Pencil to Paper

The Daily Life of a Compulsive Writer

Newspaper Editor… and Other Ways to Make Me Insane December 7, 2011

Filed under: Whatever — katblogger @ 5:19 PM
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I have a thing with schedules.

It started in seventh grade, when I couldn’t take art and band. Every year since, something has gone tragically, terribly wrong with my course schedule. I’ve missed classes, wanted to attend two at the same time, been signed up for the wrong course entirely, jumped around, and basically learned to reconfigure my entire academic life at least once every summer.

One such catastrophe occurred before my junior year. No one had bothered to tell me I couldn’t take three Standard Level IB classes in my junior year. Luckily, I heard about it and immediately went down to my home away from home: the IB counselor’s office. Out I came from SL Social and Cultural Anthropology. But colleges don’t appreciate big Study Hall blocks in your schedule. I needed another class.

“Journalism’s a practical art credit,” I decided. “I need one of those. Let’s go with that.”

So I took that class. It was fairly interesting, and I did well in it. I appreciated knowing what libel was, at least. Late in my junior year, the Newspaper/Yearbook instructor called me over to her desk.

“Would you be interested in being an editor next year?” she asked me.

I think my response was something like, “Uh…” After all, I was a rookie. You didn’t ask rookies to serve as editors of school newspapers. In the end, however, I said yes. That sent me deep into the crazy, unforgettable world of newspaper.

Over the last few months, just three issues worth, life has been insane. I’ll track down the other editors (I’m officially copyeditor/typo slayer in chief, but all three of us work together) at lunch or during other classes, vaulting over backpacks or dodging lunch trays in order to discuss a late breaking disaster. I’ve mastered the art of running up to someone I don’t know and asking them a completely random question. Panic is a continuous state of mind.

Every month or so, right before a new issue comes out, our newspaper holds what’s called a Late Night. We all bring food, our instructor orders pizza, and we stay at school for up to seven hours straight, growing gradually more hysterical. This is when we all open up Adobe InDesign and format our stories, having minor meltdowns when we run into blank spaces or overcrowded pages. Every issue so far, we’ve had to pen a filler story on the spot, desperate to plug an all too obvious hole. Fingers crossed that it won’t happen again – Late Night for my issue three is tomorrow night.

Newspaper can be crazy. When I find a typo that a quick proofread could easily have caught, or someone doesn’t have their stories in on time, I swear I can feel my blood pressure rising. But at the same time, I’ve had a lot of fun in my crazy, panic-filled hysterical moments. I’ve experienced the joy of working on something and then seeing it in solid, three-dimensional print… which everyone then throws away, but I’ll take what I can get.

 

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