12 Things I Learned as Editor-in-Chief of the College Newspaper

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1. Raw talent < a willingness to communicate regularly, learn from more seasoned reporters, meet deadlines and care about the finished product, go on assignments that may not be of great interest to them personally (but need coverage), and actually talk to people.

2. Camaraderie happens organically when everyone is doing their job and meeting their deadlines.

3. You cannot be an editor without first having written articles for the paper. If you don’t write in Associated Press (AP) style yourself, how can you recognize it in the work of others?

4. Just because a paper comes out monthly doesn’t mean that one gets three weeks to write a story. Due dates should be no later than one week after the event occurred, as that allows time for editing.

5. You can’t write a certain type of story if you haven’t read a few (good) examples.

6. Making meetings < Meeting deadlines

7. If someone wants to be a columnist (i.e. the creative side of journalism), they have to earn it by being a reporter first. You don’t start at the top.

8. If someone does miss their deadline, but they turn in something you need, sometimes you have to make allowances for the good of the paper.

9. The best way to recruit new staffers is to reach out to the professors and ask them to recommend students.

10. Make sure bylines are on every story. Whenever I look at a layout, I don’t look at everything all at once. I start with the headlines, then the bylines, then the photo credits, then the captions, et cetera.

11. I trust people under 30 (as flakiness has no age).

12. Making a “mock layout” by folding 2 or 3 pages (depending if the issue is an 8-pager or a 12-pager) of printer paper into a book and marking it up makes the layout editor’s job much easier.

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