The work of Editor-in-chief of the Other Press is nothing if not full of variety. Some parts of my job remain fairly consistent—like spending my Sundays editing the entire newspaper or keeping the office mini-fridge stocked with whatever variances of Coke people ask for—but the continuously shifting slate of side projects is what keeps the workload interesting and dynamic.
Some of the aforementioned projects have included spending a week and a half last summer running a recruitment table at orientation, cleaning out the newspaper’s old darkroom and repurposing it as a pseudo-kitchen, and skipping class so I can extinguish PR firestorms. It’s never a dull moment when you’re the EIC of a college publication.
Somehow we’re already past the halfway point of the winter semester and that means the Print Futures program is preparing for the annual portfolio show, an event where nearly graduated students have a chance to display their work from previous years and dress aggressively professional. Sadly, this year’s crop of writers, editors, and communication specialists will be the program’s last as Print Futures undergoes a shift towards being a post-degree diploma.
A significant part of the Other Press’ contributors, staff, and alumni have come from this program and it’s been a shame to see it in flux for the past year (here’s to the next incarnation being even better), but the main reason I’m mentioning it is because of the graduates’ need for testimonials. As head of the publication, I’m usually the one staff turn to when they’re looking for references to bolster their resumé. Not that this task is new to me—I’ve been a reference for plenty of colleagues in previous jobs and I’ve even given references since being EIC—but the most recent batch of them have had a particularly sentimental impact.
For the most part, my time at the Other Press is entering its twilight. This newspaper has been a significant part of my life for almost four years now and when my time as EIC comes to a close in August, I’ll more than likely slip away into the ghostly halls of OPers who once were. But before that bell chimes, I get to experience one of the most satisfying feelings of all: having pride in my staff and getting to say nice things about them to strangers.
This parade of testimonials means I’ve been forced to reflect upon how much some people have grown since first walking through the door at the Other Press. I still remember when our now-Sports Editor, Eric Wilkins, began writing for the newspaper and I, as Opinions Editor, had to continuously give him feedback to not overuse ellipses. I couldn’t even count the number of times I’d have to edit his articles and cut down on the sentences that would simply trail off… Or he’d try to include one for dramatic emphasis… It was like the ellipsespocalypse. Two years later, now he’s the one in the section editor position, giving weekly feedback to new writers.
It’s a reminder of how important places like student newspapers are as a stepping stone onto other things. No one is treating the Other Press as their final career, where they’ll retire 40 years from now from their section editor position. You get in, get some skills and do some good, and then you hop to something else. This kind of turnover can sometimes pose a problem, but it’s great in the long run.
I’m at a loss of words on how to describe just how proud I am to have watched these individuals progress over the years. Some of them are going to continue on in the literary field and make a real name for themselves; others will shift their focus back to whatever else they plan to do with their lives. Regardless of what successes they find though, they’ll be all the better for what they’ve learned during their time at the Other Press…