The arrival of October means the official change in seasons. Fall has come, despite the summer weather that’s trying so hard to hold on. We, here at The NewEnglander, have changed just like certain aspects of the very campus we call home. The arrival of our fall 2017 semester meant a changing of the guard for us. Our past editor-in-chief, Alyssa Guinn, appointed me as her most likely successor; we were going to lose several key staff members to graduation and the great beyond that is life after college.
It was nerve wracking, to be blatantly honest. I accepted the position with doubt in myself. I began racking my head for suitable staff members months in advance and reached out. If you were to tell me two or three years ago that I would be in charge of the college newspaper, I would have laughed. My level of confidence then was not the greatest. Though Alyssa taught me mostly everything she knew and left some things to figure out on my own before she left, I’m hoping I can make an impact on this newspaper, our staff, and our campus, just like she did during her time here.
Our launch of the website last semester was bittersweet. It was a tough for us, and now, right now, with this staff, we are embracing the biggest change we’ve made: going digital. We still had the kinks to work out structurally, usernames to create and articles to translate on the screen just as attractively as they would be on the printed page. Producing and designing content for two different mediums has its drawbacks, so we made the decision to cut back on print editions. However, we will be doing special print editions a few times an academic year. It’s how we will celebrate The NewEnglander’s roots from here on out.
The next major change I faced as editor-in-chief after figuring out the website was being tasked with creating a print newspaper from scratch. The difference between that and supplying the website with content is huge. I was not used to this amount of responsibility and expectation. I was not used to being in this position of power. I’ve always labeled myself as an introvert with extroverted tendencies but being where I am right now is a whole new level I’ve never experienced.
It is not easy.
Creating a paper requires organizational, social and time management skills. You’ve got to find your reliable people, the ones you know who will do leg work, too, just to get the story, and the ones you can email at 11:30 pm asking them to cover something else too. You’ve got to know what kind of voice and tone is appropriate for each email you compose, reaching out saying, “Hi I’m the editor-in-chief! Please respond. I need to ask you some questions because you are important to an article.” Usually this email is followed up with, “Hi, it’s me again. Still have questions for you. PLEASE RESPOND. PLEASE.” but in a nice way once again.
Creating a paper includes emails, walking, some more emails, maybe a couple more emails and some more walking. Don’t forget to record your interviews because you’ll need to transcribe that later for an article or a Q and A. I quickly realized that my journalistic “shorthand” was not ready for action and when combined with my terrible memory, it’s a recipe for disaster. God bless simple recording apps. You also can’t forget to grab photographs, their captions and ads to fill some more space other than just the words. Some people are already emailing you, asking you for ad space. Other people want you to ask them.
For us, a big issue was finding office space because our iMacs are the key to getting printed content out there—we lost our space in the flood of incoming students, who took over staff space in Lewin, Bridge, and Fitch, who in turn took our office in Simon. Homeless, and after more emails begging for new space, we started facing the possibility we might not get to print. I tried to stay hopeful that we wouldn’t have to fall back on Plan B but sometimes there’s no choice.
Since our office space was dissolved, our iMacs had been sitting in the radio station. Dan Freese was kind enough to team up with IT to park us in their production studio to get the most recent printed edition done and out. But then comes the inevitable game of Tetris. Once all these little tiny pieces made up of articles, captions, ads and photographs come together, you’re sitting on a nice, sizeable pile of content. Is the struggle worth it? Of course. With each page that gets finished, you start to think fondly of this little paper you’re creating. You want to be proud of it when you show it off to the world. You want this to be perfect or, at least, the best it possibly can be. I’ve tried very hard to make this edition great and I’m hoping this comes through.
I’m looking forward to this academic year as The NewEnglander’s editor-in-chief. I’m looking forward to having The NewEnglander have a stronger presence here on campus. I’m looking forward to the events we will host and the connections we will make as staff members and students of New England College.
Most of all, I’m looking forward to seeing how the changes here at New England College will affect us as a whole, hopefully for the better.