Friday, May 1, 2009

Five issues in, still alive.

After two and a half weeks at the helm as TNH's new executive editor, I can say I'm coping well. I'm proud of the work I've produced so far, and I'm confident that I can do a better job too. Some of the small mistakes I've made have been stressful, but nothing to fret about for more than a few hours. It's part of the job description: mistakes happen. So, through five issues, I'm happy with where we are as a staff. I do need to find another sports editor and decide on a news editor as well, but we have enough manpower to get us through the last two weeks so I can make the decision over the summer.

I'm excited to see the paper next year, when a new flag and overall look to the paper will be complete. In the meantime, I've become a little too comfortable with John's layout because I find myself not wanting to change anything, but that wouldn't be much fun. So, I will go a little against the grain, but I will certainly keep the modularity and strong knowledge of good newspaper design intact (something the paper did not do well for most of 2007-2008).

To stop this post from being entirely uninteresting (which it is currently), I've compiled a rundown of what I like about the new job and what I don't like. Sort of a Friday tradition: TNH Thumbs up, Thumbs down -- blog edition.
  • Thumbs up to putting as many references to Detroit sports as I want in the opinion and forum sections. Suck on that, Bostonians!
  • Thumbs down to the ridiculous number of sleep hours lost. I knew it was coming, but 20 hours in a given school week? Really? Ouch.
  • Thumbs up to writing editorials. Easily my favorite part of the job so far. Yeah, they can be a hassle when I haven't finished one and it's already 1 a.m. and all the rest of the pages have been laid out, but it's my favorite style of writing. It really lets my voice come out. Like a column, but less outwardly opinionated.
  • Thumbs down to email lists. The sheer number of pointless emails I get is crazy. No, I don't care that some band called The Warlocks leaked their supposed "hit" titled "Red Camera" onto the internet. Spare me. And no, I don't want to cover a story about a guy pretending to be Shakespeare on Twitter (@WillShake if you're intrigued). Oy vey. And why does "unsubscribe" never seem to work? Subscribing at any point is like killing someone. You're looking at a life sentence, whether you want it or not.
  • Thumbs up to having final say on the front page. Our front pages have been excellent this year, and it's nice to be able to help my partner in crime, Nate Batch, design it, lay it out and proof it. Then when it hits news stands the next day, I have the accomplishment at my fingertips. It's a good feeling.
  • Thumbs down to forgetting things. This seems to happen every day. Sometimes it's little things, like forgetting to send out the email edition on production night, but sometimes it's bigger things, like forgetting to set an alarm and sleeping through class. I have yet to go a day on the job where there wasn't something I forgot to do at the end of the day, but I think that will get better next year when I only have three classes to worry about.
  • Thumbs up to leaving at the exact right time in UNH sports. Sorry Brandon, but when I left the sports editor position on April 15th, I was very happy. Your pages have been great and you're improving every issue, but I don't know how I would cope with women's lacrosse being the forefront to every issue after all the beautiful hockey layouts Joe and I had over the semester. It's nice to only worry about proofing those pages and not designing them.
  • Thumbs down to sacrifice. I'm all for sacrificing my time spent watching Transformers on HBO for the 48th time (I <3 Megan Fox), but I've lost many of my hobbies since taking over the position. Playing guitar, free reading, weight lifting, and lounging have all been left by the wayside as I spend more time running or working in the office on ideas for next year.
  • Thumbs up to staff relations. We're all such good friends and it makes the twice-a-week newsroom experience so much fun. There's hardly any tension, we make time for goofing off and we come out with a good product. I really love working with the friends I've made over the past couple years at TNH.
That's about all I got. I want to start working on a photoshop file that is extremely juvenile but perfect for my hatred of the Anaheim Ducks. Chris Pronger is a cheap-shot giving sasquatch, that's all you need to know. Happy Friday everyone, have a good weekend!

And, most importantly, Go Wings.


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