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Lend your voice

So it’s nearly 9 p.m. on Sunday night, the night before the first printing of the 2007-08 school year’s Spartan newspaper.The new editor, Janet Gillett, a tireless news hound and psychology major no less, has been tearing her hair out all day wondering where all the promised stories are.

As advisor to the paper, I’m wondering too.

It’s a problem inherent to newspapers, and one I kind of thought I had left behind when entering academia from the newsroom.

No longer was I going to have to hound reporters to get their stories in on time or to do them correctly with lots of sources and lots of color and description to make the readers feel the stories they were telling.

But you know what, compared to the long drawn out summer at home, one that many of my colleagues relish much more than I, I have to admit I like the chaos of hounding students to get their stuff done.

Actually I guess I could really do without the hounding, and would rather focus on ‘coaching’ students to be better writers and reporters, taking what they have done and helping shape it.

But I now realize, and Janet is finding out, that hounding is part of an editor’s job. It just is.

And we both have to realize that the thing about students working for the Spartan is that it’s a fair amount of work, and unless you’ve set up a practicum to earn credits for your work, it has to be a labor of love.

I did it as a Castleton student back in the late 1980s, and I remember being hounded by the editors to get my stuff in.

Little did I know I’d be doing the same thing both as an editor at a daily paper and as advisor for this very same paper, albeit nearly 20 years later.

But what’s worse for me than having to hound those students who promised stories and have yet to come through with them, is not having journalism students to hound.

There are several students who have name journalism as their Communication degree concentration that haven’t popped by to say hi or to join in a Spartan meeting and get an assignment. Others signed up at orientation, but we haven’t seen them yet.

Some of you have read this before, but I can tell you again that if you plan to get a job in journalism and have no clips to show a potential employer from your school paper, your chances aren’t going to be great.

Think about it. What’s an employer to think about your desire to be a reporter or editor or photographer if you didn’t have the gumption to work on the college paper?

I would urge, no implore, all journalism students to come join this fun group of students and write stories or columns or take photographs and have your work put on display.

Creative freedom is abundant at the college paper.

We want your voices so please join us. And those of you who have already joined us, please stay with us.

Meetings for the Spartan are held every Wednesday at 1 p.m. and Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in the basement of Leavenworth Hall.

Join us. Let us, and the entire campus hear what you have to say.