Editors’ Blog – Editor-in-Chief is a hard job, but worth it? Absolutely
by Delaney Chambers & Hannah Shaddock
When people find out you are Editor-in-Chief of Palatinate, you prepare yourself for one inevitable question: “What does the Editor do?”
To save time, we usually answer something along the lines of “Everything”, or “What don’t they do?”, but this is clearly unhelpful (although by no means inaccurate).
The truth is, the multitude of responsibilities and expectations accompanying the job of Palatinate Editor would come as a shock to the average Durham student; despite our preparation and the help we received from last term’s Editors, the sheer weight of the workload still came as a surprise to us.
Over Christmas, we were not only faced with a legacy of complaints and protests from many voices, including the University, but also the task of hiring a plethora of new editors and fixing an on-going problem with the temperamental website.
Hundreds of e-mails, dozens of Skype interviews, and endless Facebook discussions later, we had sorted most of our issues, hired a staff any national newspaper would be proud to call its own, had a just-about-functioning website and had begun organising the content for the first issue.
At this point, I think we would both admit that we were beginning to wonder what we had got ourselves into – especially as it was only just beginning.
Our first two weeks back at university were crammed with so many meetings (with everyone from the DSU Chief Exec to the University’s Media Relations team to our new staff) that we were beginning to forget that our main purpose here in Durham is to get a degree, not to edit a newspaper.
Spending endless hours in the office explaining the intricacies of our un-cooperative publishing software for the 1,000th time, responding politely to the steady stream of e-mails, whether complaints, press releases, or potential contributors, and, last but not least, what we fondly call Seven-hour Sundays, which are spent frantically making sure the paper is fit to print on Monday morning and panicking when we spot a missing photo credit or a pixelated photo.
The inevitable question, then: is it all worth it? In a word, yes. For any aspiring journalist or editor this an invaluable experience, and, although it may take over our lives, for ten short weeks, this is a more than fair price to pay.The simple fact is, although it’s a lot of work, we wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t love it. (In fact, you probably couldn’t do it if you didn’t love it.)
Besides, it is not all meetings and e-mails. We don’t forget that we are privileged to produce a newspaper for students, by students, investigating issues relevant to and important to us, and to our readers.
This is our duty as Editors and journalists: our essential purpose is – as long as the facts are present and we’ve done all we can to ensure fairness – to cover every matter relevant to our readers, as students but also (as ex-Editor and Comment contributor Dan Johnson recognises in his piece here) consumers.
We may not be paid, but the role of Editor-in-Chief is a job, and we treat it as one. Although you may not know us when you pass us on the street, we are, in everything we do, representing you and your opinions, which you are entitled to express without fear of reprisal or punishment.We do this job because we care about Palatinate and the student voice, which, although sometimes misguided or deliberately provocative, is more often intelligent, eloquent, and well-informed.
And then there are the people: Palatinate is home to an unreasonable amount of clever, funny, talented individuals (even, if we say so ourselves), who make the fortnightly socials a perk of the job.
Whether it’s the Politics Editors figuring out cut-outs, the News team pulling their first Palatinate ‘all-dayer’, or the Sport and News Features Eds working together to produce an exemplary PalatinAlps spread, the effort we put in behind the scenes is all worth it when you see the results. We only hope you agree.
Have a question or comment for the Palatinate Editors? Let us know in the comments below, or e-mail us at email@example.com.