11. Futures Calendar

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I graduated—for real this time, no going back—the year following my stint as EIC; by then, I had already passed the duty off to my assistant EIC (she was trained and confident, likely due to her own hard work and studiousness and not because I had figured out how to teach people to do my job since my last botched torch-passing), and with my other former newspaper buddies off doing other things, the last of the old guard had shuffled off the stage, letting mostly new voices take over. That’s only somewhat true, at least for a while, as I wrote a small number of things for the paper, nothing that mattered and in at least one instance, under a pseudonym (was it because I was a graduate by then, and thought writing random articles wouldn’t be seen in a great light? I doubt anyone cared), and for the first year when I was gone, I even still participated in the staff meetings, if only just to see how the new staff was doing. I remained a lingering spectre of the past for a little while longer, but eventually my curiosity would be sated and I would leave them to their own devices.

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10. Morgue

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The year my friend and I took over the paper was a special one, and not just because we somehow survived a money crisis in the organization caused by improper handling of finances and records over multiple years (which meant a whole lot of belt tightening and grovelling and getting help from more powerful institutions, things that could only be pulled off by our indefatigable business manager), but because it was the one-hundredth year of the student paper, a major anniversary for any institution I would reckon. Despite the aforementioned money problems, we weren’t going to let this important time pass us by—no, we had plans for our centennial, at least for a little while. For example, we had a presentation at the alumni homecoming that fall, one where we gave out an award to a former editor who had become a major contributor to the community (this was something that had been done in previous years, but like many big ideas the editorial team has had, it’s the kind of thing that happens once, and then every subsequent new team just sort of forgets about), and used it as an opportunity to show all the old, often extremely wealthy folks who make up the alumni organization that we not only still existed, but were worth supporting in whatever way possible (if by “whatever way possible” you mean “financially”.) That didn’t lead to anything, either, but hey, anything’s worth a shot.

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09. Guild

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As is the case for almost every organization (student or faculty) in a university, being part of a student press also invariably meant being part of a nation-wide university press collective, with the seemingly sensible (but not entirely achievable considering it’s mostly being run by twenty-somethings) goal of providing structure and support to like-minded institutions. What this meant for us is that we paid some money and some people in one of the actual big cities whose concerns seemed like those a distant holy leader sent us notifications to us about things that we may or may not care about, in exchange for the newswire service (giving us interesting articles that can fill space we can’t fill ourselves, and may even be slightly relevant to our campus in some obscure way—especially essential in the decadent days when our paper could run for sixteen or more pages), various support services (like legal aid), and national ads. Considering that trying to get local ads for the paper could be like pulling teeth sometimes, ads from the biggest of corporations worth the best money would completely inaccessible to us if not for the national collective; theoretically, that alone would make paying into the co-operative a useful thing for a newspaper not based in one of the country’s major cities.

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08. Rowback

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Can I say that I/we ran a tight ship, having never been in any position of power before (or since)? Well, at least once we figured out our dire financial situation my first year as an editor, I can say that we did our job without any (other) major hurdles. Having learned the history of the student paper, one that included early shutdowns, fired editors, conflicts among the staff, libel suits, and a short time where the editors were locked out of the printer and forced to keep the thing in circulation as as a single sheet they printed themselves, I think our time there could probably be seen as pretty boring. No one really sent us any complaints, let alone shut us down, which must indicate something (depending on how full or empty you want to see the glass.)

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07. Overnight

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My year as the assistant editor-in-chief (not quite the top, but close enough) was supposed to be my final hurrah, the year I got do what I wanted to do with the paper (free from needing to complete a degree, as I graduated the year before and was taking a bare minimum of “fun” courses during my “year off to find myself”) with a little help, and it would be the last year the old gang of two-to-three years would be together; we had a new generation waiting in the wings to take over, and with our financial problems mostly dealt with (mostly), we had laid the groundwork for them so they would hopefully have an easier time than we did. I had applied for a graduate program in another province, one for—you guessed it—journalism, and was making headway into that in the months leading up to our final issues. It seemed that my education and career trajectory was finally reaching its apex, and I was going to be moving on.

It didn’t work out. For anyone.

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06. Island

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The student newspaper used to be part of the student union, but several years before my time there, they separated and the newspaper was incorporated as an independent entity (it was probably a good thing that everyone seemingly knew that we were no longer connected, as we would rather not have had to sort through misdirected complaints from pretty much everyone, as complaining about the student union was the one unifying thing on campus.) As part of the deal, though, the student union got a page of the paper every issue to do as they saw fit—they announced events, wrote pieces about whatever the latest campaign was (water bottle bans? Lower student fees? Food drives? They’re all here!), or sometimes just the views of whatever executive or commissioner decided to write that time (they even did some of their own reporting and interviews for things like local elections, sometimes when even we couldn’t find time to do it.) The plus side for us was that it was a page of stuff we didn’t have to work that hard to fill, and most of the student union contributors were good enough writers to not require massive edits, but that just made it all the more frustrating when they were late or didn’t send anything at all; it was the one guaranteed content we had more often than not (aside from some regularly submitted sex ed/advice columns), and we planned around it. Considering that they were more or less getting a free page when no one else was, they of all people had no excuses—so, that on its own made the relationship between us and them a contentious one.

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05. Honour Box

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The campus seems designed to split the entire university into tribes: each of the programs has its own building, and despite the presence of one or more in-between spaces (study spots, the campus bar and coffee shop, the library), they have very little reason to ever venture outside their little domain and interact with the others. Each of the subdivisions on campus (arts, science, education, music, and health) seem to exist in their own pocket worlds, with their own concerns, their own social networks, and even their own subgroups, and if it weren’t for the fact that I was a part of the newspaper and had to report on different issues for all the programs, I might have never even seen the inside of any of the other buildings and knowing any of that. Our campus was not particularly large by any means, by it’s still possible to underestimate its size just because you spend so much time in a select few locations; in service to the entire student body (including ones who seem even less responsive to us than the students we saw in the student union building, the designated neutral zone), we had to get to know the true scope and diversity of the school.

Especially me, because it was usually up to me to deliver the papers to all the stands around campus.

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