Thank you, P&G

The stories and journeys of Hickman’s past newspaper editors.

Emma Moloney and Anna Spell

Over the years, Hickman’s school newspaper has constantly evolved. Previously known by names such as The Legacy, the paper has also been available in numerous different formats. A few years ago, Hickman made the transition from an online to a print publication. Now, the P&G caters to both an online and a print audience and has become the paper it is today … with a little help along the way.

Past editors include Ingrid St. Omer, an electrical and computer engineering professor at Virginia Tech, Amy Keller Laird, previous Editor-in-Chief of Women’s Health, and many more. In the more recent years, editors include Abby Wade, Margaret Straw, and Sarah Everett.

Amy Keller Laird, Editor-in-Chief of the P&G from 1992-1993, attended Hickman during the years of audio cassettes and Boyz II Men. Though many years have passed since then, the stories have not changed much, some even resembling the ones in the paper now.

“It was super-fun. My friend Suzanne and I wrote stories together a lot. We got to pretty much write whatever we wanted,” Keller Laird said. “One deep investigative piece: We visited three food courts around town, Suzanne and I and two other students, and rated the nachos and service.”

After Hickman, Keller Laird continued to pursue journalism.

“I ended up going to the Mizzou j-school, where I worked at The Missourian. Right after college, I stayed in Columbia for a year, working at The Tribune and writing for the publications of a teachers’ association,” Keller Laird said. “I moved to New York a lear later with two college friends, without a job or an apartment. That was in 1998.”

The big move paid off, and Keller Laird eventually earned a role as Editor-In-Chief of Women’s Health, a position that required great responsibility.

“Being an editor today encompasses lots of functions: Yes, there’s still editing, and I was very hands-on that way, helping my team shape and execute stories. There is so much content everywhere, that you have to constantly be evolving and thinking “what’s next” and coming up with 360-degree campaigns that will generate buzz and press,” Keller Laird said. “I loved the multi-functionality of it.”

Despite all of her previous, current, and future successes, Keller Laird reflects upon one story in particular during her time on the P&G as an important moment in her career.

“I always credit [my] Hickman cross-country story as the spark that led me to pursue a career in journalism and the lightbulb that went ding-ding-ding, wow, your voice can make a difference,” Keller Laird said.

Three years ago, the P&G transitioned into the paper that can be found around Hickman today. This turning point in history was led by the 2014-2015 Editor-In-Chief, Sarah Everett.

“When I was a senior, we got a new newspaper adviser, Mrs. Caamano. She was great. She was really invested in our success—individually and as a group—and she was super enthusiastic about what we could accomplish. She wanted to bring back the P&G back into print,” Everett said. “It was fun because the paper hadn’t been in print in a while, so we sort of got to choose how we wanted to organize the paper and what sections we wanted to include.”

This foundation led to the numerous sections in the P&G today, including sports, features, arts and culture, news, and student life, all of which are covered each month by a team of reporters and the editors.

“Each month, we brainstormed articles for the upcoming issue and worked on writing and designing them, and at the end of the month, we would go to press,” Everett said.

Just as working for the P&G allowed Everett to discover and build upon her passion for journalism at Hickman, she has now brought that love for writing into college.

“I’m a journalism major at Belmont University, which is in Nashville, but this semester I have an editorial internship with Hearst Magazines in New York, so I’m taking classes here and living in Brooklyn— kind of like a study abroad…just in New York,” Everett said. “I would say my experience on the P&G definitely played a part in this. I loved journalism and editing, and I knew I wanted to pursue it in college and beyond.”

2015-2016 Editor-in-Chief Abigail Wade was also present for the transition from online to print her junior year as assistant editor to Everett.

“We had to figure how to lead a newsroom, all while learning how to use InDesign and Photoshop with no proper training and nothing to base the paper off,” Wade said. “We had an extremely small staff, and we ran into quite a few roadblocks and issues along the way.”

Despite a rocky shift, Wade quickly gained a foothold as she entered her new role as editor-in-chief.

“By the time my senior year rolled around, I had learned how to work through most of the kinks, and was able to, I hope, really work on bettering the content, quality, and design of the paper,” Wade said. “I had a lot of creative freedom, and I had finally acquired the skills to harness that.”

Creative freedom gave Wade a new outlet to express her opinions on a multitude of issues, though they weren’t always accepted.

“I quickly realized I couldn’t please everybody, and that there would always be students who disliked the paper and its content,” Wade said. “In my own work, I focused a lot on feminism, politics, and social justice, though my editor’s columns were usually about my own experience of coming of age.”

With all of the perks of an entire paper at her hands, Wade also confronted a lot of firsts in her role as editor-in-chief.

“Because the P&G was still very new at the time I became the editor-in-chief, I wore a lot of hats, and they could be a little heavy,” Wade said. “It felt like a full-time job – but I absolutely loved it.”

The P&G allowed Wade a creative space and freedom that would spark a passion that continued into college.

“I knew I loved creating the paper – I loved almost everything about the process from start to finish, and that amount of creative freedom was exhilarating to me,” Wade said. “It was probably the first time in my life I had both the tools and the freedom to create something I was truly proud of, and the passion I discovered while working on the paper is a feeling I am still chasing today.”

Currently double majoring in Digital Storytelling and Media Communications with a minor in Psychology at Mizzou, Wade remembers her experience at the P&G and the role it played after high school.

“It was a big part of my development into an adult, and it taught me what to look for in life – if you can wake up every morning and feel as though your work has flung you out of bed and is calling you, you cannot let it go,” Wade said. “That feeling, that excitement, that love for what you do and create, is the ultimate driving force in feeling fulfilled. As I move on to bigger and better projects, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget the impact the P&G had on my life.”