Much of an editor’s job is to look ahead. To steer a publication through uncharted waters and, more recently, unprecedented pandemics.
But it's also important to stop and take stock. Take stock of where we have been and who has helped us on our journey.
And there has been no one person more influential to the continued success of The Miami Student than our former advisor, Jim Tobin.
Now that Tobin has stepped down as The Student’s faculty advisor to focus on writing his next book, it’s more important than ever to honor his contributions.
For the better part of the last decade, Tobin advised iteration after iteration of The Student’s staff through both calm and crisis. Offering sage-like wisdom and level-headed guidance even when it felt like the walls were crumbling around us.
In the past, I have tried to quantify the impact of a man whose legacy is beyond words. And while words will always fall short, that will never stop a group of young reporters from trying.
So, Tobin, this letter is for you. An amalgamation of personal stories, memories and kind words that paint the picture of The Student’s collective mentor, professor, and all around grandfather-like figure.
“I just always appreciate how much time he spends caring about my writing,” one editor said. “Not just talking about it, reading it or grading it, but genuinely caring about making it the best it can be.”
Genuinely caring – a through line among the many stories told about Tobin’s impact on our newsroom.
“He talked me down from thinking I would never succeed in the field,” another editor recalled. “He didn’t know this, but on the other end of the phone I was crying in the hallway of Williams because his words and thoughtfulness were just what I needed right then. He cares about his students as people first, and I’ll always be grateful to know him.”
Gratitude was – and is – a paramount feeling among staff members who have had the honor of working with Tobin.
I would not be the reporter I am today without Tobin’s guidance – his way of making me, and every other student in this newsroom feel seen and heard.
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“Tobin has always made me feel seen and truly appreciated my work,” an editor said. “My experience at Miami would not be the same without him.”
I couldn't agree more.
Above all else, Tobin believed in me. Even when I struggled to believe in myself. He applauded my accomplishments and lifted me from my failures. Hell, he was one of the first people I called after my dad’s heart attack.
As cliché as it may sound, he gave me – and so many others – the skills and the confidence to thrive at The Student.
There are not enough thank yous in the world to give to the mentor who encourages so many.
So while I struggle to find words to describe my gratitude, I know one thing is certain.
I am a better person for knowing Jim Tobin.