With only two issues left for the Mount Mercy Times this school year, it’s kind of fun to look back and see how far we’ve come.
But being editor in chief of a college paper wasn’t what I thought it would be; it was much, much more. What I learned goes beyond the mere production of the paper. I found out what my limitations are, what I’m willing to put up with, and just how far I can be stretched.
All those stressful deadlines, the crazy Mondays, and the tearful frustrations; they were not in vain. They taught me that I am human. No matter how hard I work to produce a perfect paper, it’s not going to happen. I have learned that you can do all the steps correctly but something is going to slip by you. All I can do is train myself to do it right the first time, then I won’t have to worry about those silly mistakes sneaking through.
After each issue I have asked myself, how can I do better next time? What do I need to do different? What did I learn from this?
The first few issues that we produced were a bit rough. I wasn’t too hard on myself because I knew that I was just starting out and I was learning. But as we produced more issues, I was harder on myself because I knew they were silly mistakes and that we could do better.
But I suddenly found myself in a place that I didn’t want to be. I began expecting too much from myself and from my staff. I forgot that we are still college students, and we all had a lot of other things going on.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to put out a perfect paper, but “perfect” in the newspaper world is a myth. It’s never going to happen. What I can do is strive for excellence, something that is attainable, unlike perfection.
My year with the Times has been quite an adventure, another chapter in my life. I have written before about starting my own newspaper next year and the plans are coming along, slowly but surely. What I have learned as editor in chief is invaluable to me, something I couldn’t have possibly learned in a classroom. This is about as real as it gets.
My next adventure comes in the form of web editor for the Mount Mercy Times next year, another stepping-stone toward my goal. It will be good for me, and the Times, as well. I see the web dominating the media world, and something we need to keep up with.
I have bittersweet thoughts of moving on. I enjoyed my time as editor in chief. My education wasn’t just about the production cycle of a newspaper, but myself, as well. I’m even going to miss being able to call the shots, though, in reality, it wasn’t just me.
But this is just a lull in the excitement. I probably should enjoy it before the craziness starts next year with my own paper, The Hiawatha Advocate. I have a feeling that, though this is what I’ve wanted my whole life, it’s going to take up much more time than the Times ever did.
Am I ready? Looking at the latest issue of the Times, I’m more ready now that I ever was, but I think I have a term or so left to brush up on my AP styles. There is still so much that I need to learn, to remember, to integrate into my psyche, what it means to put out a really good paper.
Ryan will make a good editor in chief next year. Joe will mold him into a leader, just as he did me, just as he did Brian, and all the other editors before us. He will learn all the ins and outs of the newspaper production cycle and he will have to contend with missed deadlines, mistakes, and mishaps. He’s going to learn more than he ever thought he would.
Being the editor of the Times has also enabled me to meet people I probably never would had I not had to write about them. I think I have said it before, but I will say it again; I love this job.