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Photo of Emerson Drewes in her office
Photos by Rachel Jackson

I’m not quite sure what to put here. At the time of writing, I have multiple Google tabs open, searching for the perfect prose to write this in; I’m no good at goodbyes, which is why I’m not doing it.

I must forfeit my NetID and password, Google email (thanks a lot for that one), lose proxy access to the office and close the door of the newsroom for one last time, but I will never truly leave The Nevada Sagebrush. My stories will remain immortalized in HTML and my Instagram posts on our feed, and really, no one actually leaves the Sagebrush. Every staff member who has stepped through the door of the office leaves an indelible mark on the newsroom.

Stepping into the small room of the Sagebrush for the first time in 2021, I noticed a few things. The computers lining the walls, funny pictures on graffitied cabinets, a photo of an old man I learned to be Jake Highton — a former Reynolds school of Journalism professor — and a circular table in the center.

The table is a dark wood and very structurally unsound — we consistently have to turn it counter-clockwise to tighten it on its stand; but two letters, scraped into the stain of the wood, stood out to me: “EM”. The name “Em”, a nickname and token of affection people had called me since infancy. 

“Em” — I guess even before I had come into the newsroom, it was there waiting for me to notice it. I hope I have left my immortal mark on the newsroom, whether through this small scratch in the table, the posters and stickers I’ve plastered to the wall or the all-mighty desk drawer that sits upon a bookshelf in my office. The desk drawer of all the former editors of the Sagebrush: names like Sig Rogich, Warren Lerude, Guy Clifton, Brian Duggan, Madeline Purdue and Annie Flanzraich; people who I know have left their mark quite firmly. 

My Journey

My journey through the newsroom was unorthodox. I wrote my first story in April 2021, officially joined the newsroom in Fall 2021 and became an official staff member in September 2021 as assistant news editor. After my news editor decided to become missing in action, I took on the entire section as a sophomore. I wrote small stories about food robots and dining hall changes, while also attending every Associated Students of the University of Nevada meetings on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. — that’s right 91st session, I was the original “Sagebrush Girl.”

My false orange hair stuck out in crowds and garnered me recognition for the neon hue. One instance I used to gain more prestige within my family is when Brian Sandoval, UNR president, called me out during a public meeting. 

A professor asked a particularly tough question, one I cannot remember, and Sandoval stuttered a little trying to be careful with his words. He looked up at me and said to the crowd “I’m sorry, I have to be careful with what I say. The Sagebrush is here. Emerson is up there.” I waved, proudly.

By my second semester sophomore year I was News Editor and by April I was editor-in-chief, now changed to executive Editor, but not by choice. I thought I had more time, but when our current EIC left prematurely, the staff and I decided I should run for the position. At 19, I was the youngest editor in decades; now, I am the longest serving editor in history and the third woman to hold the position for two terms.

A thank you to my editors and Sogand

I won’t bore you with the details of what I have accomplished during my two terms — even though I am incredibly proud of myself — you can read my resume for that. This is for my staff, afterall, they are the ones who are really running the show.

To Brooke Germain: The best design editor, illustrator, artist and everything in-between. I’ve known you for too long to count and getting to work with one of my best friends is a dream. Thank you for stepping up and making the Sagebrush and my life more beautiful.

To Gabe Kanae: My admiration for you runs deep. Your perseverance and dedication to your sense of self is something I strive to have. Thank you for being you.

To Jesse Cabrera: Thank you for revealing yourself as a “copy God.” You are the safety net and backbone of this publication. We are all so proud of what you’ve accomplished. 

To Aria Frey: When you stepped into my office, your bright and shining demeanor encapsulated me. You’ve kept me educated and your commitment to justice and change is remarkable. Thank you for your valuable input and being understanding towards all.

To Patrick McNabb: It’s such a joy to have you in the newsroom. Your consistency and work ethic is admirable. Thank you for your amazing brain.

To Zoe Malen: Sweet angel, Zoe. Finally getting you in the Sagebrush newsroom has been a great accomplishment of mine. Seeing you grow as a person and photographer since freshman year has been an honor.

To Emily Hess: Your attitude, humor and personality as a whole is beautiful. It’s a pleasure to have you in the newsroom as a staff member, finally. Thank you for your smile and bright personality. 

To Peregrine Hart: One of the most intelligent people I have had the pleasure of working with. In all honesty, I’ve used many of the big words you’ve wooed me with. Thank you for teaching the Sagebrush and me how to use big words and reinventing the Arts and Entertainment section

To Jaqueline Lopez: If it weren’t for that fateful day in our COM 101 class and your persistence, we wouldn’t have a Spanish section, one of my favorite aspects of the Sagebrush. Thank you for expanding our audience and your dedication.

To Nick Stewart: All I can say is: my little baby. Having you by my side this past year and getting to know you has been my favorite part. I wish we had more time together. Thank you and I miss you already.

To Derek Raridon: Upon hiring you I knew you’d do great things, and I was right. You have a good head on your shoulders. You’ve taught me more about sports than I ever cared to know, but most importantly you’ve taught me how to be a good leader through your actions. Go out there and make me proud as the new Executive Editor. I’m proud to pass the torch to you.

To Jaedyn Young: My number two. The Sagebrush would not be where it is today without you, and neither would I. Thank you for everything — I have to keep it short there’s already tears on my keyboard.

To Sogand Tabatabaei: You have been the most instrumental part of the Sagebrush and student media’s success for the past two years. Through every dip and bump, you’ve stood by our side and rallied for us. Thank you for your friendship and comfort in times of need.

Everything I have done at the Sagebrush is for you all. This is the dream team.

After graduation

After graduation I will be moving to Washington and working for The Seattle Times as a business reporting intern. Hopefully one day I can take up an editor position again, maybe I just have a knack for bossing people around.

My journalism career would not be complete without The Nevada Sagebrush. This is not goodbye, not even a see you later; I’m a Sagebrusher for life. You really think you can get rid of me that quickly? 

Emerson Drewes is the outgoing Executive Editor of The Nevada Sagebrush and has served in the position since April 2022. The incoming Executive Editor for the Sagebrush will be Derek Raridon.

Emerson Drewes can be reached via email at edrewes@sagebrush.unr.edu or via Twitter @EmersonDrewes.

Emerson Drewes

Emerson Drewes (she/her) is currently a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno. Before assuming the editor-in-chief position in March 2022, she served as the Assistant News Editor and News Editor, respectively. She has completed internships at The National Judicial College, Las Vegas Review-Journal and, most recently, Los Angeles Times. In her free time she enjoys good movies and bad television shows.

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