Around this time last year, The Poly was under both editorial and monetary stress. At the beginning of the Fall 2013 semester, we owed the Union a significant amount of money, and as a result, staff morale was at an all time low. Consisting mostly of upperclassmen members, the Poly staff was burned out from years of late Tuesday composing nights. As a result, in mid-October, most Poly members reasonably resigned from the newspaper to focus on schoolwork. I like to call this the Poly purge. Frankly, it was more of a bad thing than good.
The abrupt leave of more than half of our editorial staff left Ethan Spitz ’15, Joseph Shen ’16, Justin Jones ’13, Ryan Baltazar ’14, and former Editors in Chief Dan Bruce, and Spencer Posson ’14, and myself as the only senior members on the newspaper. Our staff totaled about seven people. Some of us had to juggle laying out multiple sections, writing articles, and copy reading all in one night, instead of focusing on one task. It was common to see our fair share of Poly sunrises. But, I think that we pulled through overall, providing commendable campus coverage, exciting hockey articles, and beautiful spreads for the RPI community. All the while, we were making a profit in advertisements on each issue to pay back our debt to the Union. We gave it our all every night and demonstrated persistence to the very end.
It’s truly amazing what life can throw at you. In high school, I would never have imagined joining the paper, or even becoming Editor in Chief at that. I’d have laughed in your face. I thought my English education ended with my Advanced Placement Language and Composition course in high school; ha, I’m going to RPI. But since involving myself with the paper during the first semester of my freshman year, I’ve gained experience in not only proofreading and news-style article writing, but also reviewing media, using Adobe InDesign, taking photographs, and even soliciting advertisements from local businesses. I didn’t even mention the work needed to maintain our server and website, level photos, or create logos. I’d never thought about how many parts there are to a newspaper, but now it blows my mind how many functions are called in The Poly. The total man hours probably exceed 150 a week.
Me? I put in an average of 20 hours a week, just for the paper. And, it’s not like I sit around twiddling my thumbs either; it’s stressful work managing a section, or for me, managing the whole paper. And those 20 hours don’t include texting or calling other Poly members to make sure they’re on track or accomplishing what needs to be done.
Let me remind you if you didn’t know before; we don’t get paid. We do this for the community, and we do this to make sure that anyone who wants a voice on campus has the opportunity. We do this to see people pick up the paper every week and see their faces light up at the mention of their name or organization. We do this for glory.
So I think that in the past year, we’ve made great strides in recruiting additional members, making a profit through advertisements, and disseminating Poly-technical information within the editorial staff. It was difficult, but that’s life. The truth is, no one knows what one’s doing until one’s been put in the hot seat. And even then, we can only try our best and press on.