15 More Things I’ve Learned (so far) as Editor-in-Chief of the Student Newspaper

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Collaborations can be cluster!@#$s. Just as too many chefs spoil the stock, too many writers (not editors) can be confusing. It is better to give a cub (i.e. newbie) a small feature that requires little writing and have someone mentor them than have them share a bigger story that is perfectly capable of being done by one seasoned reporter. My job is to get the paper out, however I can make that happen.  Plus, who the hell wants to share a byline?

Create a mock layout for your layout editor. It serves the same purpose as the outline of a story and will make their job much easier.

Sticking to deadlines will help separate the wheat from the chaff.

If you love to create and tell your own story, you’re a writer; if you love to gather data and tell the stories of others, you’re a reporter.

Don’t contribute to “fake news” by giving people credit who did not contribute to the final product or service; contribution can be as small as editing a story, selling an ad, or even delivering newspapers. Coming to meetings does not count. (We don’t get paid for coming to them.)

AP (Associated Press) style needs to adopt the Oxford comma for clarity.

E-mail to set up a time to do interviews, not conduct them. Giving people too much time to think about what to say takes away from the immediacy.

The newspaper is not a newsletter (i.e. lists of names, calendar of events, et cetera). It should tell stories with words and pictures (which is why captions should accompany all photos).

In the Arts and Entertainment section, covering actual events on campus, like plays and concerts, are far preferable to reviews about random things. Reviews don’t require any legwork, and the Internet is flooded with them. A humor or opinion piece that ties in to the school is much preferred.

Group shots are unavoidable; action shots are preferable. The former says, “We were there”; the latter says, “We were there doing this.”

Steal from your competitors, then elevate what they have done. For example, a competitor that shall remain nameless has a page called “The Briefs.” We upgraded ours to “Pirate Briefs” (the pirate is our mascot)—a photo collage of unrelated events (with captions, of course).

Give your photos a name, so they’ll be easier to find (no IMG_2020).

A few of us conducted a poll/survey of at least 75 students (100 is optimal, but hey, we’re short-staffed) for an infographic. We could’ve just included boring statistics, but we decided to humanize our findings by including student comments. This is a fantastic way to get student names in the paper (btw, headshots NEVER belong in an infographic), because don’t many of us, when reading a controversial blog post, go straight to the comments section? (After reading the original post, of course.) What’s more, when we conducted these polls, many of us asked professors’ permission to use a few minutes of class time to get a bunch of these surveys filled out at once. That said, in the interest of a diverse pool of respondents, we only did this in classes where the course was a general requirement, or where all the majors weren’t just English or healthcare or cybersecurity. (In other words, don’t get a bulk of responses from a poetry or creative writing class.)

If your newspaper has a Facebook page (if it doesn’t, get it one), you probably won’t have enough content to post daily, but if you have archives that aren’t available online, repost covers, stories, et cetera, that tie in to current events (if possible). This is a great way to utilize content that is otherwise sitting in a storeroom. https://www.facebook.com/eCorsair/

Create a reference book (both physical and digital) for the next Editor-in-Chief, with the newspaper email and passcode, ad brochures and contracts, How-To’s (i.e. screenshot tutorials on how to upload PDFs to the site), et cetera. This will help with a smooth transition. 

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#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

They said that the devil was the author of confusion. That made Mother his scribe, David, her copy editor, for he knew not from whence that confusion came.

Mother’s hatred for my father was greater than her love for David, but was it not her love for David that had made her hate my father so?

Her body went rigid, & her voice became brittle to the point of breaking. She was like a piece of merchandise that had been on the shelf for too long.

The sharpness of Mother’s words cut me, lacerating the beautiful picture of her I carried in the pocket of my heart—a picture that had seen me through many unfought wars.

Because my mother had made her decision to leave my father too late, my baby sister had been spared, being too far developed to snuff out.

That night, I found out the reason why my father couldn’t be buried in hallowed ground. That night, I knew why Mother clung to his spirit, as she never had his flesh.

It seemed contradictory to say that Mother & David had carnal knowledge of one another, which meant they had known one another in the Biblical sense.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #455: Magic

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Abra Cadaver

Her husband had been an illusionist,
playing credit card tricks,
pulling Playboy bunnies out of hats,
& penetrating her with knives
only she felt, but no one could see.
He was a Houdini who bound not himself,
but herself,
with the ties of matrimony.
Before she got to pull her disappearing trick,
he finished her off with his
final
disappearing
act.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-455

Sweet Little Nothings

Like someone in person

He’d been a friend of a friend,
till she wasn’t friends with that friend anymore.
She’d liked what he’d collectively share
with 142 other friends,
family,
& acquaintances.
When she finally met him,
keeping her identity secret,
she shared all that he couldn’t touch
through a screen.
“You remind me of someone,” he’d said,
& she knew then
what he would’ve never told her
anywhere else,
for with the 1 sense he knew & liked,
she had put a face with the other 4 he loved.

Summer Writing Mini-Workshop: Publications I Submit To

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There are many markets for the personal essay (http://thesunmagazine.org/about/submission_guidelines/readers_write), for no one can tell the story you have lived & from your unique perspective. They are the easiest to write because they require little research. https://sarahleastories.com/2016/10/01/waves-in-a-timeline-personal-essay/

Greeting cards are a fun way for poets to make real money. The Blue Mountain Arts greeting card company is one of them. http://www.sps.com/poetry/index.html. Note: Having a worksheet of all the different greetings helps me generate more content. http://www.studiomiragegreetings.com/greeting-card-occasions-list/

If you need help getting started, try submitting to a publication with a prompt. http://www.thefirstline.com

You don’t have to agree with a publication’s vision to submit to them. You just need to be interested in the topic or theme. http://www.writersofthefuture.com/enter-writer-contest/

If you find yourself channeling your inner Dave Barry or Erma Bombeck, submit to “The Lighter Side” section of The Saturday Evening Post. http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/about/submission-guidelines#humor

Writer’s Digest offers several free ways to get published in their magazine. The 5-Minute Memoirs is one of them. https://sarahleastories.com/2014/07/10/5-minute-memoir-to-writers-digest-former-submission/

“Chicken Soup for the Soul” is all about writing what one knows, with calls for submissions that relate to most people. That said, don’t get discouraged: You will receive no notification upon reception, only upon acceptance. http://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics

 

 

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

Mother wanted her stripling warriors,
like in the Book of Mormon—
sons, I feared, who would be David’s Only Begotten,
&, therefore, favored above me.

Catholicism & Mormonism were 2
of a Christian kind.
The first had their cathedrals,
the latter, their temples;
both had their godly quiverfuls.

The Church was constructed on feelings of faith,
that those good feelings were the Spirit,
testifying—to the deceitful heart—the truthfulness of all things.

Mine eyes saw the glory of the Mormon Lord,
manifested in their wonderful works.
Mine ears heard their heavenly hymns,
glorifying Joseph Smith—
their personal Prophet.

They spoke of Jesus marrying & having children,
& I thought how ungodly this seemed,
even as The Man had died without dignity.