Following the path of creating a campus newspaper
by Hannah Day
Cedars, the student-run newspaper of Cedarville University, full of campus-relevant stories, appears on newsstands once a month during the school year. Students and faculty can pick up an issue from the stand or read them on the Cedars website for free. Getting the issue to the stands, however, is an arduous process that includes many people and several weeks of effort.
Story ideas come from either the editors or the writers, but ultimately the editors, specifically the Editor-in-Chief, choose which stories will actually be written. Editors find story ideas from a variety of sources, including the news, event calendars, emails and fellow students. Stories must be current and relevant to Cedarville students. Longer, more in-depth story ideas will be print articles, whereas shorter stories, such as event previews or recaps, may be made into web stories.
The stories are divided by section based on the type of story it is, and the section editors assign those stories to writers. Assigning stories can be done in a number of ways. Typically if a writer suggested a story that is selected for publication, they have the first chance to claim that story.
“There is a little bit of thought process of the writer’s ability and what they’re passionate about and skilled with,” said Keegan D’Alfonso, Cedars’ Editor-in-Chief. “Usually we don’t have to worry about them being interested because they’ll choose to take the articles they’re interested in.”
The writers at Cedars are not under obligation to take any stories at any time, so the writers can choose to take stories as frequently or infrequently as they want.
Next, the writers go out and interview sources for their story. A story needs at least two interviews to ensure that there is enough credible information. Sources are selected based on their connection to and knowledge of the story that is being written. The majority of interviews are done in person, which generates more genuine responses than formulaic email interview responses.
Interviews are often writers’ favorite part of the writing process, as it allows a writer to interact with people on campus they may not have met otherwise.
“I get to meet a lot of interesting people,” Breanna Beers, a freshman reporter for Cedars, said in an email interview. “I’ve learned a lot from the interview process, including the importance of asking good questions and preparing well.”
After completing all their interviews, writers begin putting together the story. This task requires a writer to piece together information in a way that is both logical and interesting for the reader.
“I really enjoy taking complex topics and breaking them down so readers can understand what’s going on on a deeper level,” Beers said.
The majority of the article should be paraphrased from the interviews. However, quotes are used when the interviewee says something that is unique or conveys their feelings.
Editing by Section
When the writer completes the article, he or she sends it to their section editor to look for content and grammar issues. Rather than rewriting the story for a writer, the section editor will make comments on what needs to be changed in the story, as well as what should stay, and sends it back to the writer. The writer must then make changes quickly to meet publication deadlines.
“I really enjoy the learning process,” D’Alfonso said. “The ability to work with my editors, and with the writers, and help them in that process of really putting out great content, solving problems … to help and direct where that story that is good can become great.”
Pictures by Photographers
While writers put the written side of the articles together, Cedars’ photographers gather pictures to accompany the stories. Most stories require action shots or images from the event with visible faces. Each photographer is suggested to have their own camera, though the models may vary and class cameras can be checked out for assignments.
Sometimes, a photo gallery may be created for an event. These are displayed on the Cedars website and contain six to eight images of the event. Emily Sulka, the photography editor for Cedars, described this as a “news story in pictures.”
“I like getting to see more of the events,” Sulka said. “I like to see the event through the pictures and really get to know the story through that.”
Page Creation by Designers
Next, the stories are sent to the digital and design editor to be made into the pages that will actually go to print. The pages are designed in Adobe InDesign on templates, which are used for each issue. These templates may be altered slightly to match a theme for issues, but they are kept fairly uniform.
Designers are assigned pages based on their strengths, and they usually design the same group of pages each time. The page design takes four days to complete, with three more days scheduled for review and changes.
Final Page Edits
Pages for print are then taken to proofing meetings the week before publication. There, at least three of the other section editors review the articles for the issue and make comments and corrections. The section editor may request final corrections from the writer or make the changes themselves. Finally, the entire paper is reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief. Once he believes the issue is ready for publishing, he sends it to the faculty advisor, professor Jeff Gilbert.
Review by Faculty Adviser
The faculty advisor will then review the paper one last time, send any final change suggestions to the writer or one of the editors, and approve the paper for publishing. He then sends the pages to the printer. The completed issues are then picked up and placed on the stands located around campus.
Though Cedars is overseen by a faculty advisor, it is intended to be mainly student run.
“[My job,] in a nutshell is to oversee, be there for advice, be there to follow up with them, be there to answer questions in the process, and let it be theirs as much as possible,” Gilbert said. “And they’ve done well.”
Hannah Day is a freshman forensic science major from Pennsylvania and campus reporter for Cedars. She enjoys theater, music, and correcting people.