By Sarah Stubbs
Even though it feels like this still isn’t real and time can’t possibly be going fast enough to allow this, my first semester of editing the Pulse is officially in the books.
As I frantically work on my final papers and projects for all of my English and journalism classes, I thought that some Pulse reflection for my final editorial of the semester would be a nice mental break and a good reminder of why I work as hard as I do.
Going into this semester, I had a lot of goals for the Pulse. I was actually probably a little too ambitious with my goals as I haven’t yet achieved them all – which is OK, I still have three more semesters to create my Pulse legacy – but all ambitions aside, I am extremely pleased with how the semester has gone.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, here’s what a typical Pulse week looks like: Sunday afternoon I prepare for meetings (surfing the web, texting and emailing my adviser, Amy Rogan); at 7:30 p.m., the Pulse staff meets in 1145 the Village and we collaboratively brainstorm and discuss story ideas with Rogan; I send out story and photo assignments that night and then the staff is expected to interview, research, shoot, or write their content throughout the week.
Almost every week I write one of the main news stories and I always write a weekly editorial, so I have to hold myself accountable with scheduling interviews and making time to write, too. When Saturday rolls around, stories are due before midnight. Then, the cycle begins again before it’s even over – I start to plan for the next issue of the Pulse even though the current one hasn’t even been designed yet. Sunday through Tuesday becomes a team effort of Rogan and I to obtain and copyedit all the content and make sure that each story is print-ready. Once we get all of the files finalized, Tijana Raicevic (our talented design editor) begins the tedious design process. When headlines, captions, and cutlines are written and the paper is looking pristine, I send it off to the printer and I go to bed with a weight lifted off of my shoulders.
That’s how it’s supposed to go. But that’s not always how it goes. There are almost always bumps in the road – writers couldn’t get the interviews they needed scheduled, an email got lost in my inbox, a more important story sprang up that needs attention, or we are just having trouble filling space or getting everything to fit.
Each new week often brings a new challenge, but we always get through them and we always get a little bit better each time.
Under the pressure of the never-ending news cycle, the Pulse has managed to put out some great content. We wrote informative, interesting stories this semester, ranging from the football team’s prison practice to Ben Carson’s brief visit to a run-down of the cadaver lab at UF. We also investigated campus crime, student attendance at football games, and a political awareness.
Thanks to Raicevic, we now have a clean logo and professional layout each week. She takes such care in the design process and I’m so grateful for her perfectionism – she allows the Pulse to present its best self.
Something different than years past that we accomplished as a staff this semester was the addition of an entertainment section. Every few weeks we feature music reviews by Jordan Garcia and movie reviews by Morgan Clark. Garcia is a musician himself and writes all of his critiques from an extremely informed place and Clark’s love for film shines in his reviews, too.
We’ve had special editions – something that wasn’t done in the recent past and was brought to my attention by my motivated adviser – including the Welcome Weekend edition, Homecoming edition, Halloween edition, and now our holiday edition.
Our newly redesigned website is up and running, thanks to the hard work of Sri Phani. And our social media has been booming with the help of web editor, Jordyn Willis, and Kevin Schrock’s live-tweeting home football games.
Looking forward to next semester, my goals are to incorporate more photography and infographics into the Pulse, complete more investigative stories, start delivering off-campus, and get Oilers excited about the 2016 election.
Since we’re all amateurs here (this is a student newspaper – in case you forgot), there might be a learning curve, but we are all treading these political waters together. You might have noticed the “Pulse on Politics” graphic that Raicevic created branded on each of our political pieces in the last few issues. That is something that will continue to appear into the next two semesters as we increase political coverage.
I personally don’t think that there is enough political awareness or opportunity to be informed on our campus, and my hope for the Pulse is that we can provide students with an objective starting place to learn about the issues that are important to college students and the future of our country.
Since I plan to go into public affairs reporting after college, I’m excited to learn the ins and outs of political reporting and government affairs. And, I’m even more excited to help inform my classmates about important issues along the way.
If you’re an avid Pulse reader and have suggestions on how the Pulse can better serve and inform the UF community, please don’t hesitate to send me an email.