Letter from the Managing Editor: From the Spires


Image: Nick Wooten

Nick Wooten is a southern studies and journalism double major now in his third year at Mercer.

Nick Wooten, Managing Editor

As I committed these words to paper, I fumbled over sloppy metaphors to try to grab your attention in order to say something meaningful and wise.

I’m sure some of them found their way in the final copy. But, for the most part, I’ll be doing what I’m good at — being honest and direct.

Here at The Cluster, I found where I belong. I am a journalist. Newspapers were my first love.

Before I could speak in paragraphs, I was bringing in the Sunday paper, so Dad could read it to me.

The inserts and most of the sports section spilled out of the sides as I laid it deconstructed at my father’s feet. I smiled for the camera, wiggling in my Pampers as my dad asked “Whatchu got?”

I got a little older and my dad, a press room supervisor, started bring me down to work. I walked through the production line beating on ink drums and staring at the whirring machines going full speed. The papers came by in a blur of black, white and green. Loud men covered in ink with earmuffs around their necks became honorary family members.

I came to college with so many things that I wanted to do, thinking that I had so much time to do them. I was a wanderer. Half-way through freshman year, I stumbled into The Cluster office for my first meeting. I meandered about sections taking the weird and wild pieces. I got to rub elbows with Macon legends. I have enough stories of my own now to fill a coffee table book.

At the end of last year, I was named Managing Editor of The Cluster and found out I’d spend my summer interning at a major New Orleans paper. My stint at the Times-Picayune and NOLA.com was like being a live exhibit in a revolving history museum. There’s a recognition and respect of traditions through times of change. Some relics remain. The rules aren’t static, and everyone is playing with house money. It’s exciting.

Writing — and more specifically newspaper ink — will be ingrained in every fiber of my being until the end of my days. Writers like the Augusta Chronicle’s columnist Bill Kirby, the Telegraph’s recently retired Ed Grisamore and current Telegraph reporter Joe Kovac inspire me, shake me and give me chills. I can only hope to craft half as well as they do. They are Picasso’s; I am a color by numbers.

This year, my hope is for The Cluster to act as a magnifying glass that spots places for college kids to go, gets important and timely news to students who need it and helps readers learn the riveting story of the fellow Bears you pass everyday. But most of all, I hope The Cluster becomes a haven for the inquiring and curious minds that fill our halls.

Here’s to the wanders, the wallflowers, the peacocks and the placid. Here’s to the hustlers, the heralded, the earnest and the effervescent. Time is short — too short to spend it silently. Come and find your home. Tell your stories. Scream them from the Spires.