A character in Kurt Vonnegut’s story “Deer in the Works” describes being editor of a weekly newspaper as “a good way to grow up fast.”
After being editor of The Advocate this school year, I absolutely agree with that statement.
It’s been a rough year. I’ve been forced to make difficult budget cuts as a result of The Advocate’s debt. I worked to organize the newspaper each week, often to the detriment of my grades and personal stress level.
It was “a good way to grow up fast,” and I wasn’t the only one learning. Every job at The Advocate is a tough one, and I’ve had the privilege of working with a fantastic, talented staff. It’s been delightful to see them improve their journalism skills, and I’m incredibly grateful for all their hard work. The Advocate wouldn’t have come out each week without them.
True to the nature of journalism, we often had things come up at the last minute, but my staff and I handled the chaos well. We’ve had a successful year together, winning several regional journalism awards and putting out a consistently excellent newspaper each week.
I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to improve my journalism skills as editor, but I’ve learned more than just that. Being editor of The Advocate has helped me learn to adjust my perspective when necessary. I don’t think I’d ever imagined that I could handle the immense amounts of stress that came with being an editor, but I did.
I’ve practiced asking for help, particularly from professors. A few of my professors have been invaluable resources to me this school year, and for that I am very grateful.
Like pretty much all people put in a leadership position, I’ve become more assertive. This often frightened me actually, because I’m incredibly concerned with being kind toward others. But I’ve learned that being decisive and assertive is OK, that it doesn’t diminish kindness, and that it is often necessary to get the job done.
Vonnegut’s character who said being editor for a weekly is “a good way to grow up fast” ended up leaving journalism, with the thought that the job is an overly-chaotic and underpaid, yet fruitless attempt to make a difference in the world.
That’s where I disagree. I feel certain that telling stories and informing through journalism is a powerful and effective way to inspire people, to entertain them and to make them think. It’s been a tough year, but I’m leaving my editor job with plans of moving on to other journalism jobs where I can continue to learn and grow and share impacting stories.