Sherman Miller, an Arizona Daily Wildcat adviser in the 1960s, said it best: “What a gang. What people. What a job I’ve got.”
I stole this line from the farewell column I wrote for the Wildcat in 2010, but it still carries so much value today looking back at my time as a college journalist. Three simple sentences from a man I’d never met became the nut graph for the story of my life at the Daily Wildcat, working inside the newsroom named after Miller himself. The events I attended across the country with a press pass and the stories I wrote on deadline were fine, but it was the people I met along the way that created the fondest memories.
When I think of my time in the Wildcat newsroom, I think of the countless hours talking to Mark Woodhams, picking his brain about everything – related to the newspaper or not. The man knows a lot about the industry, and he knows a lot about making a good product great. We took his (almost) daily Glass House Notes to heart, applying his critiques to our work, even when we didn’t agree. He always pushed us to embrace change decided on by student editors: I endured a newsroom makeover, a change from a tabloid paper to broadsheet size, a new emphasis on video and multimedia, and countless web overhauls.
And while we worked hard, we played hard. The Wildcat newsroom was our frat house. It was where we ate, napped, disrupted a few conference calls with loud music (journalistic professionalism was something we learned along the way), held rowdy sports desk meetings, very intense mini-hoop basketball tournaments and laughed until we cried. When we weren’t doing all of that, of course we were trying to put together the best college content in print and online that we could.
The Wildcat set the path for the career I have today. It gave me the chance to meet pro athletes, movie stars and local heros, and I found it pretty cool to be stopped on campus many times by people I didn’t know just because they recognized my newspaper head shot. But the fact that my closest friends today were sports monkeys with me at the Wildcat is a testament to what I really gained.
My journalism experience at the Wildcat was phenomenal. The people were even better. Sherman Miller nailed it.
Lance Madden epitomizes a young Wildcat alum who shed his love of print for new media technologies, took chances with jobs, and has moved himself quickly up the ladder with major media organizations in New York City.
Bitten by the Big Apple bug while interning in 2009 with Field & Stream Magazine, Lance moved to New York right after graduating in 2010, working first with College Media Networks, the Access Network Company and BlackBook Media as sales coordinator and partnership manager. He parlayed this exposure into a position as ad operations analyst with Forbes.com, where he was also a contributing writer, from 2011-2013. Now an ad operations associate with Sports Illustrated, Lance has traded managing a print product – he was editor in chief of the Daily Wildcat—to the world of digital and online advertising.
In addition to EIC, Lance served as Wildcat sports editor and was covering men’s basketball during the tumultuous end-of-Lute era. He is one of three young alumni being honored who won both the Clyde Lowery Award for Professionalism & Integrity and the Donald Still Award for Service to the Wildcat.