I’ve always been told to leave things better than when I found them. When I joined the senior board of The Polytechnic, we weren’t in a very good spot. As I explained in my previous Editorial Corner, the staff was small, and advertising money was lacking. But what I think was most significant was the alarming knowledge gap between the staff then, Fall 2013, and the staff of, say, Fall 2010.
The paper consists of at least 10 different parts, which all need each other to function. Advertising provides funds for the entire paper, and the business manager tracks those funds. Without them, the paper will not be able to print. No money means no paper. They’re both not difficult jobs, but they are demanding. They require knowledge of the advertising rates, ties with the Union Administration Office, and social capability. It sounds simple, but if the advertising section didn’t have training from the previous advertising director, the job becomes orders of magnitude harder.
In Fall 2010, the staff was approximately 15 people strong. During that time, if a section was lacking, someone else was there to fill in temporarily. Both the know-how and the manpower were there. However, in Fall 2013, with more than half the knowledge and people leaving, it was a nightmare putting the paper together. Many useful tips and guidance on how to layout sections or to process for managing a section were not passed down.
When I was thrust into being news editor, I learned many tricks and managing abilities on my own. It was a struggle every Tuesday night to, at the same time, figure out how to use InDesign and layout the section. But now I know how awful it was suffering like that, and I never wish it upon future Poly members. Therefore, since then, I’ve worked hard to build up the Poly staff and build a Poly culture that’s a fun environment for everyone, so that people will want to join, so that there are more people to pass the knowledge down to, and so that this newspaper is better off for RPI.
The Poly staff is now almost 20 people. We have a handful of bright, new people that are willing to learn how to layout, report on events, and edit. And we do have the older members, myself included, to provide guidance and direct support on how to run the paper.
We, as the paper, are on an upward trend. Since last year, we’ve more than doubled the size of our staff and relayed a substantial amount of layout and general information to the next generation of Poly people. In the future, be prepared for better coverage and better style from all of us on the Poly.
To those new on staff, good luck!