Compiled by Sara Gregory
More than 50 years of combined DTH experience and love left The Daily Tar Heel in September with the departures of Stacy Wynn and Lisa Reichle, part of the newspaper’s ongoing financial problems. Alumni wrote in to say what Stacy and Lisa meant to them:
I think what makes an institution great are the parts of it that endure over time. For the DTH, because all of us are only there for a short time in a rotating cast of characters, most of those things that endure are intangible — like the camaraderie, the energy, or the high standards we hold our work to. Stacy and Lisa were our tangible, living, breathing, loving, laughing links to that enduring spirit of what made us all love the place. The intangibles will all still be there for future generations of DTHers, but those who pass through there from this point on will be robbed of the chance to feel the institution’s human soul. Love you guys!
Staceman and I spent many a dark night together. He would be putting the paper to bed. I would be manually posting it on the website. He was always a steady rock when I was freaking out or tired. If I was ever feeling down, I could always hug his back and sometimes steal his glasses and he would make me laugh with that gravelly laugh of his.
Lisa was the mama bear of the office. She looked out for us when we weren’t even looking out for ourselves. Most of my memories of Lisa consist of beer and loaded cheese fries at Linda’s.
I once fucked up on a special section – the Exam Survival Guide specifically – and Stace had to finish filling it with something like 5 to 10 crossword puzzles. Placing crossword puzzles on the page is extremely tedious, you have to format and readjust each part of the puzzle. He saved my ass and I am still grateful. I asked Lisa what I could do to offer both an apology and a thanks, and at her suggestion I bought him some bags of Lays Potato Chips and he graciously accepted the peace offering.
On the same special section, I had originally planned with graphics to have a big flow chart of basically how to best procrastinate on studying. It was meant for a single blank page in the middle of the section — instead through some mix-up we ended up with an unexpected double truck. I was freaking out, Kevin the design editor was freaking out, and Stace was just like: Fill it pictures and say “here are all the things you could be doing instead of studying.” So Photo quickly found stock images of people playing frisbee, hanging out in the quad, etc., and it actually turned out really well. Stace just has always had this habit of saving our collective asses.
Lisa has always been there as a voice of encouragement. Her office was a refuge on bad days. Her door was always open. She gave us M&Ms and love. She told me I was a good reporter before I believed it. She told me I’d make a great editor when I was just coming around to the idea and encouraged me to apply. And she’s kept in touch and continued to offer support and love as I’ve moved on to new steps in my career. She’s been the connecting presence that creates continuity between the many generations of DTHers. She could moonlight as a talent agency, placing the right DTH alums in the right news industry jobs. Lisa helped me feel part of the Daily Tar Heel family, and without her, my student experience would have still been good, but not nearly as welcoming and fun.
In a DTH profile from a few years back, Stacy said, ‘I think I am just the person who is able to say, ‘I remember when…’” Besides running such a tight production ship for so long, he provided each year’s incoming student staffers with a vital knowledge resource and live link to recent DTH-related history. So did Lisa, who gave those staffers a particularly warm-soul example of someone who started out like them and then chose to help push the paper onward in other capacities. They were the ones who did the most to bridge the DTH’s pure-print past to its increasingly online present. Their personalities and experience certainly enriched my time with the paper.
A friend of mine — who was unaffiliated with the Daily Tar Heel — was outside on campus very early one morning, around 4 a.m., still awake thanks to some paper or midterm. He was standing outside Ehringhaus when a man with a ponytail and round glasses appeared, filled a nearby DTH box with papers, handed him one without saying a word and walked away.
My friend retold the story in bewildered awe, marveling at the man who appeared so suddenly with so many newspapers and disappeared just as quickly, when no one else was around. Magic.
That man, of course, was Stace. And the story always struck me as quintessentially Staceman: working efficiently and stopping for nothing, armed with newspapers and the conviction that everyone should read them. And, as he did every early morning, always practicing a little bit of magic.
For Lisa, I always loved what she was quoted as saying in the 100th anniversary DTH issue: “It’s a page, it’s a paper, it’s a miracle.”
It’s impossible to imagine The Daily Tar Heel without Lisa and the Staceman. Honestly, I’m not even sure how the paper will function. I had my share of battles with Stacy on deadline — I can remember one particularly colorful exchange of F-bombs between Stacy and me after I screwed something up right before we were supposed to send SportSaturday to press, and I then proceeded to throw a temper tantrum about it. (But naturally Stacy fixed it, because Stacy could fix anything! Or so it seemed to us mere mortals.) How this guy managed to put up with self-important, petulant, know-it-all college journalists year after year after year is one of life’s great mysteries. I think we were all in awe of Stacy’s superhuman stamina anytime we took a step back to think about it. How in the hell did this guy put out a paper every night, then manage to get all those papers delivered to boxes all over town in the damn middle of the night, every night? Stacy, you are a marvel, and a national treasure.
And Lisa, I always thought you were the heart and soul of the DTH in many ways. I don’t know if I’ve ever met a kinder, more caring person in my whole life. You were always there for anybody who needed a compassionate shoulder to lean on, and you became such an important part in the lives of so many people. I think those of us on the editorial side sometimes took for granted all the hard work you did over on the business side — the business of the newspaper was always way over my head, I know that much. But you kept that thing humming along for all those years, and every one of us who grew up at the DTH and owe our careers to the DTH — we owe you a huge, heartfelt thank you.
One of my first memories of working at The Daily Tar Heel was when I was editing with Elise Young and heard from the side Staceman yell ‘ahhh shit’ as he was working on something with layout. It scared the hell out of me but over time I learned to love Staceman. He is a fixture to the DTH and is as much a part of it as the office itself. You hear him tell war stories from his past life and you realize he is our link to the past.
If Stace is your old hippie Uncle, Lisa is the DTH is your cool aunt who lets you stay up late and lets you eat ice cream for dinner. As a teetotaler I never partook in drinking with her but she was always someone who knew how to have a good time or from whom you could ask for advice. She has DTH ink in her veins and I love her for that and so much more.
By virtue of it being a college paper, the DTH loses institutional memory but Stace and Lisa — along with Erica — maintain it. Future DTH students won’t know what they could have enjoyed with them gone. But I wish them all the best, and thanks for everything.
When you’re editor of the Daily Tar Heel, there are deadlines and demands and challenges, of course. But there’s also invention — the knowledge that you are doing something that you, personally, have never done before, and you have to be confident, and you have to act quickly, because upwards of 200 student journalists are running on your word. It can be an unstable situation — but you know that for you, and for generations of DTHers before you, two people have seen it all before. Staceman and Lisa cheer you on in subtle ways, and their very presence (and lack of shock at whatever crisis has ensued) empower you to do your job with the knowledge that everything is going to be okay eventually. (As long as you make deadline.)
And yes, Lisa, sometimes I had M&Ms for dinner. The peanut ones. They have protein. I am not ashamed.
My very last week as editor, two important things happened. I went out to lunch with Lisa and Erica and Kevin on Franklin Street, and I realized that while my experience was over, they would always know a part of me that nobody else would understand quite as well as they did. And later that week, as I was leaving the office for class, Staceman gave me a simple compliment — he said that morale had been great that year. I cherish hearing those words. It’s the best professional compliment I have ever gotten. Because, well, consider the source.
I remember once sitting on the floor of the women’s bathroom in the Union across from the DTH offices crying to myself when I realized this was not making me feel better and went to find Lisa instead. She prescribed M&Ms in the short term and took me out for cheese fries later that week. After an unrelated incident she informed me that an altercation with a coworker reminded her of an episode of Gossip Girls. I had never seen the show but understood it to be about bratty teenagers.
Lisa ministered to generations of DTHers with kindness, junk food, and an impressive pop culture savvy. All she ever asked of these students in return is that they love The Daily Tar Heel and be nice to the front desk staff. The DTH means different things to different people, but I have always thought of Lisa as the repository of all of that collective goodwill and in many ways a link between us. Her wisdom came from watching so many of us cycle to through similar growing pains. (And also from TV.) Her compassion was in her ability to pretend as though they were all new when they were new to each of us.
Lisa was my away-from-home mom for four years. Her M&Ms were treasured sustenance, but it was her heartfelt advice that really kept me going. She once called me “DTH Royalty,” and it was the best compliment I have ever received. Still don’t feel like I truly deserved it, but I know that I’d never have been able to make the journey from freshman reporter to desk editor without her love and encouragement. When I started teaching in the area and I was able to bring my students to tour the DTH, I was so happy knowing that Lisa would be there to greet them. Much love, always — you will forever define the DTH for me.
Staceman WAS backshop for me. I felt like a true part of the team when he was handing me Sports Saturdays to distribute on game days — wouldn’t have pulled that gig for any other person. His wealth of knowledge, patience, and dedication to craft are truly unparalleled. The DTH will be forever in his debt.
A swig of bourbon, a hearty congrats for finishing another week, and a reminder to cherish the days ahead. So went many Friday afternoons with Lisa, who so deftly managed to be both a comforting wisdom-imparter and an unparalleled drinking buddy. Lisa, thank you for always keeping things in perspective and helping us enjoy the finer things in life, from killer cocktails to the best live music in town.
Staceman can only be described as a savior. Given how often he caught our headline typos and reminded us to please (for the love of God) send page 3, I honestly can’t imagine a single issue of the DTH ever making it to print without him. I’ll always remember the conversations we had between edits each evening about the incompetence of public officials and the triumphs of the UNC women’s basketball team. Stacy, thank you for your endless patience and for teaching us what it truly means to love Chapel Hill.
Without the two of you, the DTH has a giant hole in its heart. But thanks to you both, it also has the courage and strength to persevere.
I will never, ever forget Lisa comforting me with both scotch and words of encouragement my senior year as ReeseNews slowly ate away at my soul. I’m not sure I would have made it through that year without her. Staceman taught me the importance of letting your work speak for you. It always meant a lot to me that they cared about us lowly college kids, both personally and professionally, and they showed me that those two aspects of your lives can and sometimes should be connected.
Because Lisa is such a connoisseur, it’s tempting for me to first remember her culinary influences on me: She introduced me to my favorite speakeasy, my favorite hamburger and, most importantly, my favorite vodka.
But when I think about what she means to me, I remember a foggy February morning when she drove me to the Durham bus station. No one else could, or was willing, to do it. But when I asked Lisa, she had only two questions: what time and where. Sure enough, she showed up bright and early and ferried me dutifully to my early bus.
I know it’s mundane. And it’s not among my most precious Lisa memories. But it does remind me of why she is so special: her inexplicable devotion to us stupid college kids, and to what she saw in us.
Without Stacy and Lisa, we would not have had a paper to put on the racks every morning. They took the words and pictures of a bunch of college students and provided the foundation that allowed us to be published in such a professional manner. Thank you Stacy and Lisa for supporting the journalistic dreams of hundreds of students like me.
Stuff could be hard at the Daily Tar Heel, especially as an assistant desk editor my second semester on staff, and Lisa and Staceman made it easy to feel like I could figure myself out, eventually. They knew the paper’s history, shared memories and special moments at good points, and, of course, always had M&Ms out when I needed a blood sugar pick up.
My experience at the Daily Tar Heel is entirely entwined with both of their presence there as a constant force, and I have a hard time imagining that office without them.
For our years at Carolina, the DTH was our home. We absolutely adored working for the DTH, learning skills (interpersonal, editorial, and writing) that have served us well professionally, long after leaving the newspaper industry. We met an amazing group of people — folks who mentored us, who worked long nights with us, and who, to this day, are some of our best and closest friends in this world. We are who we are because of the DTH and the people who worked there.
Lisa and Stacy embody the best of the DTH, and the students who worked there during their decades-long tenures are better people for having worked so closely with them. The DTH simply won’t be the same. Lisa and Stacy selflessly dedicated themselves to the DTH for decades, always going above and beyond, working whatever hours were needed, providing steady guidance to college kids trying to find their way, doing what was best for the DTH. We are grateful for their many years of service to the Carolina community, and are very blessed to have had the opportunity to work so closely with them.
Dan and Stephanie Schwind