One quarter down and two more to go

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In what hopefully will be my last year of college (though the thought of going to graduate school goes through my mind every day). I will leave The Easterner with being a section editor for two different sections.

This quarter has brought a unique set of challenges; some I think I have conquered while others I know I can do better in the future.

One thing that was kind of a new experience was seeing returning staff members quitting. I have seen a writer, a copy editor and a section editor who were enthusiastic to return to staff at the start, only to leave before the quarter was over.

Part of me feels bad for them, but another part of me (the harsh editor who has been a journalist for years) is relieved to see them go. While a professional publication may maintain the same workflow and practices for years, at most times they have had the same staff to work with. Still, no publication is going to do the same things for ever.

At a college newspaper, there are staff changes every year, whether it is a fresh crop of new writers or a changing of section editors (something we are going to experience at the end of this year).

It wasn’t much of a surprise that some returning staff members don’t like the change, whether it is because of their own beliefs on how THEY think things should run, or because the change scared them at first.

I asked myself are these changes The Easterner has been doing so bad? Well after placing fifth in Best of Show at the ACP conference (with eighth place for the website), not to mention receiving compliments and accolades from many folks on campus, I would say we are doing a pretty good job. I told the editor in chief that I never want to hear her say that she is a “bad EIC.”

As for the changes in Eagle Life … I know I have said this before, but it took me a little while to adjust to the position. Still there are plenty of things I would like to implement in the future.

By doing the comic book for Homecoming, I developed the confidence for trying new things when it comes to EWU’s special events such as Diversity Week or Eagle Pride week. I can do more than just make a double truck spread with just text. I can also do this with things like the Get Lit festival.

I also want to focus more on camps clubs that are ACTUALLY doing something. If a new club comes around and they start doing the events right out of the gate – such as Active MInds and the Day of Stigma – then we have a story.

The same thing with fraternities or sororities. Although it seems like the newspaper likes to attack fraternities and sororities, as one letter to the editor pointed out to us last year. But if they are doing something for the community, then they should let us know and we have a story on our hands.

I would also like to focus on students and specific programs. One of my writers was doing a story on the EWU greenhouse. After that story was dropped, for different reasons, she learned about the aquarium room on campus for students.

Rather than call me and ask “Hey can I do this story instead?” she didn’t say a word. I was pretty flustered, but I still threw the idea into the tickler file.

In addition to printed content I want to focus on other aspects of storytelling. Some tales are better told on an alternative story format which I could help design, with the help of the graphics team and our illustrator.

An example would be the aquarium story. I could have the illustrators come up with the different fish that are in the tanks and scatter them throughout the page. I could strap a camera – water resistant of course – to myself and see if I could jump into the water. Okay that may be pushing it.

One of the things I should focus on before the quarter is out, is trying to recruit some new talent to boost the ranks for next year, specifically someone who wants to apply for the Eagle Life editor spot. We’ve discussed going to different journalism classes and talking to people.

I’m sure there are different kinds of students who would be interested in applying like creative writing or english majors, or even art and graphic design students. I’m willing to bet that there might be a few students who roam the science building who would love to write stories for the newspaper.

As I wait for these new students to emerge, I will focus my energy on getting ready for finals and then having a nice break before coming back to campus and helping The Easterner get back on its feet for the upcoming winter.

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