I’m Editor-in-Chief… now what?

So I’m officially the Editor-in-Chief of my school’s newspaper the Setonian. As a second semester sophomore, I am younger than the average EIC here, and I have big shoes to fill. My predecessor, Jessie Krehlik, completely revolutionized our print layout and boosted our online presence immensely. So, I’ve got to keep the momentum going and that has been a bit intimidating. I’ve been pushing myself to think about some goals I have for my Editorship.

1. The first and possibly most difficult goal I have for my term as EIC is weekly online content. The Setonian comes out in print about once a month because we have a small staff and a pretty small budget. Once a month is overwhelming to us. The problem with a once-a-month paper is some of our news ends up being really out of date and we lose the chance to cover some important events.

The goal of weekly online content will require a reinvention of our deadline process. We tend to have a rush to finish articles the day before production even if the events happened three weeks ago. The articles, then, feel stale. So I think that eventually I want to work towards a 2-4 day deadline after an event. The change will probably be gradual.

I’ve been reading about some bigger collegiate newspapers (specifically the award winning Red & Black of University of Georgia), and how they transitioned to an online focus. Journalism is moving into new mediums and as a school boasting a Journalism New-Media program, I think it is important that we make the switch too. I love print journalism, but we have to be forward thinking.

2. Along with the New-Media focus in Seton Hill’s degree, I want to get some new media for the Setonian. I’m interesting in the idea of implementing digital storytelling on the Setonian Online. I’m a writer and I think writing is very powerful. Still, there is something absolutely magical about images and video. News is rather boring, to be honest, and attracting a readership often involves new methods of telling the same stories.

I’ve also been reading Campfire Journalism, a blog that focuses on methods of digital storytelling from a journalistic point of view. The author, Mark Berkey-Gerard, is a professor from Rowan University in NJ. He offers some interesting resources that I plan to explore. I hope to be able to implement some more innovative and creative forms of journalism to the Setonian. News doesn’t HAVE to be boring.

3.With all of this additional content, the staff will have to be in contact more. My next goal is regular meetings. We have a pretty close staff. We hang out together in our free time and chat about paper business all the time. Still we are a little unorganized especially about assigning stories. I want to establish a regular meeting time so we can discuss what’s going on with the paper and hopefully not let so much stuff slide by our notice. Working with schedules is always difficult, though.

4. The last big goal I have for the Setonian right now is a method for including new staff members. I know that when I was introduced to the Setonian staff, I was just thrown in. The process is very overwhelming and I think we lose staff members through our unintentional negligence. I want to develop resources for new members so they don’t feel so overwhelmed, perhaps in web form (although I just don’t know yet). I think some simple guides and introductions would be really helpful. I can imagine content on subjects  from how we run things to how to do a basic layout. I know I would have appreciated some help when I was a newbie.

These are sizable goals, and I know I have work to do if I plan to accomplish all of them. It’s good to be ambitious right? I’m nervous, but I’m honestly really ready for the challenge. I’m even excited about what’s coming.

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