By Matthew Wojtechko
Last week in my editorial, we talked about what The Review's purpose is. Let me give you the TL;DR of that piece:
- The Review presents you with information that matters to you every week.
-We try really hard and we do really good.
- We really want you to send in your own writing.
I'm a little biased, but really, it's a good editorial if you're someone who doesn't already see the benefit of a student-run newspaper like ours.
So, if you missed it, or if you liked it so much and you want to see it again (i.e. if you're my mom), you can find that piece and all our articles on our wesbite: stvincentreview.com
Good newspapers are a lot like sausages; they pack a lot of power in bite-sized pieces and are generally a great way to start your morning.
However, for all their similarities, newspapers and sausages differ in that I doubt more consumers would enjoy learning what goes into producing a sausage.
The process behind a newspaper, on the other hand, should inspire confidence in the reader. (Newspapers are usually less salty, too). So today, let's talk about how we make this paper!
Our story begins on Monday afternoon. Yes, it may seem just like the bleak return of the school week to you, but to us... well yeah, it's also like that to us, too.
But it's also the genesis of a whole host of fascinating news and feature stories. All eight writers and I cram into our office on the second floor of Alfred and toss around what we've noticed going on around campus.
"There's a pretty interesting lecture coming up."
"I've heard something about stealing in the cafeteria..."
"What the heck is going on with this giant fence in the middle of campus?"
Recently, too, each writer has chosen a different category of news to be on the lookout for, to help keep our collective eye on every type of news.
Then, we see which writers are interested or especially qualified to tackle certain articles.
If no one takes something, it might be left for later-- but certain pieces are so time sensitive we assign them immediately.
Then, we think about what's unclear about our subjects-- what is it that we don't understand, that we would like to find out more about, that we need to find out more about?
We put our heads together to come up with multiple contacts to address these questions.
"Maybe faculty from Title XI and athletics would have interesting perspectives on Antonio Brown."
"Let's talk to Dr. Smetanka- we talk to him, a lot, but he has a lot of information, and he's always fun to talk with to boot."
We try to identify multiple sources to ensure that we get varied perspectives as well as to maximize our success rate of securing interviews. The writers then contact their sources immediately after the meeting-- they're on the clock yet again.
It's a hard job being a writer. Sources will sometimes pass you around to other contacts like a sizzling spud in a heated game of hot potato. Sometimes you can't get a hold of a source, over email or even through their door.
It's understandable of course, but with all these complications and a hard one-week deadline to meet, sometimes, it's easy for a writer to feel like that sizzling spud, too.
Through some bizarre twist of fate -- either magic, predestination, or perhaps even hard work and dedication (I'm not sure which) -- the writers usually finish their piece in time -- Monday of the following week, to be exact.
I'd love to say that this is where our story ends -- that the articles are complete, the newspaper is on the stands, and fans clamor at my dorm room begging me to sign their latest issue of The Review. But in fact, this is where the real work begins -- for some of our staff, anyway.
While the writers meet on Monday to begin their process all over again for the next set of articles, Micaela Kreuzwieser, our copy editor, scrutinizes each article. Her powers are those of clarification, condensation, addition, and sometimes, destruction. And of course, she makes sure spelling and grammar is as divine as a set bowl of "Llamalicious" ice cream in the caf.
She sends the articles over to me, and I make further critiques, culminating in more meetings with the writers on Thursday. They look at their edits, learn from their mistakes, correct our mistakes, and revise and follow-up with sources if need be.
I'll still make small edits as I keep reading through them, but at this point, each article has essentially reached its final form.
Heather Reig, our production manager, puts the newspaper together on her Macbook. She fits the articles together like a jigsaw puzzle, and pours through her layout to make sure there's not so much as a period out of place.
I'll go through it, too, and once we're both happy, we ship it off to The Latrobe Bulletin newspaper to be printed.
So, we send it Monday night, the Bulletin has all Tuesday to print the papers (typically, around 300 of them), and then early Wednesday afternoon our business manager, Nic Williams, transports the papers onto campus. We then distribute them to all nine newsstands around here.
Tired yet? I know I am... I've written 916 words and there's more I didn't even cover!
For example, Nic also solicits companies for advertisements and handles all staffers' work study paperwork, and I didn't even mention Meg Manion yet! She uploads our articles to our website, runs our social media, and makes continual improvements and innovations to both.
There's also me! Hello. I'm Matthew Wojtechko, the editor-in-chief, and I conduct the meetings, check in with everyone, and step in when there's a complication -- and with a staff of 13 each doing difficult and important jobs, that tends to happen more than once a week!
And I also check in with you, here!
Which begs the question -- what is it that you do in this system?
Well, I'll tell you. Your interests and curiosities guide what stories the writers pursue and what questions they ask. The feedback you send us through our email (firstname.lastname@example.org) lets us know how we're doing. And the opinion pieces you send in, ranging from entertaining musings to the most compelling calls-to-action, enrich the student body when we print them alongside our own pieces.
Remember -- as Zachary Effron once said:
"We're all in this together. And it shows, when we stand, hand in hand."
"Make our dreams come true."