Mother knows best: Join the Royal Purple

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A sick, sappy post about how I love the RP and all it’s done for me – and I said this back in May, when I had no idea what kind of journalist the role of News Editor would make me into. Prepare yourself. And yes, I did log into Instagram on my computer for this. Judge me.

I’m going to be your mother here, in some aspects.

No, I’m not going to call you at the most inopportune times to pester you about your grades. I won’t tell you to be careful when going out to parties. I certainly won’t give you unconditional love.

What I will do, however, is inform you that the only way you’re going to do well out in the real world is by getting involved.

This can reference any organization on campus, really, but for all-intensive purposes, I’m going to shamelessly plug the Royal Purple – and the fact that we have close to a dozen positions up for grabs.

The turnover is high is semester because we have a lot of students holding those positions graduating in a month, therefore sending the rest of the staff into a frenzy to find a newly opened position for themselves.

So, I’ll take a little time to debunk a few myths for you, and if you feel like confident enough, check out either Kyle or Julie Ridgeman’s email on joining the staff. You can always get ahold of me as well, to ask questions.

Myth #1: I don’t have enough experience to be on the RP.

Take a look at your surroundings. You are on a college campus, which is by nature, a learning institution. Which means that the RP is here to serve as practical experience so you can develop your skills to gain that experience.

Do we like people to walk into their position feeling prepared and having a little knowledge on their section or role? Absolutely. However, so few journalism majors leave their last journalism class having no more knowledge with them when they started, so that’s an unrealistic precedent to hold people to.

To be candid here? Even the staff isn’t perfect. I have my days where not enough experience could have prepared me for the situations I was put in. You grow as you go.

Myth #2: I can’t be an editor without being a staff writer first, so I don’t qualify.

I’m living, breathing, smart-mouthed proof this isn’t true.

August 3, 2014. I kept my phone within inches of me at all times, a few feet away if I was gutsy. My confidence shrank as the clock ticked past four, five, six p.m.

They hadn’t liked me and they just didn’t feel like calling to say, no, we’re not really interested. Maybe join as a staff writer and apply for Photo Editor when you have more experience.

I got the call at 7 p.m. He’d had a hectic day, forgetting to call me in the process.

And with that, I had thrown myself onto of journalists all at least a year older than me, with two, three, four times that in experience.

Was starting my collegiate journalism career the day I stepped on campus always easy? No. Did I qualify to be in a position where I could learn and grow? Hell yes.

Myth #3: I can get a job without it and be just fine.

I have to admit, you’re partially right on this one – Taco Bell doesn’t require you to work at a newspaper in order to fold up chalupas. (This goes the other way, too. My journalism degrees aren’t going to help me learn to fold up a taco like a normal human being.)

If you’re serious about journalism as a future career, you’re going to need an internship to show you can work out in the real world. Real-life editors want to see your success and abilities outside of a campus bubble. No-brainer.

To get that internship locked down, however, you’re going to have to have had a few bylines to your name first.

And sorry, Dr. Kates, but a synthetic story about Kittatinny and Mayor Petykiewicz is not going to impress a newspaper’s group editor. You need to prove you had the drive and dedication to step outside of your classwork and put that education to good use.

Yes, while I love spending my days and nights running back and forth between the Royal Purple office and the UWW-TV edit suites, I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say there’s a grand scheme involved with it. Each and every night, I’m evaluating if what I’ve done the day prior is still keeping me on track for my strategy.

I’m out here plotting to beat all of you to the race to Craig Schreiner’s studio for the Hired Before Graduation. Give me a run for my money, literally. Join the RP. Mother knows best.

Peaked, and piqued


My collegiate journalism career peaked last night – and all I could think about what search engine optimization.

I found myself waltzing in a room lined with Facebook-blue covered tables and large screen TVs yesterday afternoon surrounded by the state and the nation’s greatest journalists. We were all there, in a press filing room in UW-Milwaukee’s Student Union while anxiously waiting to hear what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) were going to squabble about tonight.

I was a lowly peasant from the Royal Purple in a room of royalty reporters, photographers and videographers from the AP, CNN and the likes. It gave me hope I would someday return after making a name for myself, while humbling me the instant I walked into the room.

I got physically and mentally swept up in student activists protesting for a student worker’s union. I talked those holding signs in all-caps, “Hillary for Jail 2016.” It was dumb luck that my news team and I happened to be interviewing a member of the UW-M College Republicans as the police forced them to move their table – for the third time that night.

Doing all of this in high heels, may I add.

And this whole time, I was thinking about search engine optimization.

This week’s content could not have come at a better time.

In the beginning of the week, I was looking to figure out how I could optimize my stories when posted to the Royal Purple news page. Last night I was figuring out how I could tweet out the messages of the people around me so they could be seen by the outside world. I consciously thought about how I could write my story in order to get the most viewers possible to the Royal Purple’s website.

I actually pondered the headline I was going to write, in order to make sure it was searchable. Thirteen hours later, I’m studying the analytics.

While I’m pretty sure my college career peaked, my interest in how to increase my online presence piqued, too.

Why I’m a workaholic – and unapologetic about it

A single lamp shines on in a darkened high-rise office building in the middle of Manhattan. A man in a three-piece suit is silhouetted in the dim light of the bulb, as he types for a few minutes, signs a few legal forms and then moves back to typing again. He’s got a photograph of his family of five framed up on the wall, below it five bottles of liquor and a set of tumblers loosely situated around it, one of them still containing three millimeters of whiskey in the bottom.

There’s signs of life outside the four walls of his office, but there seems to be none inside. He’s a lonely, desolate man, replacing legal forms for his children’s love and long hours for the longing he feels for his wife’s intimacy.


Up until I started at college four semesters ago, this was my mental snapshot of a workaholic. It wasn’t until I got going at the Royal Purple and UWW-TV I realized the real depiction of a workaholic could be easily obtained by turning my front camera on in Snapchat or walking past a reflective window in the TV studio.

I never thought I would become that. I wasn’t a middle-aged man (nor will I ever be) who cut the throats of his colleagues to climb to the top. I didn’t plan on majoring in business or being an account executive. I didn’t plan on “hating myself” into a mid-life crisis where the only prescribable medication is a once-monthly car payment for a new Ferrari.

Nobody ever told me being in a creative field would result in being a workaholic.

But it does. It takes a lot of time to be a photographer, a writer, an editor, a videographer. One of those alone all take up so much of one’s time.

Being the News Editor of the Royal Purple has kept me in the office until 3 a.m. each Tuesday morning of production night and scheduling my week full of interviews, back to back. Juggling the multiple responsibilities at the TV station has had me there every day of the week, starting early and ending late.

I don’t mind any of it as I lock up the doors at the end of the night.

I’ll admit, it gets to me sometimes. I spend so much time in the studio and the newsroom that somedays, it takes effort to get back to my pre-journalism personality and remember who I used to be. I have a hard time discussing anything other than my work and the news. I have yet to strike a balance, which is okay for now. I’ll get there.

I was once told if you have extra time as a journalism major in college, you’re not taking full advantage of the resources available to you. You should be a workaholic, because it’s the work ethic you put forth that will get you hired. Being a workaholic has helped me build confidence in my work and allowed me to learn in excess from others around me. I’ll be a workaholic until I can’t sustain it anymore.

That being said, my sincerest apology goes out to all those business execs I’ve scoffed at in years past. You drink your whiskey with your monogrammed stones off Etsy and I’ll drink a juice pouch of fake fruit juice, and we’ll both burn the midnight oil together.

Kopper honored to be UW-Whitewater’s 16th Chancellor

By Kimberly Wethal

Royal Purple News Editor


Chancellor Beverly Kopper speaks the audience at her State of the University address on Monday, Aug. 24. She talked about the strategic plans the university has to get around budget challenges and mentioned the highlights of the incoming freshman class.

Chancellor Beverly Kopper speaks the audience at her State of the University address on Monday, Aug. 24. She talked about the strategic plans the university has to get around budget challenges and mentioned the highlights of the incoming freshman class.

Chancellor Beverly Kopper has a closet overflowing with purple.

It’s not all Warhawk purple, she admits, but the days she’s not donning one of the many shades of the color, she’s almost invisible.

“One of my co-workers saw me today not wearing purple and said I was almost unrecognizable,” Kopper said.

Wearing the color daily is just one of the ways Kopper shows her love and enthusiasm for UW-Whitewater.

Kopper was named chancellor in late May to replace former chancellor Richard Telfer, who announced his retirement in November 2014.

She was hired at UW-W in 2010 as provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Kopper has been in the role of interim chancellor before, when Telfer took the role of interim UW System President in early 2014, so the transition has been “wonderful.”

“Some of the responsibilities are similar,” she said. “I’ve had the opportunity to be out with some of our alumni and donors, as well as spending time on campus.”

Spending two months meeting with faculty, alumni and legislators to talk about UW-W and the challenges it faces due to the $125 million cut to the UW System in the ’15-17 biennial budget, Kopper has kept her calendar plenty full.

While her schedule will become a balancing act of engaging with students through event attendance and the time spent off campus when classes start, student arrival is an event Kopper said she was looking forward to during an interview in mid-August.

“I’m anxiously waiting for all the students to come back,” she said. “ … There’s just a sense of energy on campus that you just feel.”

Kopper’s new vision for UW-W  is one that is shared, and has had cross-campus input on how to improve and move forward.

A task force will be launched this fall on how the university can manage the budget cuts, and goals will be made on how to close the equity gap between underrepresented minority students, creating institutional diversity within the faculty and a focus on how student advising can be improved.


Love for higher education

Kopper first came to Whitewater on a cold, windy day in November of 2009.

John Stone, now interim provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, was the first person she’d met.

“A windy Friday the 13th, in 2009, I picked her up in front of the Baymont Inn to interview as provost for this university,” Stone said as he introduced Kopper to the stage during the State of the University address on August 24. “She has distinguished herself in every way, placing value on the notion of building community. She has lived the UW-Whitewater family motto.”

Kopper took the microphone after the applause, saying Friday the 13th is now one of her favorite days.

Prior to being hired as a UW-W provost in 2010, Kopper earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of Buffalo, and continued her education at UW-Madison, earning a master’s in social work and psychology.

Kopper then earned her Ph.D in counseling at Iowa State, where she then proceeded to work at University of Northern Iowa, working her way from a faculty member to part of the administration.

Kopper said it was the love of higher education’s dedication to student success and the innovative spirit on college campuses that pushed her toward a career in a university setting, and it’s those same things that brought – and kept – her here at UW-W.

“Even during difficult times, and we are in difficult times, you still find passionate, dedicated  individuals on campus who still care about one another. That’s very special,” she said.


‘Going 100 mph’

On her first day as chancellor, Kopper worked to establish “a new normal” on campus.

Holding an open forum on the morning of that first day, 100 faculty and community members showed up.

“The campus is really interested in what she has to say, and what her plans are for us,” said Sara Kuhl, Marketing and Media Relations director at UW-W.

Kopper also held “Tea with the Chancellor” sessions throughout the summer. It’s something she said she’ll be continuing throughout her first year.

“This is really important because I want to be able to see all of you and keep you updated on the critical issues that we’re facing,” Kopper said.

“I have plenty of tea on standby in my office, drawers and drawers. Some days I look like a cafe.”

Coffee drinkers are still invited to bring their concerns to the chancellor–she has coffee on hand as well.

One of the biggest changes Kopper has seen in herself is she “probably travels more,” thanks to the amount of alumni, donors and legislators she meets with off campus in order to “energize our allies.”

When she is on campus, she finds herself meeting with the leadership teams of each department at the university as she works to get to know people on a different level.

Juggling the duties of chancellor has come mostly easy to Kopper, Kuhl said, but has its limitations.

“She’s had to say no to some things, because there’s only 24 hours in a day and she needs to have a little bit of time with her family,” Kuhl said. “I think she’s done an amazing job of handling the demands that are out there for her.

“She’s just very cheerful, and oozes excitement for who we are,” she added. “The passion she has for UW-Whitewater is amazing, and I think it’s going to be contagious.”

As Telfer could be easily seen around campus at events, Kopper is planning on cultivating the same kind of community involvement.

“Both of us liked to be very involved on campus,” she said. “Certainly Dr. Telfer was an avid supporter of athletics, and I am as well. I just love being out at student concerts and performances and faculty events. It’s the vibrancy of this campus.”


A vision for campus

Whitewater’s campus has always had a family feel for Kopper.

She says it’s “critical” to keep it that way.

In her State of the University address, she talked about the challenges and successes UW-W has accumulated since the last campus address.

One of the biggest challenges UW-W faces is the decrease in state aid in the biennial budget, but Kopper put the minds of many faculty and staff in the audience to ease, as she told them there was no plans for layoffs, job outsourcing or early retirement incentives.

She announced one way UW-W will “weather to the budget cuts” is the launch of a task force whose main initiatives will be to manage the budget cuts’ affect on campus and look for more innovative practices that will cut costs without eliminating quality for students and staff.

“We need to remain a university that is laser-focused on student success,” Kopper said. “That means we need to have a shared vision of excellence that really transcends all boundaries, where everyone is reinforced for their contributions to UW-Whitewater.”

The task force will develop key performance indicators to track the progress of the goals set and ensure that short-term goals match up with the university’s long-term vision.

Academic freedom and the preservation of tenure is also a part of the budget plan that Kopper said she, along with the UW System President Ray Cross, is dedicated to protecting, despite new wording changes from lawmakers.

Her stance on tenure got a small burst of applause from a faculty member in one of the front rows.

Another solution to the budget deficit will be to raise out-of-state and graduate tuition up 2-3 percent from last year, a move that will generate $800,000 in order to minimize the blow of a $125 million cut.

This plan comes with problems, completely out of the university’s control, however.

Kopper talked about how UW-W relies heavily on its enrollment and retention for funding, but is already at a student housing over-capacity. The university has lost transfer students due to not being able to have places for them to stay on campus, and will have 170 incoming students living in lounges at the beginning of the school year.

Yet with the budget cuts, building renovations and new construction have either been halted or severely delayed due to a lack of state funding.

The State of the University address wasn’t all negative, however; Kopper said there’s plenty to be celebrated.

The class of 2019, which had a record amount of applicants, totaling 7,200 in all, will be starting this week as the class to have the highest ACT average of any class before them. Out of the 2,100 members of the incoming freshman, 16 percent identify as under-represented minorities, and 18 percent are from out of state.

Retention rates from the class of 2018, this year’s sophomore class, are also slightly above 80 percent for the second year in a row, and graduation rates within a six-year time frame are nearing 60 percent.

The rates are “outstanding” and are above national rates, Kopper said.

The highest priority in Kopper’s vision for the campus, however, is never compromising the student experience as the university works to find ways around the challenges they face.

“We have a very special sense of family here that we will protect,” she said.