A Bug In Your Ear… SPECIAL: A Farewell to Tammy Moore; Goodbye from Tammy; a letter from Debbie Jabbour, and comments from the Voice writers.

January 22, 2003

A Bug In Your Ear… SPECIAL: A Farewell to Tammy Moore; Goodbye from Tammy; a letter from Debbie Jabbour, and comments from the Voice writers.

Hello, everybody!

I hope you are all having a wonderful and productive new year so far! I have had a wonderful start to the year, and have found a job in my field – after 10 years and two degrees I am finally an employed junior high English teacher. Okay, okay, not the goal of everyone, but I am having an absolute blast and loving it!

Now, however, it has become time to let go of The Voice and let someone else run with it, dream and expand to continue to let our student paper grow. Are you that person? You can find out more details on the position at http://www.ausu.org/index.php

Now, for the last of my motivational speeches from the Bug – I want to thank AUSU for all of their support and financial resources to the Voice. The paper is one the biggest gifts they could possibly provide to a distance University. It helps you all stay in touch and read and experience each others lives, concerns, learning, and scholastic successes.

I would also like to thank all of the writers – it was far more their input than mine that got the weekly version of the Voice off the ground and running. Without the faithful dedication of our contributors, we would have had nothing to share. Without their inspired and creative energy, it wouldn’t have been wonderful and exciting either!

To the readers, stay tuned, as more growth and interesting developments are sure to come, as more vision and different experience and creative input are poured into the Voice from the next Editor.

And one last time, I would like to encourage you all to write and contribute – this is your student paper, your communication, your voice. You are the ones who create this publication, and without the support of you, there is nothing to show. Submit your thoughts, experiences, goals, opinions, educational rantings and ideas on life. We are your peers, your fellow students, and the people who range from around the world – share with us, get involved – oh, yeah, and get paid!

Best wishes to you all!

Tammy Moore
Out-going Editor of The Voice

Farewell to Tammy Moore,
by Debbie Jabbour
with comments from the Voice writers.

I first met Tammy Moore at Convocation 2001, a few months after I had joined Council. I had communicated with her via email previously, mentioning that I might write something for the Voice. Her first words on meeting me were, “so when do I get your first article?” I wrote my first one the next day, and have not stopped since!

Tammy became Voice editor shortly after the paper went permanently online in January 2001. Not only was she faced with the challenge of coping with a new format, she also had to publish a weekly edition rather than the previous quarterly issues that had been mailed out in hard copy form. Although Council made the transition with good intentions, and as a cost-saving method, they did not adequately communicate this to students. The move to an online edition went almost completely unnoticed – students just stopped receiving the Voice in the mail, without knowing where it had disappeared to! Council itself was in bad shape at the time, with only three people remaining after a period of extended conflict, and relationships with the university had deteriorated. Councillors and university staff had provided much of the content for the hard copy Voice, so the online edition started out rather bereft of writers and resources, with virtually no readership. It was quite a challenge!

I’m not sure Tammy realized just what she was getting into, but she eagerly tackled the job. The first few months were a real struggle. Tammy advertised for writers, but often received only substandard submissions, or none at all. Some items required extensive editing, and Tammy patiently re-wrote and cleaned these articles up so they could be worthy of publication. A few good writers came along and provided a core to build on – but it was a weekly challenge getting enough quality content to publish.

The hard copy Voice had managed to generate some revenue through advertising, and it also charged the University for any articles they submitted (which led to some problems with the university). Council initially believed that the online Voice could also generate revenue, and they decided to try creating the Voice as a separate entity, autonomous and completely independent from AUSU. To that end, in July 2001, they created a “Voice Board” that was given the task of running the Voice.

Unfortunately poor communication led to the demise of this Board, and AUSU Council took responsibility for the Voice once again in September, 2001. As editor, Tammy was put in a very difficult position throughout the whole process. She had wonderful ideas for the Voice, but was being hampered from carrying them out. It was a difficult time – an outgoing Council member was giving Tammy inaccurate and confusing information, she had to deal with an uncooperative webmaster and an incident of plagiarism by a trusted writer, and she had several disgruntled ex-Council members sending her harassing emails and demanding that she print their articles. At times she was no doubt very discouraged – but she stuck it out and continued to work hard to improve the quality of the paper while maintaining its autonomy.

During this time, some of the confusion and poor communication spilled over, causing a misunderstanding between Tammy and myself, and I sent her an email advising that I would not be writing anymore. Tammy immediately called me, and after we talked for an hour and shed a few tears together – I apologized for jumping to conclusions and we managed to forge a strong bond of friendship that has seen us through major transitions in this past year.

And what a year of transition it has been! In December 2001, Council executive met with Tammy and did some Voice planning. We thought we had sorted things out and were ready to move ahead and implement some of Tammy’s ideas and plans for the paper, but our troubles weren’t over. At the beginning of 2002, the webmaster departed abruptly, and it took several weeks before we could sort out the mess left behind. For the first time the Voice went unpublished, a situation that was extremely frustrating to writers, Councillors and readers; but to Tammy most of all. Finally we managed to get the Voice back online – but in a less than ideal pdf format.

Once again, Tammy was faced with a new start. Readership had been slowly building up, but it had stagnated again when the Voice stopped publishing and we lost our subscriber list. Many disliked or had problems with pdf, and writer submissions slowed to a trickle. Fortunately Tammy had a core of loyal writers who continued to submit articles every week – but it was discouraging to everyone, starting all over again and feeling that no one was even reading the Voice anymore.

In April of 2002, Tammy came to Council with a proposal to completely restructure the Voice. In her words, she wanted to “make the Voice pretty.” We took her proposal, struck a planning committee, obtained several quotes and went to work. Many Voice readers may not be aware that Tammy Moore is a talented artist who graduated this last year with a teaching degree, majoring in art. Tammy provided artwork; her concept for the front page of the Voice; and humbly accepted Council’s feedback and criticism as we picked it apart. Although most of us loved the idea, some didn’t, and Tammy patiently made adjustments until we had something the majority were satisfied with.

Finally, in July 2002, we proudly launched the online version of the Voice that Tammy had been envisioning and working toward for almost a year and a half! We were thrilled to be moving forward, to have such a great-looking paper. It wasn’t long before new writers started to be attracted to the paper, and all kinds of new features were added to make the content more valuable to readers. Tammy began the project of putting the archives back online, and in October presented a budget to Council with plans to improve the Voice even further. During the difficult months, we had come to realize what an important resource the Voice was to AUSU, and Tammy’s proposal reflected this importance. Most of us on Council had also come to the conclusion that an online newspaper was not going to be self-sustaining, but that as one of our most important student resources we needed to give it our wholehearted support. We eagerly looked forward to implementing more of Tammy’s ideas and seeing the Voice continue to change and grow.

In December I received an email from Tammy that was very disappointing to me, yet exciting at the same time. She advised me that she had been unexpectedly hired to teach full time, and would no longer be able to continue as Voice editor. I was thrilled for Tammy, since I knew how much she wanted to teach. I was disappointed, however, that we would be losing her as editor. In an effort to not lose her completely, a Council member volunteered to help upload the Voice for a while, in the hopes that with some support Tammy might be able to continue in her role as editor. At the beginning of the new year, however, Tammy re-confirmed that, even with help, she could not continue, since her new job required all her focus and energy. We were forced to begin arrangements to search for a new Voice Editor.

We have been through so much together, and Tammy has made an indelible mark on the Voice. She saw it through such turmoil – through several significant transitions, keeping it alive in spite of problems, rebuilding from scratch not just once, but twice. Tammy has always treated the Voice as a project very close to her heart, always giving extra without expecting return. She has worked hard to develop and maintain an excellent working relationship with AUSU Council, attending meetings and events and joining us for casual get-togethers. When it comes to her writers, Tammy is always encouraging and positive, ready to praise them or offer tactful constructive criticism where necessary.

Tammy has given the Voice a strong foundation to build on for the future. On December 18, 2002, AUSU Council passed the following resolution:

MOTION 121802.05
BIRT Council formally thanks Tammy Moore for her work and dedication to the Voice.
S. Barg/N. Palamarchuk – CARRIED (Unanimously)

Tammy’s contribution to the Voice will never be forgotten. I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with her during these last two years, and I am honoured to call her my friend. Although she has moved on to a new career that she loves, I know she leaves behind a paper she loves, and many dear friends. A thousand thank you’s, Tammy, for everything you’ve done for the Voice. May your future path continue to take you ever closer to realizing every one of your dreams. Good luck and farewell!

After writing this article I asked several of the regular Voice writers to add their comments about Tammy, and being writers, they have done so most eloquently. Here’s what they have to say:

I really enjoyed working with Tammy as the Editor for the Voice. I am not able to submit articles every week (although my New Year’s resolution is to submit more of them) and she was very supportive of the articles that I wrote and was very flexible about my schedule. I think that writing for The Voice is part of the AU experience and she contributed to my experience in a positive and supportive way.
… Teresa Neuman

Tammy put her heart, soul, and an extraordinary amount of her time into making the Voice a great paper to read and to look at. Her presence in the paper will be felt for a long time to come, and I will miss having an excuse to chat with her once a week. She has been a good friend, and a tireless editor. I wish her the best of luck with her very challenging new job! I’m certain that she will be one of those great, motivating teachers that students remember fondly for the rest of their lives.
… Tamra Ross Low

Tammy was more than an editor, she was a wonderful friend. If I had a question she was always on it. I take the blame –for our losing her. I “fixed” her wealth corner at home with my feng shui suggestions–she did as I suggested, got her dream job and left us. I miss her already.
… Laura Seymour

In an industry where editors are known to have more colourful personalities than actors, I found Tammy to be very professional and knowledgeable. She always gave me encouraging praise and dealt with every issue in a timely fashion. Tammy was a true pleasure to work with and I believe has earned a star on the editor’s walk of fame! Tammy’s contributions to The Voice could never be accurately measured and she will most definitely be missed for a long time to come. Congratulations to Tammy on finding the teaching job of her dreams and best of luck to her in the future.
… Diane L.M. Cook

I’m personally very sorry to see Tammy leaving the Voice. In addition to exhibiting a very high degree of professionalism, she has always shown great dedication to the published representation of our student body and to “her writers”. In the nearly three years that I have known and interacted with Tammy, she has always been happy and bubbly which I have found to be extremely inspirational as a writer and as a friend. Although she is leaving the Voice, I hope she remains a part of my life by keeping in touch through correspondence. As much as I feel her departure is a great loss to our publication and the students at AU as a whole, I am happy in the knowledge that she is doing what she desires and has worked toward academically for years. Thanks for the motivation Tammy and I wish you well in your new and exciting career.
… Wayne E. Benedict

I’m really happy to get this chance to thank Tammy for her inspirational attitude towards her writers, and her dedication to the Voice. Tam – you were the best editor an aspiring writer could hope for. Your encouragement over the last year gave me the confidence to submit to other publications, and to have faith in what I love – writing. While I’m truly thrilled for you as you embark on this new and exciting path, I’m going to miss you terribly. Best of luck – you’ll do great!
… Zoe Dalton

As the editor of the Voice, Tammy was wonderful for how she always encouraged each writer to find and use their own voice. While we may be sad that she’s leaving us, we can take joy in knowing that she will now be encouraging our young students and the next generation of Voice writers.
… Karl Low