For as long as I have been reading The Oswegonian, there has been the “In the Office” portion of the opinion section. These articles are reserved for staff members, allowing them to express their opinion or tell any story they want to tell. To me, they are always fun articles to read because it allows the reader to see more of the personality of whichever staff member’s story they are reading.
With this 2013 spring semester marking my final semester at Oswego State, I thought it would be appropriate to give a literal sense to the title of this “In the Office.”
Working in The Oswegonian office is a fun, stressful and never-ending experience. Without any one of these aspects, it would be impossible to put out the product you see every Friday.
The week starts on Monday with usually just me in the office creating the templates for each section of the paper and the files in our server where we place all of our stories for the week. The Editor-in-Chief may be in working on something. Our ad manager may be placing the ads in the paper for the week. The Laker Review editors may also be in to work on the section, since their deadline is earlier than the rest of the paper’s.
If we are lucky, there may even be a few stories in on Monday to get a few early edits in. Every article that comes in must go through three sets of edits before it is placed in the paper. This is to try and ensure that no errors are published. To try and lower the number of errors, this semester we have even implemented a better fact-checking system and each editor must meet with the writers for the week and go over their stories with them. This is to help improve our writer’s abilities and to make the lives of our copy editors easier.
The action begins to pick up a little more on Tuesday. Some stories start coming in and the editors are in to put the first touches on their section. With not much content in, there usually isn’t a whole lot that each section can do; Laker Review has the most it is able to work on, with the back puzzles and games section, where they pick everybody’s favorite Sudoku and crossword puzzle.
Then comes the first of the pressure-filled days with Wednesday. Besides deadline day on Thursday, Wednesday is the most important day of the week. Each section needs to get as much done as they possibly can to have everything ready to send out the next day. Just about every staff member needs to be in the office and from the Editor-in-Chief to the creative director, everybody has a job to do. As the articles are edited, the section heads are laying out their section. This entails placing the stories, finding pictures and creating headlines. It may sound simple, but it is an art creating a layout that appeals to the eye and makes each article easy to read. A lot of time is spent on the details of this, making sure everything is lined up perfectly and that there are no awkward spots in the paragraphs.
Everybody is usually in the office past midnight on Wednesday, but there isn’t much time between work and sleep because the first chance they get after they wake up, everybody is back in the office putting the finishing touches on the paper. All of the articles should have edits in, the graphics are being finished and the layouts should be close to finished hours before deadline. This allows each section to print out proofs of each page. The proofs are treated just like the articles—they go through three edits before the paper is sent out.
These are not calm times by any means either. Stress levels are high and everybody is on edge trying to get everything in before deadline. After the dust settles and everyone has finally taken a breath, the PDFs of each section are placed in a drop box and sent off to the Scotsman Press to have the paper printed and ready to be distributed on Friday. The nerves don’t always end once the paper is sent out though. For me it is an exciting and nerve-racking time waking up on Fridays and going to pick up the paper. First, I hope to see a paper and feel my heart sink when I pass a newsstand that doesn’t have one. Once I do have a fresh new paper in my hands, I can take a sigh of relief. It is a gratifying feeling seeing something you work hard at creating.
Every staff member puts in a tremendous amount of work every week, whether they are in the office or not. Our ad manager, business manager and web director are always working behind the scenes making sure we have a paper and website. Meanwhile, everybody else works on creating stories, working with the writers and dealing with any issues that the paper faces. It may all sound like a lot of hard work and not much time for anything else, but even though that’s true, but it is just as much fun. We all have a lot of fun during the week making jokes, telling stories and doing anything crazy we can think of.
Working for The Oswegonian is one of the greatest experiences you can have. You deal with many different situations, work with all kinds of people and improve yourself in just about every way. Joining The Oswegonian is like becoming part of a second family. Graduating this semester and having to leave The Oswegonian will be the hardest part of leaving Oswego because there is nothing better than being in the office.
-Published in The Oswegonian