Thank You, Joel Gold

Joel J. Gold was the founder and first Editor-In-Chief of The Maneater student newspaper. He died Oct. 14, 2014 at 82 years old. This week, The Maneater ran a column Gold wrote in 1985 about the meaning of the paper’s name on the front page underneath a special gold masthead as a tribute.

This issue is beautiful — not just because of the gold masthead, but it is also the MOVE Food issue that MacKenzie and production beautifully executed, the Veteran’s Day profiles my lovely writers worked so hard on these past few weeks ran in a double-truck, and one of my writers wrote a really cool feature story about an indie director that I’m really happy with (I sound like a mom bragging about her kids’ accomplishments, but whatever I’m proud of my beat writers, okay?).

With an issue this cool, I thought I’d write a letter to the one who started it all.

Gold

Dear Joel Gold,

In 1955, you took over The Missouri Student campus paper and founded The Maneater, “the dangerous — bold, fearsome, watch-your-step-in-my-jungle tough” publication (despite learning later a tiger becomes a maneater when it is too weak to catch its usual prey).

You created a new editorial policy — “If you want to keep us out, better bar the door. And don’t try getting rough or screaming ‘libel’ when a Maneater reporter crashes your meetings. When The Maneater gets mad, all hell is going to break loose. You’ve been warned.” To this day, 60 years after you founded the paper, these words hang around the office (and above my bed in my apartment).

Joel Gold, thank you.

I began writing for the paper the summer before my freshman year. I was so eager to be writing for a college publication and I remember being excited and terrified that I had the opportunity to do so so early on. When I came to campus during Summer Welcome, my first article had already been published in the June issue and I couldn’t wait for the fall to arrive.

The Maneater has been, without a doubt, the greatest part of my college experience so far.

On a campus of nearly 35,000 students, it can be easy to be swallowed up. The Maneater has given me my own little niche on campus. Joining this paper has given me more than just a place to practice for my future career in journalism. The Maneater has given me a place to belong. The Maneater has given me a home and the friends I have made here have become like my family.

There have been times I’ve been overwhelmed with the late nights of editing in the office, the stress of stories falling through last minute or coming in subpar, and the struggle of finding interesting content. There have been times when I was tired of putting up with my other friends telling me “Nobody reads The Maneater,” or tweeting sassy #biasedjournalism messages about us. But, despite the bad things, I love being a part of The Maneater.

The Maneater gives me a reason to keep trudging through this bleak semester. Without the paper, I have no idea what I would be doing right now. Thank you so much for creating this place.

When I graduate and spend my boring nights of adulthood watching “St. Elmo’s Fire” and reminiscing about my college days, I’ll think about this paper. I’ll think about coming in for intern nights as a wide-eyed freshman writer dreaming of being on the #EdBoart, of odd staff box quotes, of interviewing quirky sources like the Seuss Man and an indie actor with the body of a Greek god, of being thrown into the fountain during Dead Editor’s Night and, of course, of the degenerate nights of Hoochfest.

Above all, I’ll think about the hours I spent hanging out in the basement of the Student Center with my friends.

And it’s all because you, Joel Gold, started a student-run paper 60 years ago.

Again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Sincerely,

Claudia

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