I applied to be on the Mycenaean staff at the end of my freshman year because Broer told me that I should. At the time, newspaper, journalism, the written word, meant very little to me. But the ego boost of being told to apply by the advisor was hard to turn down. And so I copied down my schedule, answered a few questions about my work ethic and writing skills, had a couple of recommendation sheets filled out by teachers and handed in my application. (Yes, I have been here for so long that when I first applied, writing samples were not required. Thankfully. I wasn’t a good writer back then.)
I have seen The Mycenaean staff go through cycles of serious to senioritis to misfits. My first editor was Pierre Lourens, whose no-nonsense leadership scared me to no end. I will never forget the first time that I turned in an article for editing and saw it later, completely highlighted, with one word of advice “no.” I will also never forget the first time that I used the same editing tactic on one of my staff writers the next year (sorry, Brendan, but you’ll thank me someday for my tough love policy. Friends 4eva!).
When I came onto the staff as a sophomore, the method of article-writing was done via Microsoft Word. We used a shared directory on the school servers and working on articles from home required a lot of jumping through hoops. We were also given passes to carry with us for interviews and miscellaneous hallway roaming. These passes were black and white, laminated and smaller than 3×5 index cards. Compared to the colorful and personalized passes of our enemies, The Menagerie staff, ours were utterly drab. The most obvious way to correct this problem was to continually lose our passes until Broer grew weary of reprinting them.
Mycenies were cranking out quality, thought-provoking, researched articles on the regular back in the day. I’m talking book reviews, critical insights into society, overseas events and American government. I don’t know if the difference in types of articles was based on leadership, but the atmosphere of class time back then was much more focused than that of years following.
In the 2009-10 school year, Newspaper was in room 126 and during fourth period. The following year, we moved upstairs to room 240 and had a schedule change that put us in the beginning of the day. On a staff of 18, and seniors numbered 11 of our staff. People (meaning remaining writers and our regular readers) call the ‘10-11 Mycenaean years the “newspaper diary,” courtesy of the senior staff who had trouble pulling together the energy to leave their seats in search of real stories as the spring months approached. I would not understand the crippling force of senioritis until my own affliction a year later.
And that, dear reader, brings us to the current year. I would be a liar if I said that the addition of so many new writers to a staff of just a few veterans didn’t make me worry for the future of The Mycenaean. While we may have been off to a rocky start as the newbies had to learn news writing vs. English paper writing, I am proud of how far the staff has come.
It was this year that we started the Twitter account, the Pinterest board, Food Fridays and designed staff shirts. With such a freshly added staff, I never expected that we could make such strides. Guys – I’m sorry for ever doubting The Mycenaean staff’s ability to be better than everyone else at Leesville.
It has been hard for me to come to terms with the end of my era at Leesville, even more so to end my “legacy” with Leesville journalism. I’m not convinced that I won’t have a complete mental collapse over the summer when all of the goodbyes finally sink in. Being on the newspaper staff has taught me patience (layout, editing), leadership (layout, editing) and friendship (everything).
No matter what happens next year, whether it be about leadership, new writers, censorship, or a lack of hard-hitting news to report on — never stop trying. If I learned anything from my three years writing for the newspaper, it’s that sometimes you have to bite the bullet and write about a club meeting or officer elections. But sometimes you’ll get lucky and be able to review hit movies like The Hunger Games (I will not apologize for calling advance dibs on that one, by the way).
Don’t be afraid to try to write sports articles, even if you don’t understand the game. Players, other writers and previous articles will teach you. Everyone likes to be talked about and interviewed (even if they are in a classroom outside of the main building).
And remember that when you need a title for an article, I’m never more than a text message away.
Virginia Reed is a superb writer and an even better friend. She enjoys unhealthy foods and writing sarcastic articles. Virginia is the Online Editor for the 2011-12 school year and was a Managing Editor for the 2010-11 year but has not forgotten her humble beginnings as a staff writer when she was a wee sophomore. Her goals for the future are to get an A in newspaper and to apply to college in a timely fashion.