Em & Em bid farewell to late nights at The Duke: live laugh layout

Brentaro Yamane | Multimedia Editor | Emily Ambery (with the gorgeous red hair) as usual was distracting Paula Reed Ward (best advisor) with obnoxious questions about how to dispose of a dead body.

Emily Ambery | Layout Editor

Technically, my journey at The Duke started four years ago when I confidently marched up to the expo table and said “I want to write for The Duke, and I have lots of experience writing” (I did not).

In my freshman and sophomore years, I was stumbling through writing under the features editors Katia Faroun and Kellen Stepler who very kindly guided me through journalistic conventions.

I look back fondly on my inaugural story about the domesticated Duquesne squirrels and their beloved Instagram. I do fear, since then, we have gone a little too far with the furry friends. They are getting way too close to us.

Covering features led me all over campus reporting on topics like local celebrity Eramis the corgi, book and poetry clubs and the opening of Connections.

Running around campus gave me (what some may call unmitigated) confidence and experience reporting but I still considered writing for The Duke my hobby.

It was not until the fall of my junior year when I met Paula Ward in her multiplatform journalism class that I began considering a career in journalism.

At first, I was terrified of Paula but soon realized that she knows what sarcastic comment I am about to make before I even say it. Game recognizes game.

With in-class assignments, like leaving class for 20 minutes to find a stranger to talk to or interviewing an assistant district attorney, coming to class taught me to expect the unexpected.

One of my favorite articles came out of that class which gave me the opportunity to go into the Duquesne cadaver lab. I was not fond of the dissecting, but I appreciated the fact that I could tell this story.

Once again, journalism pushed me outside of my comfort zone.

While I loved writing for features, I found hard news topics more fulfilling. Both coursework and bylines reinforced my desire to be a part of a professional newsroom.

And it doesn’t get anymore professional than The Duke.

Joining The Duke as layout editor allowed me to explore the functions of a newsroom and be supported by a staff of people who, somewhat insanely, enjoy staying up until 3 a.m. every Wednesday. And I was one of them.

I was able to cover more news articles and find a passion for not minding my business, narrative leads and getting people to call me back.

Some of my favorite memories of The Duke come from that news coverage, like when news editor Megan Trotter and I drove to DC and back in less than 24 hours to write a story about a Duquesne-hosted journalism panel.

Though I did not think I would be assuming a position as The Duke’s resident driver as well as layout editor, the combined 8-hour journey was well worth it.

Other favorite moments from The Duke arose out of delirious 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. conversations about opinion editor Zach Petroff’s “words of wisdom” or editor-in-chief Emma Polen’s famous twin brothers.

These memories and all the ones I can’t recall because they happened after my bedtime have made me the reporter and person I am today.

Working for The Duke has been an invaluable experience that I cannot wait to tell anyone who will listen, though, they would have to have a free three days for me to explain all that I gained.

I am a better interviewer, reporter, writer and editor as a result of my time here.

Thank you to all the editors for setting the bar so high in how hardworking and fun a newsroom can be.

Thank you to Emma for being the best newsroom leader ever, teaching me to stay calm in the face of a storm and knowing every InDesign shortcut in the book.

Thank you, Paula, for being a great mentor and only calling me a jerk after laughing at my jokes.

I am grateful for each moment in the newsroom, specifically when Doug from the press calls to tell me I made a mistake.

Brentaro Yamane | Multimedia Editor | Emma Polen (left) and Emily Ambery (right) became friends through The Duke. This year, Emily and Emma both found a new fear of sneezes. Taken by Brentaro Yamane (the picture, of course).