To the best editor I never knew


Drew Timmons, Assistant to the Adviser

It was Aug. 17, 2015, and seven students entered my first block newspaper class.

On Aug. 18, only six students entered.

“Where’d the other girl go?” I asked quizzically.

“Oh, she said you scared her,” someone told me.

I knew she’d made a good choice because I certainly could never imagine that anyone who is afraid of me could make a good journalist. Adios, girl-whose-name-I-didn’t-know!

(In the interest of clarity, later investigation into this story presented a slightly different narrative: I had not scared this girl. Instead, she was afraid of the time commitment at the time. The truth may never be fully known.)

If you haven’t figured it out by now, that mysterious girl was Gracie Bryant, current editor of The Prowl.

How she went from (allegedly) scared to the journalist she is now involves a few phenomenal essays in my English II Honors class the next year and some gentle nudging, and rather than list those details, let me just say that I’m glad that it worked out and that Gracie became the editor. More importantly, I’m glad she became the editor that she became.

Although I never officially advised Gracie while she was the editor, I did get a chance to unofficially advise her, and I got chances to watch her actually do the job.

In every aspect, Gracie, you have been a phenomenal editor, and I am truly sad I never got the opportunity to advise you in that capacity.

I am proud of how you have demonstrated leadership on the staff, not assuming that your title was just another word for “writes the most stories.” You have, with very little prompting, learned the intricacies of this convoluted website, the nuts and bolts of AP style and the structure of sound articles.

You have actively sought out ways to improve yourself. I eagerly awaited reading your stories for “The Tryon Daily Bulletin” because they showed me how serious you were about being a journalist.

You have improved your leadership capabilities and have grown so confident in your role. It’s easy to be beaten down as an editor, and I know that there have been moments of frustration and exhaustion, but you have continued to demonstrate your commitment to this publication.

I am impressed and proud beyond measure that you are pursuing journalism in college. Despite the national rhetoric, journalism and journalists matter. With the right attitude, lens, and perspective, it can be as noble as any other profession you could choose, if not moreso. Without dedicated journalists, society crumbles.

(And if you choose to use your journalism skills to do something other than be a professional journalist, that’s okay, too. I’ll still be proud.)

I have been so excited to watch grow over the last few years, particularly from your junior year to your senior year. You have learned to let things go, to control what you can and release what you cannot.

I have watched you take your future seriously and yourself less seriously. I have seen tears turn to laughs and grimaces turn to grins.

On a personal note, thank you for always being so sweet to my daughter and taking care of her at school and at church. Elise loves you, and that’s about all I need to know about you. 

Gracie, you are the best editor of this newspaper that I never actually advised. Thank you for what you’ve brought to my life, this newspaper and this school.

You’ll be remembered for your incredible writing, particularly about the football team; you’ll be missed for who you are.