Out with the old, in with the new.
As this year’s seniors put the finishing touches on their presentations, the 2011-2012 editorial staff of The Pacific Index rendered their first issue.
Passing over the reins is never an easy process. Most of spring semester is typically spent training new editors. The transition itself takes place over the final three issues of the year, a hectic time when the office bustles with bodies – editors, editors-in-training, reporters, photographers, cartoonists and advertising managers. Email accounts are passed along, important links are lost and resent, content appears and disappears like a ghost.
No matter how thoroughly prepared the staff is, last-minute cries of “How do you connect to the server again?” or “What are the CMYK percents for Boxer red?” or “WHERE IS THE TEXT WRAP??!!” are bound to happen.
Stepping back and analyzing where we are and where we need to go can be difficult but is a necessary part of the process.
As expected, there have been difficulties during the last year.
Each year we host a small number of new, inexperienced staff members. These are typically freshmen or students just deciding they want to go into the journalism or media arts field. What I hope the Pacific community can forgive is that they’re learning a trade. It’s good to remember that the newspaper is to journalism majors as the play is to theatre majors. We don’t get rehearsals for the Index.
Occasionally throughout the year, there is a lack of content or contact that is not fully developed. We do our best to produce the best paper we can with the resources and contacts we have, but sometimes there just isn’t anything going on. Sometimes we don’t have the manpower to report on an issue. Sometimes people refuse to talk to us – this is one of the most frustrating speed bumps. Not talking to us only omits vital information; it won’t stop the story from being run.
And of course, in the digital age, there are technological blips. The past three years we have worked on the Index, half our computers couldn’t read .docx files. Halfway through this semester, the new [read: film department hand-me-down] computers we’d been expecting for ages were finally delivered… on layout night. Not that we aren’t grateful, of course. There hasn’t been a rainbow wheel of death once this semester and that’s a record.
Specifically this year, we struggled through the fiasco over CPS’s Incident Reports. The resistance we encountered over publishing the reports helped us better understand our role as a newspaper by raising tough questions. We feel we are more prepared to handle these situations in the future and that we have a more solid stance on what we should publish.
However, this learning experience opened a spirited dialogue, the cornerstone of an active campus and involved newspaper. Faculty, staff, alumni and current students alike have been engaged in conversations via comments on our website, pacindex.com.
With the launch of our new website and the addition of our own morning newscast beginning May 2, it has been a big year for the Index. We’ve accomplished a lot and made great strides to better our newspaper. But we aren’t done yet.
Next year, we plan to continue making technological strides both and where we need to go can be difficult but is a necessary part of the process.
As a part of these efforts, we will be having monthly meetings with Dr. Lesley Hallick, which will allow us to seek out the president’s opinion on the issues we see occurring on campus, as well as keeping informed about issues that we may not have been aware of ourselves.
It is our hope that these meetings will be beneficial to both the Index and the president, as there is something to be learned from both perspectives.
While the majority of the writers for the Index are journalism or media majors, it is important to note that the newspaper exists for the university community and anyone is welcome to contribute. Suggestions for how we make YOUR paper better are always appreciated, whether they are rave reviews or a critical assessment.
We encourage you to remain engaged in the conversation, Pacific, by whatever method you feel comfortable with. Chalk on the sidewalks? Go for it. Verbal protest or debate? Here’s your microphone. Comment on our website? We might publish it. Your thoughts emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org? Look for it in our next issue.
In the recent words of Chomsky, “you can’t pretend the world doesn’t exist.” Sure, he was talking about world leaders making poor decisions, but the base is still a lack of communication.