Our end-of-semester editorials usually mark the graduation of a beloved editor, but in this final issue of the year, we say goodbye to Shawn Murphy, Cardinal Points’ faculty adviser of 26 years, as he retires. Much of the success of Cardinal Points and its alumni throughout the years, and for many years to come, can be traced directly to Murphy, and this transition is nothing short of bittersweet.
Cardinal Points is not just a one- or two-credit practicum, and neither is Murphy just a professor. To us, his name is synonymous with the freedom of student press and boundless potential for improvement.
When Murphy joined the SUNY Plattsburgh campus in 1997, Cardinal Points was still a club, meaning any entity above us, from the Student Association to the college administration, could exercise prior review and control our content. When Macdonough Hall went up in flames and the SA urged Cardinal Points to withhold the name of the student at fault, it was Murphy’s voice that advised us to print it as a public service, which ultimately led to Cardinal Points’ editorial independence.
A college newspaper’s faculty adviser serves to empower students to pursue journalism at its highest ethical standards while experimenting and pushing ourselves to our limits. Not only did Murphy shield us from several attempts to censor Cardinal Points and help us manage this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, but he gave us a reason to meet every Monday at 7 p.m. in Ward 110 — critique. In that hour, he would review the latest issue and share personalized feedback on what he thought we did well and how we could improve. It hardened our skin, sometimes stroked our egos and definitely set our bar to rise ever upward.
Murphy has been a witness to our growth both as generations of young professionals and as a publication. With his guidance, Cardinal Points received its 16 All-American awards from the Associated Collegiate Press, given to the top 10% of college newspapers. He was also there when Cardinal Points was inducted into the ACP Hall of Fame in 2010. Clearly, our students are capable of great things, but it takes an equally capable adviser to empower us to reach these heights.
Ultimately, the relationship between an adviser and a college newspaper is that of reciprocated love and respect. Freedom, not restraint, is what allows journalism students to flourish like we have.
Those of us who will look back fondly on our experiences at Cardinal Points when we graduate will do so in no small part because of Murphy and the lessons he taught us. Thank you for believing in us, being our no. 1 fan, reading every single article of every one of our issues, showing us the power of collegiate journalism as well as the responsibility that comes with it and giving us the space and tools to grow every week. Enjoy your retirement, Murphy, and let’s keep in touch.
Aleksandra Sidorova, Editor in Chief
Kiyanna Noel, Managing/Arts & Culture Editor
Collin Bolebruch, Sports Editor
Mikai A. Bruce, Associate Sports Editor
Daniela Raymond, Opinion Editor
Dorothy Jayne Smith, Photography Editor
Jacob Crawford, Multimedia Editor
Cameron Greaves, Graphics Editor