Opinion | The party’s over


Pamela Smith | Visual Editor

Grace DeLallo stands next to containers of newspaper rolls at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette printing facility in 2022.

By Grace DeLallo, Assistant Opinions Editor

When I was a sophomore, I applied for the opinions desk three times. I was incredibly frustrated because I wanted to write and I thought I had a somewhat competitive edge — because, you know, that’s what us folks at The Pitt News really care about.

But then I became an editor and learned the disorder that comes with hiring new columnists and that applications get lost. So, to those of you who applied for opinions during my tenure as an editor, I apologize if I never reviewed your application. But, please, also know it was Rachel Soloff’s fault too! Though, for those three attempts at the desk, I was rewarded with three fulfilling semesters as the assistant to the opinions editor — a joke for all you “The Office” lovers out there, and something to amuse my beloved opinions editor. 

I was a columnist for a semester before Jack Troy, the head opinions editor at the time, approached me to become an editor. Jack was switching to news to work toward accomplishing his dreams, which bewildered me because how could one leave opinions?! We are the best desk — we did just win the “Best Desk” paper hat… even though we tied with news, but I digress. 

We met outside of Redhawk Coffee to discuss what the job would entail, but didn’t get coffee, so I sat awkwardly with my legs pulled in discussing the position. He asked if I knew what the SNED was, to which I lied and said yes, even though I’m positive it was the first time I’d ever heard the term. Well, I came to learn it’s the worst part of the job, but the benefits far outweigh the annoyances. 

I was nervous to edit when I was hired. I had never “professionally” done it before. I know I’m a good editor, although some of my columnists who received paragraph-long comments may disagree, but when first faced with the formal process a student news organization goes through to produce quality, ethical works, it can prove intimidating. 

But validation makes all the difference. In the first several weeks I was editing, Jon Moss, the former editor-in-chief, approached me during production and told me that I was doing a great job. Rebecca Johnson, the current editor-in-chief, told me during the same semester that since I came on to the job everything had been running smoothly. Those boosts of confidence let me know that I was contributing to the fluidity of production nights and the quality of the paper, and it encouraged me to do the same for my writers. 

Writers who have worked under — well, more appropriately, alongside — me, I wouldn’t be here without you — duh. But, you have all inspired me so greatly in developing my own writing and style. You made me a better writer and a more educated person. For those aspects alone, I thank you. 

But you’ve also all helped me in having more humility. I asked my writers to push back or correct me because I recognize I was an editor, not god. Have I made stupid, grammatically incorrect edits before? Yes. Was I embarrassed? Also yes, but I was able to see you as people and wanted you to see me as human too. 

I was someone doing their best, and I hope you all feel that way. Being comfortable with you all took me swallowing my anxious tendencies, but you met me where I was and together we did our best. I love you dearly, and if I ever came off short or annoyed in Slack messages, I definitely was, but I still love you. And it breaks my heart to part ways with you all, but it’s okay! You were integral parts of my journey and I can only hope I had a sliver of the impact on you as you had on me. 

As for impacts, no one has made a greater impact on my life than my best friend, Rachel.

When I told Jack that I was going to profess my love to Rachel in my sendoff, he told me that wasn’t necessary because she most definitely knows. My response was that, even if she knows, I don’t think I can fully express the amount of light she’s brought into my life. Her warmth, her GIANT smile, her kindness, her giggles — I will never be able to list adjectives strong enough to describe the supernova this woman is or the stain she’s left on my heart. 

And, yes, while stain typically has a negative connotation, it’s an indicator of strength and longevity, and we all have a stain with a loving memory behind it. Despite the vinegar and baking soda and OxiClean, I can’t get rid of her. And I don’t want to. I mean, hell, we’re living together once our respective leases end in June and July. This girl is a forever person, and without TPN, I would have never found her. 

We’d never have gotten to experience going to the Schenley pool over the summer, witnessing each other ugly cry and determine whose crying face is worse, sending each other songs to listen, me consuming almost all of the media she recommends to me and discussing it all in too much detail and driving our columnists crazy with the tangents we would independently and collectively go on during pitch meetings.   

And to Jack, thank you for quitting ops and giving me the opportunity to meet her, while also encouraging me in my writing and editing journey. I’m incredibly grateful that you exist in my life outside of this paper, and I’m excited to see what you do in your last semester at TPN and beyond. You’re going places, and I am humbled that I get to bear witness.

Overall, TPN has given me more than a profile page with my stories to submit to employers, a soapbox to climb onto. TPN has given me two of the greatest people I have ever known, a refined love for writing to engage with others and the best part of my college experience.  

Now as I move onto the next phase of my life, I get to edit and proofread for a salary. I’ve found power in writing and editing, and I’ve learned that my editor’s brain doesn’t exist as a critical weakness — instead, I get to see the world through a refined lens and imagine the possibilities before me. My imagination runs wild, and writing and editing both amplify that chaos but also refine it into something deliverable and digestible to the world. 

And the fact I can help others accomplish that too makes my heart sing. It may seem silly that a writer views their work at their college paper this way, but I got to learn so much and be a part of columnists working to educate the world on things they’re passionate about. I get to joyously revel in that prospect now, so thank you one more time. 

I’d like to end my farewell by thanking all of the editors I got to work with during my time at TPN. To the editors who helped me shape my words into something more reflective of my intentions and voice, you have done so much for me and my skill set. To the editors who stood on chairs with me in the office, who I counted Jeopardy scores for and who engaged in whatever tangent I went on, you’re cherished and you made my experience rich. I love you all. 

This party may be over, but there is so much reason to celebrate. Goodbye, TPN.