February 27, 2024

Dear Reader,

The calendar shows only a few short weeks until school begins. As a nascent writer, editor and media historian, I constantly review drafts, stories and class notes, especially before a new semester. Recently, I sifted through pages from prior classes and found a quote from Theodore Roosevelt scrawled lightly in the back of a worn history notebook:

“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

I find this quote particularly appropriate as I write to you, for life now bids me such a chance.

In this, my inaugural letter as Editor-In-Chief at the Tennessee Journalist, I gladly accept my chance to serve you. I will work hard at this work – these words worth writing and these stories worth telling – for you, the University of Tennessee community worthy of service.

Tennessee has long been my home. I fondly remember my youth spent clad in orange as I traveled to Knoxville with my parents for games nearly every Saturday in the fall.

As an adult and student, I value this institution more than I realized possible. The old adage holds home is where the heart is. I must qualify that statement in this particular instance: home is where the heart and the mind are.

This home fosters an intelligent environment committed to advancing our world far beyond these hills. Tennessee molds engineers, linguists, educators, artists, doctors, journalists…all Volunteers.

The Volunteer Creed states, “One who beareth the torch shadoweth oneself to give light to others.”

We, as journalists, carry the great responsibility of bearing the brightest torches. Journalists must inform the community, promote the voices of those within it and above all, shed light on the truth. At TNJN, we will shadow ourselves to expose the truths of our community.

We will report on victory and on loss. We will report on love and on hate. We will see our world at its best and at its worst. We will always be committed to the utmost veracity in all circumstances.

We will educate, and we will learn.

Our editors and writers learn through this site, practicing storytelling and media skills to help us as young professionals. More importantly, we learn to remain healthily skeptical, curious, transparent, empathetic and honest.

Though we are learning, hold us accountable. Demand accuracy. Expect empathy. Accept curiosity. Hold us to the highest standards possible to acknowledge diversity, to serve as preservers of truth and to champion progress.

Our current staff is inquisitive, capable and eager to learn as we continue to build this site and its reputation. We invite any and all students to join our staff as writers, photographers and videographers – to follow passions regardless of major.

Here’s to the future of the Tennessee Journalist. May we inform our community always, entertain when appropriate and learn valuable lessons in order to uphold the creed of our university.

I am honored to serve as Editor-In-Chief, and I look forward to the work ahead. Work well “worth doing.”


Lexie Little

Editor-In-Chief, Fall 2018


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