My name is Jessica Dunker, and I’m so very excited to say that I will be taking on the role of the newest executive editor for the 2017-2018 year. I can’t describe how excited I am to get things up and running (I’ve actually already started).

My goals are fairly simple: continue the practice our beloved executive editor, David Floyd, has put in place, while expanding the East Tennessean to its fullest potential. To say the least, I don’t think the paper will ever stop growing as a foundation for ETSU, but hopefully I can leave my mark just as David has left his.

About David, what a guy. What you don’t know about David is his secret love for journalism and creativity. While he may seem like a broody and mysterious man, he’s actually this fun-loving, charismatic character with a high potential for absolute greatness.

He has set the standard for editors at the East Tennessean. His intellect and organization has kept this paper afloat without a chance of sinking.

I can’t imagine how I’ll be able to fill those shoes. I suppose I can only try.

I won’t change anything David’s already done, but I will try to improve a few things. Small things, essentially, but baby steps can go a long way.

My primary goal as editor is to form a strong staff of writers and editors. The only quality that makes a team great is, well, the team. Through my time as a member of the editing staff, I realized quickly that without our writers, we couldn’t do our jobs, and without David’s editors, he couldn’t do his. One person can’t publish a paper alone. It takes a team, and that team becomes family.

Editing days are every Sunday and Wednesday. They began as a nuisance, if we’re being honest. Meetings suck. We all know that. But somehow the East Tennessean made them…interesting.

I can’t count how many rants I’ve heard, how many conversations have been yelled across the room, and more importantly, how many times we’ve bailed on the task at hand for the sake of a few good laughs.

Everything about the East Tennessean is what a workplace should be—comfortable. Don’t get me wrong. We certainly were busy. Definitely busy. Sometimes mad about it and other times sad.

I can’t say how much fast food has been in and out of that room to conserve time for the studying, the editing, the planning, the writing. It can be a lot, but I can’t imagine doing it alone.

So thanks to the graduates—David Floyd, Jordan Hensley, Lindsey King, Garrett Tumlin, Kortnie Smith. Without all of you there, we would have surely drowned. Thank you.

It is because of them that I understand why we need to be a team. So far, I’ve managed to recruit a few more writers to fill the places of those who are leaving, but we’re not done yet. We could always use another designer, another editor, photographers, and always more writers.

The East Tennessean’s small, but we’re moving toward big things. I don’t know if it’ll be accomplished in the time that I’m here, but I can only hope I’ll be able to see the progress that is sure to come. Here’s to us.