By Chandler Walter, Editor-in-Chief
I usually pride myself on the ability to write articles quickly and cleanly, yet putting this Lettitor together in any sort of timely manner has me stumped.
How should I end off my time at the Other Press? How can I cram the memory of so many articles, production nights, and pitch meetings into just one article?
Well, I suppose we should start at the start.
I first began working for the Other Press back in October 2014 on a drunk night when I realized that the college newspaper would actually pay me to write satire articles. Instead of pitching anything through the proper channels, I just wrote three articles, sent them to the then-Editor-in-Chief Natalie Serafini, and, to my surprise and delight, two were published in the following issue.
I saw my name in print for the first time ever a week later… and that was basically it.
At that point in my life I was just taking general studies courses at Douglas College to get my parents off my back about living at home rent-free while working at the local pizza shop. I wasn’t looking to become part of a school group, and I didn’t really have any allegiance to Douglas as a whole — I was only even taking three evening classes a semester.
How I even ended up at an Other Press meeting likely came down to some savvy recruitment work on the part of Serafini and her then-Assistant Editor Eric Wilkins, but probably more because I wanted to pick up my first-ever writing cheque.
There were a lot of people I didn’t know, the couches didn’t match, and the basement office had no cell reception to speak of, but when I walked in the door I was welcomed warmly by Humour Editor Sharon Miki, whom I had been sending by dumb satire articles to for the past few weeks.
Those meetings eventually became a weekly occurrence, and when Sharon stepped down from the Editor position, I was lucky enough to secure the spot.
Even without writing a single word of actual news (yet, at least), I still managed to get a feel for what working in a newsroom was all about, and I loved it.
The decision to write some silly articles for the Other Press led to an application for Langara College’s journalism program (I was sad to find that Douglas offers absolutely zero classes on the profession), which became two of the hardest and most-fulfilling years of my life. I learnt how to clean up my copy, write a compelling lede, and charge my way head-first into an industry that was laying off professional adults left and right.
Through my time at Langara I still had one foot firmly in the Other Press office. I was promoted to Assistant Editor by the wonderful Lauren Kelly in 2016, and then took the reins as EIC last summer.
In the same summer I managed to land a solid, full-time job with Daily Hive after a few months of interning, free-lancing, and part-timing, which left me with an exhausting schedule that often felt like a bite that was far too big to chew.
Yet here we are, on the other side of a year spent balancing being a staff writer with a large-scale, digital-only publication and heading a group of students at a scrappy (though no-less endearing) school publication.
It has been a tiring, educational, and thrilling year to say the least, but my time with the OP is finally at an end.
Come September there will be a new EIC in town, by the name of Bex Peterson. I have full trust in them to carry on the good work, steer this ship through the turbulent water that is student journalism, and add to the cardboard box full of empties that I kept under my desk.
To Natalie, Sharon, Eric, Lauren, and anyone else who put some faith in that kid who wrote those dumb humour articles, thank you. I wouldn’t have figured out who I wanted to be without the occasional nudge in the right direction from the lot of you.