When Lynn died, one of the first things I thought of was her office, with its eclectic and distinctive decorations: the stained glass horses in the window, the cluster of framed photos on the filing cabinets and shelves, the beaded mobile. I thought of dropping by, often unannounced, knocking on the door, and being welcomed in by a warm hello as Lynn dropped whatever it was she was doing — and she was always doing something.
No matter how busy she was, she’d wave me in and I’d sit on the couch she had against the wall and we’d talk. I would ask for advice, vent, or talk about life. And when things got rough for me in the spring semester of 2015, sometimes I’d have a good cry, too, and Lynn would supply much-needed, comforting words, paired alongside stern but gentle reminders that everything would work out. I always walked out of her office feeling better than I had when I walked in.
Ifirst met Lynn Nystrom around the time I interviewed for the editor-in-chief position at the Collegiate Times. She was intimidating, and I distinctly remember being nervous that she was at my interview because I knew she’d be able to see through any lame responses I gave.
When I landed the editor job, I began to see her on a weekly basis. I soon understood that I wasn’t the only one who was intimidated by Lynn. She came to our business meetings fully prepared, never missing a beat. She knew what she was doing, and she wanted to make sure we did, too. Lynn paid attention to what was said and done and asked questions — good questions. She didn’t take it easy on us students because she knew we were capable. Lynn treated us like adults, and in turn, I felt more confident in the job I was doing.
In February 2015, I attended the first board meeting of the Educational Media Company at Virginia Tech, the company that owns the Collegiate Times. What I heard there would set the tone for the rest of my tenure, and Lynn advised me to write about what was going on at the company — as journalists, we owed it to our readers. It was this story that would eventually lead to my overnight termination.