Last year, I served as the Assistant Relays Editor of the publication, and this year I moved up in the world as Relays Editor. Helping with the Relays Edition last year was one of the most stressful experiences of my life. Imagine two-and-a-half weeks of caffeine-pill/redbull binges fueling consecutive all nighters, arguments that often became confrontational, passing out in semi-public places and occasional vomiting. It was like the greatest 21st birthday of all time without any alcohol.
Still, it was worth it. Last year’s edition won awards, including a nomination for a Pacemaker, effectively the highest award a college newspaper can receive. It’s my job to follow up that success with… something.
Going into this year, I knew we had to change our approach. We couldn’t assign stories at the start of the year and then hope they all came in by the deadline, which happened to be two weeks before we went to print. We couldn’t expect that writers could understand exactly what we needed without giving them guidance for their articles. That’s why the guns got rolling in February, and why I’ve been absent from this blog (and any form of a social life, for that matter).
And — remarkably — it’s going extremely well. Almost too well.
We currently have 97 stories ready for the page or going through edits. All of the photos have either been taken or are assigned to be taken, and from what I’ve been able to tell the photo editor is doing an outstanding job of coordinating with the respective section editors, who are doing a fantastic job keeping in touch with their writers, who are in turn doing some of the best writing/reporting I’ve seen on this campus.
I have never been more excited to read the newspaper. We have the right people doing the right jobs, and despite a few hiccups here and there, it’s slowly coming together in a wonderfully cohesive way.
We’ve still got a long way to go. As yet, there is not a single page completely designed in any of the sections. We have a strong need for photographers to help us cover the multitude of events (email our photo editor Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested!).
Still, despite my nervousness, I haven’t yet popped a single caffeine pill, and there appears to be more of a feeling of excitement regarding the issue than of dread.
If you’re interested in jumping in on real-time updates, including snippets of stories, we’ve got an active Twitter feed (#tdrelays) going on throughout this whole process, and a staff blog that’s about to get a whole lot busier. I also want to start bringing you “Writer Debriefings,” where writers have the chance to talk about their involvement in the story they covered, and some of the interesting things that moved them.