The | Teen Ink


April 16, 2009
By Katie Pierson SILVER, Alpharetta, Georgia
Katie Pierson SILVER, Alpharetta, Georgia
7 articles 0 photos 0 comments

1. You have to believe in the staff. Possibly the greatest trap you can fall into is losing trust in your staff. Often times, I’ll find myself taking them for granted. When you’re caught up the stress of a deadline and things are not going smoothly, it’s so easy to forget who truly is the basis and foundation for the paper; without staff writers, there can be no paper. Over this past semester, I have faced many challenges that I did not anticipate. Last year, I’ll admit, the newspaper did not quite reach my top five things on my to-do list. Sure, I was dedicated but I was caught up in the craziness of my junior year and, usually, just let Landis handle everything. So, when she was no longer around, I realized the weight of the responsibility on my shoulders. I’ve discovered that the editor-in-chief absolutely cannot create the paper by his or herself. My goal for this next semester and, hopefully, for editors of the Spartan Spear-it to come is to remember that the staff creates the basis for a successful publication. Even when they don’t always cooperate, be thankful that they are there.
2. The paper is NOT going to create itself. An editor has to understand that just because you have articles and ideas for the publication does not mean that you can just sit back and wait for deadline week. Things might seem like they’ll just fall into place but something always goes wrong, regardless of your plans. I am guilty of letting the weeks before our last deadline just slip by me. Deadline week was much more stressful that it should have been; and I was not as pleased with the end result as I usually am. Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of the work that the entire staff puts into the paper. I just wish I could remember to get off my pedestal and put myself to work. Often, I’ll complain that someone else is not working and then I turn around to sit and stare at my computer, not getting any work done. My goal is to keep myself motivated next semester. It’s going to be hard to stay motivated in general, simply because it is my last semester of high school. But, if all else fails, I want to put out publications that I am proud of and that others will enjoy reading. If I lose motivation, so will everyone else.
3. Be open to new ideas. Like I said before, sometimes I have to remind myself to get off my pedestal and listen to what everyone has to say. A lot of times, I’ll have an idea for a design or an article and I’ll get set on that idea. If somebody suggests another idea for the same thing, I usually will listen but not even consider whether his or her idea might be a better one. We definitely fell into that trap last year when it came to design ideas. Designing was not our forte, needless to say. Though the newspaper was pretty foreign to all of us, we never experimented with design. This year, I’ve seen some of the best looking pages created by new staff members; designs that I would probably never have thought of myself. Another one of my goals is to experiment with new design ideas. Our paper is strong when it comes to design, but I think it could be even better.
4. Don’t let the stress get to you. Yes, the process of putting out a newspaper is possibly the most stressful thing in the world, ever. Well, maybe not that bad, but sometimes it feels like it. Sometimes it feels like the paper is falling completely apart and it is just not going to look good and all hope is lost. Trust me, I’ve felt that way many many many times before. During almost every deadline, there is a point at which I think to myself, “It’s a complete disaster.” But it never really is. It just feels that way sometimes. Over this past semester, I have had to learn how to channel my stress. I know, I know, it sounds cheesy and yoga teacher-esque, but it helps so much. If you let the stress get to you, the paper probably will turn out to be an utter disaster because your attitude is wrong. There is always a solution to whatever problem you are facing. It’s the same way in life. Being editor-in-chief has taught me that things are never as bad as they seem. All you have to do is change your perspective, find a way to fix the problem, and get to it with guns blazing.
5. When it’s all over and done with, celebrate. Putting out a paper that you are proud of is an incredible feeling. I love going to sell papers in the elementary because they get so much joy out of reading the twelve pages that I worked so hard on. Being able watch their faces and hear their excitement when a picture of their friend is in the paper makes it all worth it, for me. Sure, not everyone gets that excited about the newspaper, but it feels so good to see it finally put in ink and on paper. In my opinion, that’s a reason to celebrate and that’s why we have deadline parties. The staff feels quite disconnected during deadlines. Maybe that’s just because I’m usually so caught up in the paper, but I really think everyone feels a little separated. I think deadline parties bring everyone back together. The purpose of them is to reward ourselves for a job well done. Because, regardless of whether or not I am completely happy with the paper, a successful publication is a reason to celebrate. My goal next semester is to lift up the staff and acknowledge the hard work that they put into the paper. I’ve found that if we all stay motivated and happy, the paper will reflect our attitudes.

The author's comments:
I wrote this article for my first semester final exam in my newspaper class.

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