December 16, 2022 | NEWS | By Zeke Lloyd | Images provided by author

I’m the youngest of three. I have an older brother, Cyrus. Cy is quiet, very smart. He’s not annoying about it. He has a very big interest in board games and strategy, which is cool, because it means he’s always thinking. And you can tell he thinks of life kind of like a board game, which is always fun to see because he’s very rational. And he thinks through his decisions a lot. And my sister has the same very pragmatic view of the world that he does, except my sister is a little more unabashedly herself. I think my brother in social situations is very much like a chameleon. Which is very great. But my sister is very much like… what’s an awesome animal? Well, I’d say she’s very much like an eagle, which makes sense because she’s named Aquila, which is eagle in Latin. So she’s very proud of that. She’s always very ready to be herself. And if people have a problem with that, that’s their problem. Which I have so much respect for and I love so much. Because I think the combination of those two personalities gives me a healthy sense of identity, and healthy sense of: I need to be myself, but also I need to be tuned in. And they both do both. Honestly, they both do their personalities much better than I do mine. Because I don’t know if I’ve quite figured out who I am yet.

Zeke young with siblings

Being the youngest, probably the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I think it shaped the way I think and the way I act. And I really appreciate it, because it gives me a deep sense of trust, which I really value a lot, because the two people I trust more than anyone in the entire world are obviously my siblings. So being the youngest I grew up always knowing that they were there for me. And so now when I go out into the world, I kind of just assume people are going to be there for me. And I assume that people are going to trust me the same way that I’m going to trust them. And I really think that is a nice disposition to have, because it helps me make friends.

Maybe it’s because my childhood was so filled with Ohio nothingness, that now I just feel a constant need to figure out what other people did during their lives and what they care about and why they care about it and what’s important to them. But I don’t like being interviewed a lot, because I don’t think I have a lot of insightful things to say. I’d love to be like a black hole for that kind of information. I love learning what drives people and why people are passionate about what they’re doing. And so any way in which I’m able to just listen to people and hear about what matters to them, that’s my favorite thing in the entire world.

And I guess I got that growing up. Because, you know, my older siblings were always doing cool new stuff. My parents did not love being in Ohio so were always trying new things and trying out new hobbies. And it was always interesting to me to see how they’re able to really fall in love with something or a lifestyle or anything like that. And I never really found my passion there of like, “Oh, I love this hobby or love playing this instrument or playing this game.” It was always “I just love learning why other people like doing those things.”

I get frustrated easily by people who understand half of a situation. And I don’t like to share my opinions unless I feel confident that I really know what’s going on, which realistically, is pretty much never. So unless it’s about something arbitrary I really don’t love sharing my opinion. I like learning about why other people think what they think. But journalism was the path through which not only could I understand situations to the fullest extent possible, but also, it was nice for me to think that I might be able to do that for other people. And then I might be able to go somewhere and really see all sides to a story. And then when it’s presented to the public through a newspaper or through a radio story, I could show them just how complex and intersectional a situation is. So that way, there aren’t the same issues that I was always frustrated with, which is some one-sided piece or some vision of a world that really doesn’t exist because they just didn’t include half the people’s opinions. So that capacity for me to now better understand how to read news I love, but also I would love to be able to create it.

Actually, ironically, I think people are too pessimistic about media. I think this is the Econ major in me showing, but the concept of creative destruction is very healthy in economies. It’s the idea that just because one part of an industry dies, we shouldn’t all panic, right? Like, the sewing industry doesn’t necessarily exist the way that it did 200 or 300 years ago. But it’s okay, because it was replaced. And now we have different ways of manufacturing clothes that are more productive for what people actually need. And I think journalism is scary, because we’re going through a lot of changes. I mean, we’re not printing as many newspapers as we did 50 years ago. And that’s really frightening to a lot of people. And I understand where that’s coming from. But this idea that we’re able now to actually distribute and disperse news more efficiently and more effectively. That’s what no one’s talking about.

There’s so many cool initiatives and new ways that news is getting around the country and getting around the world. The New York Times is a great example. Newspapers everywhere are struggling, but the New York Times is as good, if not a better publication, than it was last year. And I think it’s always improving. Local journalism is always the question on people’s minds in the US, but I think local journalism is taking on a new angle and people are producing it not necessarily through a newspaper that gets printed, but through audio stories, through video stories, through community efforts to produce news. And that’s something to be celebrated. And we can’t be too stuck in the past when it comes to journalism. There’s misinformation questions and concerns about foreign influence, and you need to address those. But I think there’s no industry better prepared to address those than the group of journalists that make up American media associations.

What am I looking forward to after I step down? You know, I hope it’s not too basic an answer, but it’s definitely waking up on a Friday and picking up a newspaper and reading it, which weirdly enough, I haven’t actually done in about a year. Because I’ll pick it up and I’ll skim through to make sure there are no major mistakes in the printing process, but outside of that, I already read every article before it comes out on Friday. You know it’s gonna be nice to appreciate it from the outside again. I really missed that.

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