By Nico Regoli
Staff Writer and Editor-in-Chief
I’ve been the editor-in-chief of The Nittany Pride since the fall semester of 2016 began, and in that short time, I’ve learned a few things about myself and about life. One of those things I’ve learned is that Murphy’s Law is always looking over your shoulder, just waiting to intervene and ruin your plans.
For example, back in September, I went to cover the tailgates in Downtown Pittsburgh for the first Pitt versus Penn State football game in 16 years. I took all the photos I needed, I interviewed as many people as I needed to, and I had finished with enough time left to make it to a bar just before kickoff. I was having a really good day… And then nature called.
More specifically, nature butt-dialed me, and the nearest opportunity to relieve myself was a row of outhouses under a bridge, next to Stage AE’s parking lot. After minutes of waiting in line, I had discovered way too late that not only had my water bottle leaked inside my backpack, but also that my outhouse was out of toilet paper, and all I had on my person to lessen the situation was a single, used paper towel. Stricken with mud butt, I watched the first quarter at Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36, and then unpleasantly drove home to bathe and throw away my shorts.
Then for our October edition, I decided to write an editorial on the 2016 presidential election. I knew this would be a difficult challenge, especially considering who was running, but I was up to the task. Then the race turned into a scandal fest, and my editorial challenge morphed into a nightmare.
We at The Nittany Pride tell our writers to keep our stories within 800 words/two pages, because each newspaper can only be a set number of pages, and usually the only times we’re willing to let stories exceed two pages is when we have enough one-page stories to balance things out. I wrote four grueling pages, all of which we miraculously managed to fit to print, about how Gary Johnson was a corporate shill, Hillary Clinton was an untrustworthy establishment hack, and Donald Trump was just plain terrible, so I was therefore going to vote for Jill Stein (which I ended up not even doing because Trump started polling much better after the editorial was published). I kid you not when I say that writing that editorial, as well as the election itself, and the aftermath of the election was and has been murderous on my soul.
Now, here I find myself once more, trying to write something that you, our readers, will greatly enjoy, and fate has me at the mercy of circumstance.
The original headline was, “Wrestling With Independence,” and the lead read, “On February 11, 2017, Ring of Honor invaded Stage AE for a billed night of ‘Steel City Excellence,’ taping four television episodes to build anticipation for the promotion’s upcoming 15th anniversary show on March 10.” I wanted to share with you all the important happenings at my very first live wrestling event (which by the way was amazing, and I suggest you check your local TV listings so you can see for yourself how great it was), while also bringing public awareness to the non-WWE, independent wrestling scene. Fate did not share my aspirations.
There were the little issues, like bad Wi-Fi at the venue, my mobile charger not working, and having to ration my phone battery, which made photography and video recording more challenging, especially when I had to conduct interviews at 1% power. Speaking of interviews, everyone was in a hurry to go home or to the bar, so the only people I could question were my friends who also attended (and who helped me photograph and record), one of whom was so hyped up at the time that the recording of his interview is equally as hard to follow as the actual interview was. Those issues aren’t what broke the camel’s back though.
The true plague upon my original story has been my old enemy, the two-page limit. I have struggled with and overcome that maximum many times before, but after going through five drafts of my intended sports/entertainment article, I have to accept defeat. I can’t list all of the main bullet points of the TV tapings and also fit in my Indy wrestling awareness narrative without going over the limit. Maybe I can still write it as a website exclusive, but I can’t condense everything I want to say and include for print, and I’m not happy about that.
I know that not every story I write is going be a home run, but I take pride in my writing and I take pride (appropriately) in being part of The Nittany Pride. So it sucks to not be able to deliver what I intended, and tell the story I wanted to tell.
That’s part of being a journalist though. Stories aren’t always published, photos don’t always turn out right, not every source is reliable, etc. Things aren’t always going to turn out how you plan, because journalism is a hard job, and the President of the United States tweeting that the media is “the enemy of the American People” (he really tweeted that) is not making this job any easier.
Something will always be there to knock you down, but as I’ve learned from sports entertainment, from 15 years of martial arts, and from my dad’s so-far successful recovery from a brain tumor and multiple operations, you get back up and keep fighting. In wrestling terms, when life counters your offense and covers you for the three-count, you kick out at two, get creative, and win with a move from ‘outta nowhere.’ You turn a lemon into lemonade, or in my case, you turn an article into an editorial.