Indiana University

Indiana University Journalism

Campus media leaders describe ‘a day in the life’

SoJ Web Report | Aug. 3, 2011
High school students and incoming freshmen often want to know how to get involved in campus media, what kind of opportunities are available and what the work is like.

As the spring semester ends — and summer brings High School Journalism Institute students and IU orientation draws incoming freshmen — School of Journalism reporters decided to profile campus media leaders.

Ryan Dorgan, Zina Kumok and Thomas Miller asked student leaders in yearbook, magazine, newspaper, radio and online media to describe a typical day — and offer a bit of wisdom about how to achieve these dream jobs.

Alex Farris, Arbutus Alyssa Goldman,
Sarah Hutchins, Inside magazine Andrew Olanoff and A.D. Quig, WIUX
Laura Sibley, Emerging Markets Journal     Jake Wright, Indiana Daily Student

Alex Farris, Arbutus 2011 photo editor

Alex Farris
Photo by Thomas Miller
Senior Alex Farris oversaw the photography staff for the 2011 Arbutus. He also worked as a photographer at the IDS.
Although the Arbutus comes out once a year, Alex Farris finds himself working every week to make sure “The Book,” as its affectionately known by its staff, has all the photos it needs.

Farris had previously worked as the photo editor at the Indiana Daily Student and when the position of Arbutus photo editor opened, he jumped on it. Farris said working for the book required a different attitude from working at the IDS.

“It’s the same amount of work spread over a much longer length of time,” Farris said. “Your deadlines are every week instead of every day and that makes a difference.”

Unlike the IDS, where Farris oversaw a staff of photographers, at the Arbutus, Farris and photographer Connor Wollensak find themselves taking the majority of the photos for the book.

“Sometimes, we rely on the IDS,” Farris said, “especially for breaking news, but most of the time were at all the same events as the IDS taking our own photos for the book.”

As photo editor, Farris is tasked with not only taking photos for the book, but also making sure that every image that goes into the book is properly toned and captioned. Since a large number of the photos that run in the book are in black and white, Farris said he sometimes finds himself struggling with a photo that looks great in color but loses something when converted to black and white.

“You need to know how well a photo looks without all the colors,” Farris said. “A lot of times I focused on color, but without that, a photo looks totally different. You have to focus on the other compositional elements.”

Farris also said planning ahead at the Arbutus means something totally different from what it did at the IDS.

“With Arbutus, we plan things all year,” Farris said. “We plan for things in May and the furthest ahead the IDS plans is in December. You need to think about how to fill an amount of space when the pages before and after it have been filled and sent to the printers.”

Farris said his job is about being flexible. He cited an incident where he and the Arbutus staff had planned on making a spread out of rapper Gucci Mane’s visit to campus. When the rapper was arrested and his concert was cancelled, Farris and Wollensak found themselves working under a tight deadline to get the space filled.

“You’ve got to flexible,” Farris said. “That’s probably the most important thing for this job.”

Farris will graduate this year as an Ernie Pyle Scholar, member of Kappa Tau Alpha, and former photo editor at the IDS and Arbutus.

—by Thomas Miller

Alyssa Goldman, IU bureau coordinator

Photo by Ryan Dorgan
Alyssa Goldman worked for newspaper and magazine before signing on with
Longtime IDS writer and Inside staff member Alyssa Goldman has spent this semester working in a different medium: online.

Goldman is a campus correspondent for Her Campus, an online magazine targeting college women. She is the coordinator for the IU “bureau” of Her Campus.

Her duties involve sending out pitch lists, checking up on writers, posting to the site and keeping track of hits of each article. She gets the word out about new articles posted through the Her Campus Facebook and Twitter accounts.

“Posting to our Facebook and our Twitter is really important because no one’s going to know a story is up unless you post to Facebook and Twitter,” she said.

Having worked as city, state and special publications editor at the IDS, and as an editorial assistant and associate editor for Inside, Goldman said she likes the freedom she has with Her Campus.

“I’m basically doing my own women’s magazine,” Goldman said.

Because she is putting most of her effort into Her Campus, Goldman said her schedule is even lighter than it was when she worked for IU Student Media. She usually picks one day to work on Her Campus duties and allocates a few hours to making sure everything is running smoothly.

“I put effort and time into it, but I haven’t found it overwhelming,” she said.

Goldman is studying abroad in Ireland in the fall and doesn’t think she will be the campus correspondent when she returns. But for now, she is happy to be working for Her Campus.

“It’s easy to stay in one thing and do that one thing,” Goldman said. “It’s cool that I’m getting to branch out.”

–By Zina Kumok

Sarah Hutchins, Inside magazine editor

sarah hutchins
Photo by Ryan Dorgan
Senior Sarah Hutchins led Inside magazine spring semester. A former IDS staffer, she compared working for a daily and for a quarterly.
Inside magazine editor-in-chief Sarah Hutchins has given up a lot to lead the magazine: Super Bowl parties with friends, free weekends and getting straight As.

But for her, the hardest thing she had to give up her senior year was writing.

“It’s been really hard for me to not have time for me to work on my own reporting,” Hutchins said. “That was a huge change for me. I have really, really struggled with being OK with that and not feeling guilty that I’m not pursuing writing. I think that’s what a lot of editors feel.”

That isn’t her only sacrifice. Every year, she has a Super Bowl party with friends. But in February, the game fell on a production weekend for Inside. Those are the weekends when the staff comes in at 8 a.m., leaves at 1 a.m. and repeats that the next day.

Luckily, her friends understood.

“They’ve been pretty supportive,” Hutchins said.

Her personal life is not the only that she has had to put on hold. During her freshman year, Hutchins said her school work came first, then personal life, then journalism. Now, says the senior, “school work has floated to the bottom.”

Hutchins worked as a features editor for the Indiana Daily Student before moving to Inside. She says her schedule now is different from her desk editor days.

“It’s not an IDS kind of schedule where you know you have a block of time sitting in office,” she said. “You have to be on call to be there when problems arise.”

Another big difference from the IDS is how she and her staff have more time to thoroughly go over the content for Inside.

“Because of daily time restraints, you don’t always have that opportunity a daily newspaper,” she said.

Before she became editor-in-chief, Hutchins said that she wasn’t aware of how many little things she would have to do. It’s those details that cut into her time.

“I write advertising copy for marketing, help coordinate blog posts, help coordinate feature packages and set up photo shoots, and talk with Larry (Buchanan) about the direction of a package, and come up with headlines, figure out and schedule IDS packages, go to meetings with Ron (Johnson),” she said, ticking off her duties.

Because Inside comes out only four times a year, Hutchins said it is important to make sure that each issue is the best it can be.

“You have so many opportunities to make a better product,” she said. “For us, we only have four issues so if you’re not terribly happy with one of them, then it’s one fourth of the year you wasted.”

Luckily, she has plenty to be proud of this year. Inside won the Society for Professional Journalists' Region 5 award for best student magazine. The pieces reporters Caitlin Johnston and Danielle Paquette won Hearst awards for were published in Inside.

“It’s always incredible to me what people can produce when you push them,” Hutchins said.

–By Zina Kumok

Andrew Olanoff and A.D. Quig, WIUX radio

Photo by Ryan Dorgan
Andrew Olanoff, standing, has worked at WIUX since he was a freshman and will be general manager in the fall.
With more than 400 students involved in one way or another, WIUX is Indiana University’s largest student organization. But most would never guess. Most listeners don’t even know where the station is.

Juniors Andrew Olanoff and A.D. Quig spend so much time in the old house near the corner of Eighth and Woodlawn that they don’t even bother to keep count of the hours anymore.

“I guarantee if you asked anyone on our staff how many hours a week they’re here at the station, they would laugh. You’re just here. You don’t really think about it,” Olanoff said.

Olanoff came on board at WIUX as a freshman with a 3 a.m. radio show and has since worked his way up to programming director of the station. In the fall, he will take the position as general manager.

His job now is more managerial than anything. His daily duties – all volunteer, just like the other 400 students who work at the station – include writing the program log, which tells DJs what advertising spots to play and when to play them, answering emails and scheduling fill-ins for DJs who have to miss their shift.

“I basically work for the DJs and act as a liaison to the directors,” Olanoff said. “You just try to handle whatever needs to happen between the DJ and the station, and you try to keep it on schedule as much as possible.”

And it’s been a pretty hectic year at the station. Olanoff reviewed 213 DJ applications in the fall and selected about 150 of those for one- or two-hour slots within the station’s 168-hour weekly schedule.

“I don't think we’ve ever put this many people on air,” he said. “Right now, there’s only three or four hours in the whole schedule that aren’t filled by a live DJ, which is pretty impressive considering we’re an all-volunteer, student-run radio station.”

The station’s programming is mostly music, but there are quite a few brave students who choose to go the route of talk radio, be it sports, commentary or general news reporting.

Quig oversees much of the talk-oriented programming at the station, having worked her way to news director after joining WIUX as a reporter her freshman year.

“A.D. honestly restarted news here at the station, and she’s been great,” Olanoff said of Quig. “She’s one of the more professional people we have here. She’s really done a lot for us.”
ad quig
Photo by Ryan Dorgan
Junior A.D. Quig is interested in adding more public affairs next year. She's interested in radio news.
WIUX currently features two news hours, scheduled at 7 p.m. every Friday and Sunday. Quig would like to expand the station’s news presence to include half-hour slots interspersed between its music slots.

“There’s a lot more public affairs programming that I’d like to do next year,” Quig said. “I’d also like to incorporate more sports features and interviews with athletes” as opposed to what she says is mainly commentary and opinion this year.

A self-proclaimed policy-geek, Quig finds much of her inspiration for news by listening to NPR.

“I always liked to write and I was obsessed with Meet The Press and shows about policy,” she said. “I knew I wanted to do journalism but I didn’t know what I wanted to do in journalism until I started in radio.”

Radio, Quig says, has the ability to connect the listener to the story unlike any other medium.

“I’ll be speaking with someone and I’ll say, ‘A friend just told me this really great story’ and then I’ll catch myself and be like, ‘Oh wait… I heard it on the radio. That was not a friend that told me that. That was on This American Life. That was Ira Glass whispering in my ear.’”

Quig just learned she landed a 10-week internship at WSBT radio in South Bend this summer, another chance for her to learn more about radio news. She and others see WIUX as a path to professionalism.

“You realize that as professional as you want to be, we’re all just students. This is still a learning opportunity,” Olanoff said. “But it does make me happy to think that people take us so seriously, that they expect complete professionalism out of us. That just makes us want to do our job even better and that’s more important than anything.”
—By Ryan Dorgan

Laura Sibley, Emerging Markets Journal

laura sibley
Photo by Ryan Dorgan
Junior Laura Sibley enjoys blending media with her interests in global business as editor of Emerging Markets Journal.
Laura Sibley has always enjoyed writing, but it wasn’t until her senior year in high school that she discovered her interest in business and economics – an interest that would lead the Birmingham, Ala., native to Indiana to double major in journalism and economics.

It also led to her work for the Emerging Markets Journal.

“I really liked the feel of IU,” Sibley said. “I liked that they had a lot of variety in terms of what you could do, what was available, and how much time you wanted to devote to extra stuff outside your school work.”

She wrote a handful of stories for the Indiana Daily Student, but found that working with the Emerging Markets Journal was something “entirely different” from the work she had done with IU Student Media.

Sibley got involved with the journal, which is published twice a semester by the Emerging Markets Club in the Kelley School of Business, after reading about a call-out meeting in the School of Journalism student newsletter her sophomore year.

Now as a junior, she is editor of the journal.

“It’s been a really great opportunity for me to combine my two disciplines in journalism and economics,” she said.

The journal usually features between 10 and 15 articles that cover all sorts of topics. The only requirement, Sibley said, is that the articles focus on issues stemming from emerging markets.

“Emerging markets are economies that are quickly growing to the point where they’re not some of the wealthiest countries, but they’re growing to the point where they’re catching up with the U.S. in terms of standards of living,” she said.

The stories aren’t the sort only a business major could love. Sibley spoke of a recent article she wrote about Argentina.

“Argentina is really well-known for their beef,” she said. “I wrote an article about how they are now exporting bull semen instead of selling bulls for their meat. Essentially they are taking these good bulls and they’re selling their DNA so that breeders can use it to produce more bulls with this great meat. It’s really interesting stuff.”

And while Sibley is pleased with her work at the journal thus far, she acknowledges that there’s always room for improvement.

“We’ve been trying to reach out and get more students from outside the club and outside the business school to get involved,” she said. “I think that a lot of people overlook the business and economic side of the news because they find it dull, but I think it would be really cool to have people from other disciplines who are interested in talking about and discussing these issues come write for the journal.”

She often finds herself putting her journalism school education into practice while editing the journal. Many students who contribute to the journal haven't had the extensive training in in-depth research writing and peer-editing that Sibley picked up in her J200 Reporting, Writing and Editing I and II classes and J342 Magazine Reporting courses.

“I’ve been trying to kind of make the editing process with the journal more collaborative,” she said. “Previously, editors just made changes and then sent a draft back to the writer to OK those changes. I’m trying to work with individual students and kind of talk the draft through and figure out why something is written the way it is.”

—By Ryan Dorgan

Jake Wright, IDS editor-in-chief

jake wright
Photo by Ryan Dorgan
Junior Jake Wright was editor-in-chief of the IDS this spring. His advice: Be prepared for anything.
For Indiana Daily Student editor-in-chief Jake Wright, there is no such thing as a typical day.

During any minute, news can break that can completely change what will be in the paper the next day. Or he could spend all day just editing with no surprises.

“You’re still doing the same thing in that you’re producing a paper and editing copy every day, but that same process isn’t the same every day,” said the journalism junior.

Wright said that while he and his staff cannot plan for every possible emergency, they can plan for how they will react to it.

“It’s just mostly being prepared to know how to respond,” he said.

Unlike some editors-in-chief, Wright didn’t always want to be in charge. It was not until he was art director last summer and a managing editor in the fall that he realized he wanted to lead the IDS.

But as a freshman, “I thought it was going to be way too stressful and I couldn’t’ handle it,” he said.

Wright’s daytime duties include editing copy, coordinating with desk editors, planning dummies, making sure there’s content later in the week, and talking to angry readers.

“It’s not always super, super busy, it’s just non-stop,” he said. “I’m always doing something.”

Being editor-in-chief this semester means that when news breaks, he has to make sure that the IDS is on top of it. When student Brian Macken died in January, Wright had to drop his Friday night plans to make sure they had the story covered.

“It’s hard especially when the people you’re with don’t work here, so they don’t understand why it’s such a big deal for you to be on top of that news,” Wright said. “It’s hard to have a social life when things are happening. You’re always on call.”

Those are not the only sacrifices he has made in order to be editor. By being editor-in-chief, Wright has also given up the chance to write and design for the paper.

“Being a desk editor, you still have some time to write,” he said. “When you’re a managing editor or editor-in-chief, you have no time.”

For anyone who wants his job, Wright offered a piece of advice. Make sure you care enough about the paper before you sign up for the 40-hour-a-week workload.

“If you hesitate at all and have a doubt in your mind, you’re not going to last,” he said.

After Wright took on the job, Tom French told him that he was joining an elite club. French, BA’81, now a Riley visiting professor at the School of Journalism, was editor-in-chief in 1980. Not many people have been editors of the IDS, and Wright said when he meets a former editor, they instantly relate to one another.

“When I run into people who worked at the IDS and were editor-in-chiefs here, we have a bond,” Wright said.

—By Zina Kumok

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