Thank you, Pate McMichael
Amy Lynn McDonald | Editor-In-Chief & Lindsay Stevens | Managing Editor | Nov. 20, 2019
Pate McMichael has been an advisor for the Colonnade for the past two and a half years. In the coming weeks, he will be moving to California to be a professor at California State University, Chico.
During his time as our advisor, he has done more than make an impact—he has shaped how we see the world and approach our craft as writers and journalists.
When we listen to Pate talk, we know we are hearing wisdom from a practicing journalist.
For us as the staff, the Colonnade is where the rubber meets the road. We get the chance to apply the skills we learn in the classroom, and Pate has been a mentor to all of us during the process.
When we make mistakes, he corrects us and points us to a better way, explaining the laws that apply to us and the ethical boundaries that keep us from harming others.
He taught us how to investigate rumors and back up our reporting with documentation and facts from qualified and credible sources. He pushes us to stand up as adults—there is no such thing as a “student journalist” in his eyes. We are real journalists covering real issues making a real difference in our community.
Pate encourages us to seek truth and report it, when the truth is joyful and when the truth is difficult to swallow. Under Pate’s guidance, we have learned to report painful stories and have grown from these experiences.
Pate is an advisor who stands by his staff and students during thick and thin. He is someone who will go to bat for us, while also allowing us to make the tough decisions. He always told us he was there to advise, but at the end of the day we had the final decision.
He teaches that the best journalists have the most empathy. Empathy allows us to cover heartbreaking stories with grace and truthfulness. This same empathy pushes us to investigate and uncover hidden truths that need to be brought to light for the benefit of the community.
Most importantly, Pate taught us that being a good journalist is the highest form of patriotism and fulfilling civic duty. In a time when journalism is under attack from the highest office in the country and dying out in small towns, it is more important than ever to use all the tools in our toolbelt to uncover wrongs and highlight the good in the world.
Pate, we are better reporters because of you. We are better citizens because of you. We are better people because of you. Thank you for everything.