Interview with Rebecca Hart, 11/30/2016

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Emile Heidemann, Interviewer | uwocs_Rebecca_Hart_11302016.mp4
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


EH: Alright. And we are recording. Today's date is November 30, 2016. The time is 6:30 p.m. I am at my apartment and Rebecca is at her home in -- What is your address Rebecca?

RH [on the phone]: It is 9601, 400 Front Avenue [in] Genoa City, Wisconsin.

EH: My address is 1020 Vine Avenue in Apartment 102, and my name is Emilie Heidemann. I will be interviewing Rebecca C. Hart today. Rebecca, since it is traditional for oral histories for you to tell me who you are, tell me -- first tell me a little bit about yourself. [Tell me] in brief where you're from, what you do, and things like that.

RH: Sure. I am originally from Heartland, Wisconsin. That is where I grew up. I went to [the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh] from 1990 to '95 and I was a 1:00five-year plan. I went to school for journalism, and when I graduated college I got right into it and started at a newspaper. It took me a little while to figure out really what I wanted to be with my degree, but I did end up working for the last 11 years for cold corporate. I went into the corporate world -- oh, goodness -- probably around 1997, just for a little while. Then I did a whole bunch of freelancing for about eight years in between there, but then landed again in corporate world and just recently [took] on a position [Assistant Manager in Digital Content] at Rust-Oleum, which is a paint company. If you own a house or do [Do It Yourself] projects, you would know what that brand is. But, that's what I do as my day job. Then, I also dabble with some acting on the 2:00side. I am currently writing a book and I also do dog training and behavior. There's never a dull moment in my life.

EH: In our previous interview, Rebecca, you had said you grew up in Heartland, Wisconsin so if you could just -- how about you indulge me a little bit about what that was like for you. Maybe, just tell me a little bit about -- give me a sense of the community there, what your family was like, things like that…

RH: Okay. Heartland was a small town. It was sort of a small town. It has grown quite a bit since I've lived there. But, my parents moved into that town because my dad got a job nearby and I moved into Heartland when I was probably -- I think I was just 7 years old at the time and started in second grade there. I 3:00made a lot of friends. It was seemingly out in the middle of nowhere. It was -- now is a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin because it's obviously not very far away. Obviously, back then it seemed like forever because all there were around us were corn fields and nothingness. It was a nice, little, quaint town to grow up in. We kind of knew everybody. Everybody knew you. It was a very quiet and very pleasant place to grow up in, I think. We lived in a townhouse there for a while and then my parents bought a condominium there when I was a little older. I went through the school system there and it was -- I don't know, I was a child of the '70's and the '80's, so I think it was a much simpler time back then. We did a lot of playing outside. I remember, as a kid, the kids in my neighborhood [unclear] lived down the street and we would pretty much get together every day. 4:00We would be outside from the time we got home from school until the time the street lights came on at night. We would play things like tip-the-can and ghosts in the graveyard. We just had a great time hanging out… kind of just being kids, I guess. That was really what my childhood was about. I was involved with sports and things when I was growing up. I played things like soccer. I played in my high school band. I was a cheerleader through junior high school and high school as well.

EH: Was your family originally from Heartland, Wisconsin or did you guys move around a lot? It sounds like…

RH: Well I was born in Menominee Falls, Wisconsin and my parents moved to Heartland [after] my dad got a job. From there -- after Oshkosh I was on my own. But then, my parents had moved from Heartland to Horicon, Wisconsin which is 5:00about an hour away from there…

EH: My father worked in Horicon, so I am familiar with that area.

RH: So you're familiar! They moved there for, again, my dad's job. But, I didn't really spend a whole lot of time in Horicon at that time because I was in college. Out of college I was working and lived on my own. Heartland really was the place that we all kind of stayed. I grew up with two brothers in my household; both younger than I was. We were pretty close growing up but my youngest brother that was in my house was about 12 years younger than I was. When I was off to college that was the time he was kind of coming into his own, and we didn't really have a whole lot in common for a long time. That was my family unit, at least.

EH: What type of work did your parents do?

RH: Oh, my goodness! That's a very good question. My mom didn't work. She was a 6:00stay-at-home-mom and my dad worked for a company at the time called--let's see I'm trying to think of where he was called at the time… oh, my goodness! This is so many years ago. Wow! Well, he was working in the manufacturing steel industry almost of his career. I don't know. I'm not going to give you the name of the company because I probably would be wrong on what years he was there. I will just say that he worked in the steel manufacturing industry for forever -- for as long as I knew.

EH: What types of work did your siblings end up doing?

RH: Well, my brother James, who is the next youngest is in the creative marketing world. He works for Eaton Corporation. My other brother, Brian, is an [Information Technology] professional. He works in the Milwaukee area. My 7:00brother, James, was in Michigan so I don't see him quite as often.

EH: What values and lessons do you feel you learned [while] growing up in Heartland, Wisconsin?

RH: That's a good one. Let's see… You know, I think having a strong sense of community was something that was very, very valuable to me and my family growing up. You know, we knew our neighbors and we knew how to take care of each other. If something went wrong, we would say -- let's say the power went out in our neighborhood for some reason. All of our neighbors would gather together, and we would play board games, or we would just have candles lit. It was just a really great way to know people and really -- like I said, we -- everybody knew everybody and that was what we did, was we talked to people a lot. It was really 8:00a -- it was just a very -- I think it was a great childhood, to be honest.

EH: Would you say that that has remained consistent in that community? Would you say that the sense of community you experienced back then -- you know, you said you were a child of the '70's and the '80's -- do you think that's remained that way, or do you think it's kind of shifted?

RH: I think it's shifted a little bit. To this day I hold those values and I still get to know my neighbors. I take care of people like I grew up doing. I think it's just shifted. I don't think people have that same sort of feeling of safety anymore. It's a little bit different. I think people are a little more cautious of their neighbors. I think people don't necessarily take the time to get to know you as they used to.

EH: I can definitely agree with that.

RH: Yeah. I think when I was growing up my parents would invite people over all the time. I mean, we had people come over for barbeques or for just a couple of 9:00drinks after work or something like that. I don't see a lot of that happening these days.

EH: How would that compare to the neighborhood in which you live currently? You said that you live in Menominee Falls, Wisconsin now? [I was really nervous in the beginning, so I accidentally messed up the city here.]

RH: I am in Genoa City, Wisconsin. Genoa City is very tiny and it actually -- that's my mailing address so I'm technically in the town of Randall, Wisconsin. The town of Randall is very, very small. It's only about 3,000 people.

EH: Do you want to spell that out for me, just so I spell it correctly for the transcription?

RH: Yeah, you want me to spell Genoa City?

EH: Sure.


RH: Then the town of Randall is R-A-N-D-A-L-L.

EH: Okay. That's where in Wisconsin? I remember you saying in our preliminary interview that that was close to Illinois. That's a pretty far…


RH: It's right on the border of Illinois, about ten minutes southeast of Lake Geneva. Genoa City, honestly, is a very -- it's a nice little area. The Town of Randall is a nice little area. It's a lake community, so I live on a lake. I get to enjoy the people. A lot of times in lake communities, you'll find people that really don't live here all year-round. It's pretty quiet. I mean, there's not a lot of traffic on my street. There aren't a lot of people in my little subdivision. There aren't a lot of people just nearby. There will be occasional people here during the summer. They come out and they go on the lake, and they come to their little vacation home. For the most part it's very isolated, I guess, in a way. But, I guess that's very nice for me. I'm used to living in the suburbs and I'm used to living in the city. Now it was time for me to move out of that and just enjoy the peacefulness of nature.


EH: How would you compare the general socio-economic status of Heartland versus Genoa City. You mentioned suburbs, so I would imagine it was pretty…

RH: It's different. It's very, very different. Heartland today is a very wealthy community. There's a lot of wealth there so people put a lot of money into their school. They put a lot of money into their communities. It's hard to find a house under half a million dollars. It's built up a lot. In the Town of Randall, it's very different. However, because the Town of Randall is a lake community, you'll get the million dollar houses on the lake, but you'll get pretty average houses on the other side of that too. Lake communities can be variable in that way.

EH: Okay, so now I'm going to rewind a little bit. You delved into your 12:00educational experience when we first started this thing. Let's talk a little more about that. Tell me a little bit more about the schools you attended, your teachers, some of your favorite subjects, other students, best friends… What was that experience like for you? It sounded like a very enriching one, from what you told me…

RH: I would like to think so, yes. Okay. I went to three different schools growing up. I went to an elementary school or four actually. I went to an elementary school. I went to a middle school for one year, then another middle school for a second or two other years. Then, I went to a high school. My elementary school years were kindergarten through fifth grade and when I told you I came into Heartland at around second grade I made immediate friends. The 13:00friends that I had even in second grade, I still have to this day, which was pretty amazing I think. There were a group of us girls, about four of five of us that stuck together through all of that. We are still friends to this day. It's pretty -- that's a pretty unique situation. I had really great teachers growing up in Heartland. I don't think there was one that I didn't like. They really -- I think they put a lot of really great people into those positions. I mean, there were obviously a few that stand out. I think everybody has got a few teachers that stand out in their lives that really shake them and force -- made them into who they were. My fourth grade teacher was one of those people. My fifth grade teacher was one of those people. My fifth grade teacher and I are actually friends on Facebook, which is out of this world. I think that's actually fantastic. Both of those teachers, they really shaped who I was because 14:00they really encouraged who I was as a person, rather than trying to force me into a mold of their kind. They allowed us to be creative. They allowed us to show our strengths in the classroom and then they capitalized on that. We always felt like we were pretty free to be who we were. I think that kind of an attitude is important to any child. After elementary school, I went to basically a transitional school because they were in the middle of building a new one, and so we were pushed into this -- actually it was a mobile trailer to be honest. The whole class went into sixth grade into this mobile trailer. It really wasn't a very large class obviously. We were in this mobile trailer for one year because they had no place to put us. They were building this brand-new school that we thought we would never see. But, we ended up transitioning into this 15:00small little trailer school. I will tell you that that sixth grade year was actually quite fun. We were kind of out in the middle of nowhere. This trailer was put next to a very old school house in Heartland and the old school house -- I can't remember when it went out of commission but it had been years, and years, and years. They opened it up and ended up using it as a science room for us. I remember standing -- one of the things I remember visibly about that is standing outside seeing my first solar eclipse in the driveway of this small little school house. I thought that was the coolest thing ever, to see that in sixth grade. Anyway, we were surrounded by corn fields at the time and there really wasn't any danger to us. [Unclear] was fairly quiet.

EH: Very characteristic of Wisconsin, cornfields.

RH: Absolutely. It was, again, a pretty small experience. However, a very good 16:00one. So, following that sixth grade year, we went into Heartland North, which is actually the junior high school, still to this day. I was there for seventh and eighth grade. The awkward years of anybody's life, seventh and eighth. You know you go through your middle school years with braces, glasses, [and] everything that is awful to a child. Which of course, I experienced all of that.

EH: As did I.

RH: But, I survived. I lived through it all. I guess eighth grade was an interesting experience. I think high school shaped me more. Following that obviously I went into Arrowhead High School in Heartland. Those were some of the best years of my life, to be honest and college. High school was pretty fun for me. I had been a cheerleader since seventh and eighth grade and into high school 17:00and it was probably one of my favorite things to do. I was a cheerleader for seventh, eighth, and all through high school, and I remember our high school girls' basketball team went to state in '89. We had a big celebration and we all got to go to Madison, Wisconsin. [Unclear]. They did take the title that year. It was just -- those were probably some of the best memories -- my cheerleading girls because we did stuff every day together. We were practicing every day. We had either a game or a practice, one way or another. We hung out at friend's, because were all friends anyway. To this day we still are, and we always talk about getting back together as a cheerleading squad reunion. We have yet to do 18:00that, but I think we will eventually. I learned a lot in high school. High school classes were -- they were -- I wouldn't say they were easy, but they weren't as challenging as, to me, as they were for some, so it was pretty easy getting through class work. High school was where I was first introduced into journalism. I took my first journalism class in high school. It would have been junior year. I had a fantastic teacher. His name was Dave Watry W-A-T-R-Y. He really got me interested in writing and in journalism. I had been interested in writing prior to that, probably in eighth grade is when I started journaling in my classes and things like that. But, then I got into journalism, real journalism, in high school because that's when I started working on the student 19:00newspaper. The student newspaper of my high school was called the Smoke Signal. It was -- I think it was because our mascot was the war hawk and so there was sort of an Indian theme going on there. Anyway, I started writing for the student newspaper and that was a fun experience, because I got to talk to people, and get their stories, and find out what was going on in the school. I've always been interested in being able to be in the know. That was where it all started for me was that junior year. Then, after graduation, I obviously went up to Oshkosh and…

EH: What made you decide, originally, to go to UW Oshkosh? Was it the journalism program itself? Was it the small campus? What was it about…


RH: I had actually been accepted to four different colleges, three of them, or two of them were out of state and two of them were in state. Oshkosh is one. I took a tour of the campus and -- with my mom I believe -- and I fell in love with it. It felt like home when I was there and I knew they had a very good journalism program. I wasn't 100% sure I was going into journalism right off the bat. I actually went in thinking I was going to do forensic science. I started looking into what it would take to get that degree and I am terrible at math. It required a lot of math and I said, 'No, not that.'

EH: Same here!

RH: My passion has always been writing. I talked to some advisors at some time and I was like, 'Maybe this is where I need to be.' I was still very unsure 21:00obviously being 19 years old. Who knows what they really want to do? Very few people. I think when I started really looking into what it took to get that degree and all the classes that I could take, I was excited about it. I'll be honest, the University was close enough to home that I could visit when I ever felt like it, but far enough away that I didn't have to be home every weekend. It was location. It was a prime location and it was also a very good education in the journalism world. Those two were the biggest factors for me.

EH: Describe your first day. What was that like for you? That surreal moment, you know, you saw your family, you were unpacking your things, and you're looking at your dorm room. This is the first time that you're living on your own. What was that like for you?

RH: I was elated! My mother cried like a baby. I remember standing outside my 22:00dorm. I was in Webster Hall that year. I was standing outside the dorm and I had everything unpacked from the car and I was saying goodbye to my mom. I was like, 'Okay, Mom! It's going to be great! I'm so excited!' She just was -- she couldn't let me go. She had a hard time saying goodbye. She hugged me for a couple of [unclear] and cried her eyes out. I told her that I was actually going to see her the following weekend if I had to come home and pick up more stuff. I said 'Goodbye, for now. I will see you next weekend.' Then, that was that. She left and I went up to my dorm and it felt really freeing that I could just -- I was the one making my own choices. I was the one. I was just me. If I needed help, I had it. Ultimately, it was my decision to do pretty much whatever, 23:00however, whenever. That was nice. It was a very fun and a very freeing feeling.

EH: Do you remember -- what were your classes like for the first few days? Then maybe the weekend thereafter, did you went out that weekend? What was your prerogative your first semester? Was it more or less to study, or were you more focused on the social aspect of college?

RH: I would like to think it was a balance of studying and being social. I've always been a very social person. You can probably tell from my upbringing. I've always wanted to get to know people and to meet people all the time. One of my main objectives was to get to know pretty much everyone on my floor. I was the 24:00one that was always knocking on people's doors and introducing myself, saying hello. The first person I was is one of my best friends that I have today. Two of them I still keep in contact with and when we get together even to this day it's like no time has ever passed. I met both of them while I was a freshman in college. I think, for me, the classes were pretty much the same as high school for that first year and for the first few days. Even though the first few days I was in them, it was different. It was a different experience, just because class sizes were bigger and you don't know anybody in your classroom, and you really have no idea what to expect when you first walk in there. I adapted fairly well and fairly quickly to those classes and so it was really nice to be able to -- I was taking a lot of core classes my first two years, but at the same time you 25:00still have electives that you just might show interest in and I can't remember exactly which classes I took my freshman year versus my senior year, but I do remember some classes that I just [unclear] as electives because I needed them. I ended up really loving them. One of them was a poetry class that I had taken. One of them was called, The Bible as Literature and that was a fascinating class. Another one was Geology. I didn't use any of those for my career path or anything like that. [They] were just really fascinating classes and I would probably take those all over again just because they were neat experiences.

EH: What kind of student were you then? It sounds like you were more on the studious side. Did you get relatively good grades your first couple of years of college?

RH: I did. I pretty much maintained them from high school. I was probably a B 26:00student if you were to average everything out for all of my five years of college. I had some classes that were more challenging than others. I had some that I aced fairly well. I think I was a -- I think my studies were really my focus, although if you ask anybody I went to school with, they would probably tell you I was more social than I was studious. I did fine. It didn't hinder my grades whatsoever.

EH: It sounds like the first couple of years, it was just kind of feeling out the UW Oshkosh environment and just really getting your [general education courses] out of the way. It looks like it wasn't until about two years into your college career in 1992, that you decided to immerse yourself in what it really 27:00meant to be a journalist, and that's when you started working at the Advance-Titan. How about -- describe -- what originally attracted you to the student publication?

RH: I think that carried over from my journalism experience in high school, because I enjoyed that so much. I really thought I wanted to try that out and I wanted to see if that was something that was similar, and if it was, then I knew I was going to love it.

EH: How did you go about discovering the Advance-Titan?

RH: Oh gosh! Wow! It was probably just me picking up a student newspaper from the commons, walking through just minding my own business. I picked up a newspaper and I realized, oh, this have this here, I should look into this. I'm sure there was something mentioned in one of my journalism classes at the time. 28:00I was taking the classes before I started at the A-T. I'm certain that's probably where it [panned?] out. I realized that this was something I could do and that I probably would enjoy. I looked into it and I can't remember -- I think it was my advisor at the time, who probably pointed me in the right direction and gave me the contact information on how I could get into writing for the newspaper. I don't exactly know how that occurred. I do remember I was Sports Editor there for three years or two and a half years. The A-T was in the basement of Radford Hall. I don't even know what Radford Hall is used for these days.

EH: Radford Hall is actually…I believe it's a dorm. I believe Radford is 29:00actually the Student Health Center. I would have to double-check, but I believe that's what it's used for now.

RH: The A-T was in the basement of Radford Hall and it was a very dark…

EH: I'm sorry. I have to stop you for a second. It says here that you worked from 1992 to 1993. It says on this sheet that -- you said you worked there for two and a half years. Does that mean you worked there from 1992 to 1994? It only says '92 to '93 on here.

RH: Do you have access to the archives at all?

EH: Yes.

RH: You could probably look there. I have all of my Advance-Titans from when I was editing there. Let me confirm the years for you. I can just look it up. I know it was '92 to '93 for sure.

EH: I just wanted to make sure because on the sheet it says '92 to '93 but… 30:00you know you saying two and half years, I want to say '92 to '94. I just ask that for accuracy purposes.

RH: I want it to be accurate, so let me confirm that for you, and we'll move forward from here.

EH: Okay! Sure!

RH: Okay, so Radford Hall was really, well it was a basement. When you think about a basement, what do you think of? No windows. Pretty isolated. Very quiet. It's very closed-in. That's pretty much what it was. I'm assuming we didn't know any different so we just -- we had a good time down there anyway. That was when, at the time, we had just introduced computers to the whole journalism 31:00department. We were working on Apple 386s. They were like the first Apple computers ever made.

EH: So, the big bricks.

RH: Yup! We were saving things on floppy disks and that was high tech back then. We were very excited to be the first generation of using these computers for actual creation of the newspaper. The thing was though, we would create the pages on the computer and create them -- I think we were using -- oh, my goodness! What were we using at the time?

EH: I was just going to ask what type of software you used.

RH: I think it was called Page Designer or Page Design. What was it called? You're really racking my brain on that one. It was very primitive software 32:00either way. We were using this very primitive software and you could lay out the pages on the computer, then you could print it off. But, what we had to do was print it and then we had to cut out each article and hand-lay it on a light table in order to get the page exactly how it would be when it gets printed. You couldn't have just printed right from the computer.

EH: Can you describe the basic layout of the office in the basement of Radford? Was it kind of small and enclosed?

RH: It was small and enclosed. It was open to everyone. We weren't cordoned off by cubicle walls or anything. It was all an open space. We each had a desk to work at. It was a small space. I would venture to guess it wasn't probably more than 200 square feet or 300 square feet. It really wasn't very big. We got 33:00everybody in there. We got the entire staff in there. We would come to staff meetings and get our work done. It worked.

EH: Talk a little more about that process. You worked on this light table and you said you had to hand-lay out the articles…

RH: Yeah. Okay. What we had to do was create the page on the Mac, in the software, and you could see it laid-out very nicely on the screen. However, we couldn't print it that way. We couldn't send it to the printer like you could today. What we had to do was print off the page in a light [unclear] and then we would have to cut out each article with an X-ACTO knife and I'm not kidding. We would cut out each article with an X-ACTO knife and then we would hand-lay it out on a specific type of page that laid on light table. The page was as big as 34:00a newspaper page would be. On that page would be basically [unclear] that would give you an idea of where each article should be laid-out. We would take each one, cut it out, lay it out there, and use rubber cement to attach it to the page. Once everything was laid-out properly, then those pages would actually be shipped over to the printing place and they would print them from that. However, many days long it would take to process, then we would get our newspapers in a shipment, then we would be able to disperse them from there. It was a very interesting process. We didn't know any different, obviously. So, things had just come a long, long way since working on light tables.

EH: It does sound like it was a very different environment because -- it sounds like it changed so much. I worked there for a couple of semesters and now the 35:00office is in the basement of [Reeve Memorial Union].

RH: Right. That's a nice facility, by the way.

EH: It's definitely changed quite a lot. Did you get the sports editor position right away when you applied to the Advance-Titan, or did you have to -- because now I know the way they do it is if they want a candidate, they have them write for a semester, then they will -- based on their experience with the student newspaper, then help them to pursue an editing position. Was that something you stumbled upon right away, or did you have to earn it?

RH: Yeah! Interestingly enough, I basically walked into the Advance-Titan and I just talked to the managing editor of it at the time, who was a peer of mine. I 36:00said I want to be Sports Editor. He said okay. That's pretty much it. I think that's how everyone got their positions. You just walked in and said, 'I want to do this,' and they said okay and we have it open, go right ahead.

EH: Was that a paid position?

RH: Yup. It was and I know it was payable per semester but I don't remember how much we got paid for that.

EH: Yeah. Because, I have a little background knowledge about this. I mean at least I know, as early as 2008 and 2009, a colleague of mine said he was getting paid around $250 a week, and I find that very interesting because when I worked there, it decreased down to all the way to around $45 per week; $500 a semester. I would assume that it would probably be around close to what my colleague was 37:00getting paid. What kind of advertising revenue did you guys have back when you worked there, if you can remember?

RH: Oh my gosh! I can't even remember that. I'm not even sure. I wouldn't even remember.

EH: What were some of the duties you had to carry out then as Sports Editor?

RH: As Sports Editor, I was attending pretty much every sporting event on campus, every weekend. If I wasn't studying and if I wasn't out partying with my friends, I was at the sporting event. I think that's probably one of the most significant moments, I guess you could say, in my career as the sports editor was, I was there covering our baseball team and this was when Jarrod Washburn was a player for our team. Jarrod Washburn J-A-R-R-O-D and Washburn as it sounds 38:00W-A-S-H-B-U-R-N -- he was a star baseball player at the time. After graduation, he was drafted, I think, by the Seattle Mariners right away. I think he was drafted right into, oh, let's see, I'm looking it up right now… Oh sorry! California Angels to begin with. He was drafted by the Angels in '98 and then moved down to Seattle Mariners in 2006, then ended his career with the Detroit Tigers. He was a professional baseball player that I covered while we were in college together. That was a pretty neat experience for me. If I was -- I mean, if there was a sporting event -- if there was a gymnastics meet, if there was a football game, if there was a baseball game, I was there. I was typically the one writing the story on what was going on. I also had a column I wrote every 39:00week, kind of as a fun little thing that I did. I believe, if I remember correctly, it was called, 'From the top of both poles' and it was basically me, as if I were standing on top of the golden poles just reminiscing or getting a perspective, a different perspective of just, you know, what kind of things were happening in the world of sports at the time. Some of it was campus related, and some of it was just national stories that were significant at the time.

EH: What was a time, maybe, during which you were Sports Editor, in the newsroom -- what was -- was there ever a time that you struggled?

RH: Yes. There were many nights that we stayed up all night long to get the newspaper to the printer. I remember many nights like that. That was probably 40:00the hardest part about being part of the Advance-Titan at the time was [that] we spent many sleepless nights down in the basement of Radford just trying to get the story information, or sometimes even just putting it all together -- sometimes it took a while. Sometimes you had to replace things. Sometimes, as you know, it is -- you'll have information about something you're covering, but then that information that you're covering changed, or it might [have been] incorrect. Then you found out there that there's new information. Back then, if we've already written a story and have pasted it onto our light table, we had to go back and to re-write, re-cut, then re-paste -- sometimes you had to move things around in order to make things fit like a puzzle. I would keep us up for very long hours. I remember many nights being there until about 2 in the morning or something, or even later, just trying to get things done and to the printer. 41:00That was probably the biggest challenge that I experienced. Another challenge, which wasn't necessarily a bad challenge, was because I was the only sports writer at the time -- there are only so many things I can attend at one time. When there are numerous events that are happening at one time, I had to pick and choose which ones I [thought] were the most important at the time, then I had to go there and somehow get information about other events from the coaches, from the players, and from anybody who attended. That was also a challenge.

EH: I was just going to ask you -- now all the editors are given the task of facilitating, you know, whatever amount of writers. You didn't have any writers to work with? It was just you, the editor?

RH: No!

EH: Wow! That's amazing.

RH: Yup! Just me. We had a small staff. I mean, there was a feature writer. We had -- if you look at the mast head -- probably -- there's maybe 15 to 20 people total. But, you're talking about people who were doing advertising and sales. 42:00You're talking about the managing editor. You're talking about feature editors, the sports person, the -- there was somebody for each little niche. Of course - back then, we had what was called The Gripe Line. I don't know if you ever heard of this…

EH: I don't think so, no.

RH: Let me tell you about The Gripe Line, because it was one of the most famous things we had back in the '90's. The Gripe Line was a phone number that anybody, at any time, could give a call to, and leave a message. They could gripe about anything and everything on the planet. If they had a problem with a teacher, they could call in and gripe about the teacher. If they had a problem with traffic, they would call in and leave a message about that. What we would do as the managers of the Advance-Titan is we would have a section in the newspaper about The Gripe Line, and we would post some of the funniest or some of the most interesting or some of the worst Gripe Line messages in there. That was probably 43:00one of the best things that people loved about the A-T is that we had The Gripe Line. It was published kind of like a police report, in a way. Everybody loved The Gripe Line. I think that -- I don't think we could even get to do that in today's world. I think that would just be a big problem, actually.

EH: The Gripe Line -- would to refer to that with capital letters? G-R-I-P-E? Or just a general gripe line?

RH: Nope. Just the general gripe line. G-R-I-P-E. It didn't stand for anything. It was just you called in and gave your gripe.

EH: It sounds like you were a very, very dedicated editor back then. The staff itself has reduced to, I would say, now there's a Sports Editor, there's Opinion, there's News, there's Campus Connections, which is the arts section, 44:00then there's the Editor 'N' Chief, then obviously the writers. It sounds like it has transitioned much since then. It adds a very interesting dynamic. When did you feel that your time with A-T was starting to wind down? You said you worked there two and a half years, but then you know, there's a good year and a half or so where you're weren't working at the A-T anymore. Why? Why did you decide to leave?

RH: Part of it was giving, or allowing more people to come in and take over and have the experiences that I did. I was nearing the end of my college career itself and I needed to focus a little bit more on the studies, because I was -- 45:00I had my probably biggest journalism classes toward the end of my career there. I was putting a lot more focus on the studies and on being able to graduate. I knew it was time for me to step back after so long. I think there was a general consensus that on campus, at the time, that you put in some time and then you move on. You're not a career editor at the A-T. You wouldn't stay there for your entire college career. You would be there for a little while, then you would move on and allow other students to come in and have the experiences that you did.

EH: While you were an editor, was there anything else that you decided to do outside -- like going out with your friends? Were there any other extra-curricular activities you attended to or was it really the Advance-Titan 46:00that consumed most of your time? I wouldn't be surprised if it did because it is a very time-consuming job.

RH: I would say that really consumed most of my time. I did for about a semester, I think I was involved with [Public Relations Student Society of America]. I was only really involved in that to see if that was the focus I wanted to take with my journalism degree. I didn't know if I wanted to go into news, if I wanted to go into [Public Relations], or if I wanted to go into advertising.

EH: I don't know if the journalism program itself -- did you have an emphasis back then?

RH: Yeah. My emphasis was news-reporting. We could put an emphasis into PR, advertising or news-writing. I stuck with news-writing.

EH: It's interesting to see how that's changed. Now it's visual, writing and 47:00editing, and then there's three more -- PR, advertising, then something else.

RH: Well, I think journalism as a whole has changed a lot over the course of the last 20 to 25 years. I mean, how many people do you know that actually read a newspaper? Not many, right? Most people read things online or on their phones. Things that have shifted into this digital age where we don't pick up anything hard anymore. There's no hard copies of things as much as their used to be. I think journalism in itself, because of that has changed dramatically. Now, it's more instantaneous. Now, your news-capturing is a little bit different. Whereas it would take us a week to write a story, now you have to turn it around in 24 hours or even less, because things are just faster. That's definitely the 48:00biggest change I have seen in journalism over the course of those years.

EH: Things started winding down for you at the A-T. Talk a little bit about your last few years of college at UW Oshkosh.

RH: My senior year was a pretty easy one. I only had three of four classes total. It was really just wrapping up my core classes and project objectives and focusing on getting that diploma. It was a fairly easy year as far as classes were concerned. I had a few of my friends -- a few of my friends had graduated prior to me. I was a five-year student and they were four-year students. I didn't see my friends quite as often, so I had the time to put into my studies. I was really -- I think my feeling about my senior year was -- I was happy to be 49:00done, but I was really afraid about going into the real world because I didn't know what to expect. I mean, you're at age -- I mean what am I? Age 21 or 22 years old? I was on my own basically making my own decisions, trying to find a job, and my advisor at the time was Peggy Davidson. She helped me figure out a lot of things throughout my college years. She was the one that helped me find job opportunities out of college so that, you know, once I actually did graduate, I had something to do and I had somewhere to go. I did pick up -- we didn't talk about this -- but I did pick up internships throughout my last two or three years of college as well. I had interned -- my first internship was for Aid Association for Lutherans in Appleton, Wisconsin, in an office.

EH: You want to spell that for me?

RH: A-I-D Association for Lutherans. That's in Appleton. The acronym is AAL. 50:00That's how we knew it. I interned there as what they called an associate editor at the time, I think it was. My job there was based out of quarterly magazines, and they put out newsletters, and they put out several different smaller publications to their core clientele and to their internal candidates, or internal employees. My job was basically to write stories for some of these magazines and to edit copy that came through. That was a one-year internship and that was really kind of wonderful actually. I'm trying to remember what year I 51:00was there. I want to say it was '93. It might have been '93 to '94 that I was there. Oh boy! I will have to confirm that for you as well. I'm writing this down. I gotta confirm these years. I also, during the summer of '94, I was just an intern reporter for the Beaver Dam, Wisconsin Daily Citizen.

EH: Oh! That's where I'm from! That's my hometown!

RH: Oh! No kidding. Yeah, that's where I interned.

EH: Yeah, because '94 -- that was probably around when I was born then, maybe a few months -- when my mom was still…

RH: When you say that you make me feel [old?] …

EH: That's so cool how…

RH: I was interning there -- let's see -- I think those were the two internships 52:00I had there while I was still in college. The one in Appleton obviously, that was a whole year so that one was probably more significant, then the time at Beaver Dam, the Citizen, was the summer. Frankly, all of my internships were paid. That was nice. I learned some very valuable experience from all three of those -- or both of those.

EH: What were some things you took away from those internships, now that we're on that topic?

RH: The internship in Appleton really taught me about the corporate world because even though it was a privately owned company. It was a corporation. It was a very large company and it taught me really, what Corporate America looked like because I had no idea at the time. It gave me that view into Corporate America and it gave me an idea of what to really to expect after college. That 53:00was a really kind of fun job. I think I wasn't a full-time intern. I think I was ¾ times. I was there from Monday through Thursday or something like that. I think that job -- it gave me a better idea of how newspapers really looked like in America. This was a daily newspaper. It was a lot faster deadlines. Everything was a lot faster than working at the Advance-Titan because that was a weekly paper. It was a unique experience for me because it was really the thing that enlightened me in the journalism world. It was the place where I had -- it 54:00was tangible to me. It was some place that I could go to and get my hands dirty in writing and in how things worked. I sometimes had late hours there too because the news never stops. You sometimes have to go out when you expect to go home. You have to go out and cover a story instead. It gave me a glimpse into that as well.

EH: You graduated in '95.

RH: Yeah!

EH: How did you feel when you graduated?

RH: I think I said before that I was excited and scared at the same time. I was excited because now I could go out into the real world and I could really go get a job and I could really use the skills that I have learned all these years. Obviously, scared too because I had no idea what to expect. I mean, a young person looking at the world with kind of rose-colored glasses and -- I was 55:00hopeful, but definitely scared. Scared of the unknown I think more than anything. I did -- I don't recall exactly how I found my first journalism job. I don't remember if it was through my advisor or if it was just through a job listing, but I had ended up getting a job right out of college working for the Lake Country Reporter, which was just south of Heartland. I moved there after college; went back home essentially. I worked there for a year as a reporter and did a lot of feature writing and did -- they had special insert projects that they did every quarter and so I worked on those as well. I got to know quite a few people that are still actually working there. The managing editor that was there when I was a newbie, is still managing editor today. That tells you that 56:00some people just have the longevity in the newspaper world. Even though it's changed, they're adaptable just the same.

EH: How do you think UWO prepared you for post-college? What are some of the life lessons you took away from your experience with UW Oshkosh and the Advance-Titan?

RH: Well, I think my advisor was very knowledgeable. She was the one that really -- she really helped me figure out where I wanted to be [and] how I wanted to do it. I think -- gosh! -- Really through all of the experiences that I had, whether it was on the Advance-Titan, or whether it was in a journalism class, or 57:00whether it was in a meeting with my advisor -- all of those things really prepared me for the career I had outside of that. I think all the class work that I took gave me the knowledge that I need for understanding what libel was, and understanding what slander was, and understanding that there are a lot of really legal issues concerning your articles. You have to be very cautious about what you're asking, and how you're asking it, and what kinds of things can and can't be published. I learned a lot about that in my class work, and I took classes like Law of Mass Communication. That was probably the most challenging class I took. I struggled very hard in that class. I did not do very well 58:00grade-wise, but it was probably one of the most important classes that I took. It really gave me an inkling about things that that probably would have never known about otherwise. Like I said, things like libel and slander, and what the law says about what kind of things are open record, and what you can take from a hearing, and what you can and cannot publish from a government meeting. It was things like that that I learned in that class, particularly. My professor of that class was Gary Coll C-O-L-L. He has since retired I believe, but he was a great teacher. Like I said, it was a very challenging class for me. He took the time and sat with me one-on-one many times throughout that class because it was 59:00very hard and very difficult class for me. I think at the same time, all of those things put together really prepared me to be open-minded about going into journalism and really -- I felt prepared in a way that I think if I wouldn't have taken those classes, and I wouldn't have talked to my advisors, I probably wouldn't have done very well as a journalist, as a reporter. I think I felt prepared enough to go out and get a job, and felt confident in my skillset at that time.

EH: Were there any major political and cultural issues that occurred during your college years that really kind of fostered a new view about life, or a new life perspective, or anything that really impacted your performance at the A-T? Was 60:00there anything significant that happened? It was the early '90's, and we're looking at a Clinton administration and the biggest thing I can really think of is the Columbine shooting.

RH: That was actually after my time as a college student.

EH: It doesn't sound like, then, in that timeframe, there wasn't anything super major that occurred.

RH: Not nationally, no. I think the biggest thing that we covered [unclear] for the A-T was there were two separate incidents where there were riots on campus. One of which, I was not really involved in but indirectly apart of because I had been at the [Polk Library] studying. Not doing anything other than studying, promise. I was studying at the library that night, and I heard a ruckus outside 61:00and I was curious. Everybody else was. A few of us had gone outside to see what was going on and we had been approached by police, and the police came up to us -- these were Oshkosh police officers, not the campus police -- but the Oshkosh police officers came up to us and said, 'Where are you headed?' We said, 'We're going back to our dorm.' They said okay and they wanted to make sure we got there safely so they helped us walk across the street. We were asking questions as far as what was happening. What was going on? Why? What's all the hub-bub about? The officer was explaining to us that there had been an altercation at a party of some sort. It had moved outside and people just -- it just got completely out of hand. A riot ensued. Back then, the riots, to be honest, I couldn't even tell you what it was about because there are many speculations about what started the riots. It was headline news for us. My journalism radar 62:00goes up and then, 'We need to know what's going on.' I did go back to my dorm, but I did end up leaving again, trying to find out what was happening. Trying not to obviously be in the may-lay because it was dangerous. People in downtown Oshkosh started luting stores. They were destroying property. They were starting fires in places they shouldn't start fires. I mean, it was ridiculous. The next day, of course, the staff of the A-T was really excited because we had this [unclear] story going on. We never saw anything like this before. This was something brand new to us. This was something somewhat new to the campus. It hadn't really happened before. We recovered whatever we could cover. We pulled as much information about it as we could. We talked to students who were involved. A lot of students were arrested for either luting, or vandalism, or 63:00disorderly conduct. That was probably the biggest event that we covered when we were on staff there. I can't remember what year that was exactly. Again, I can look that up. It's on the front page of one of my A-Ts. I'll look up the year of that as well. I want to say that might have been '93.

EH: That's what I suspected. Based on everything that we have said here, what advice do you think you would give to journalism students today, and maybe future journalism students? Based on your experience with what you just said, and your experiences at UW Oshkosh.

RH: There's probably a lot of advice I could offer. Probably the best I could say is to follow your gut because there are so many news outlets out there, 64:00right now, that are sensationalizing stories and that are really just giving false information. I think if you're going to be a journalist, and you what to be a reputable journalist, then you need to follow your gut. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't right. If you're doing a story on something that is giving you a funny feeling, then you probably shouldn't pursue it. I think following your instincts is probably wise in this industry. It always has been. The other thing too, is if you follow your instinct on things, you can get a pretty good story.

EH: If you remain persistent. I can totally relate where you said you guys had 65:00to cover the campus riots. I was News Editor for the A-T, while, Governor Walker -- Walker is in office and he proposes this $300-million-dollar budget, and that basically -- the best way I can describe it is that our newsroom was bustling with activity. There were political debates going on. A lot of things hung in the balances, like were classes going to be cut? For an entire semester it was article after article, about 'What's Walker going to do next?' I can completely relate to that. I wasn't necessarily a riot, but the people were definitely angry over the decision that was made. Rebecca, I think this is a good place to wrap up. I really thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I emailed you 66:00that Deed of Gift and everything. I think we can end that recording there.

RH: Okay. I will confirm those days for you for sure. I'm just looking up really quick online -- there was a riot that happened in April of 1995. It's actually YouTube footage of it. I don't know how that's there. It's on YouTube! It happened on April 28, 1995. I was still on campus there but not working at the A-T. There was one prior to that too that was covered and I'm still looking for that one. If you want, you can check out the YouTube video.

EH: I probably will just to augment everything. Once again, Rebecca, thank you 67:00for speaking with me. The time is 7:37 p.m. on November 30, 2016. This is where we end.

RH: Fantastic!

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