Reflections on Four Years at Goucher College: The Q

"The 2010-2011 Editorial Board of The Quindecim poses in their newsroom on Monday, May 2, 2011."

My reflections about my time at Goucher College are not complete without some closing thoughts on The Quindecim, the institution that gave me a sense of purpose on campus and defined me professionally and personally. 

After being voted Editor-In-Chief of the newspaper, I led an extensive revitalization of all aspects of the publication. These efforts transformed The Quindecim from an inconsistent and unprofessional newspaper to a reliable, recognizable, and revered institution on campus. You can read about what we set out to accomplish at the start of that process here

We did a huge service to the Goucher community, one that unfortunately has been taken for granted and has gone largely unrewarded. You’ll get a sense of what I mean if you read here

What I didn’t refer to much in those articles, though, is the impact The Q had on my life at Goucher, and subsequently, in the professional realm. I joined as a photographer at the start of my sophomore year, and despite quickly developed frustrations about the editorial leadership of the paper, I was shooting every day. I was now more than just a photography student in a class. I had deadlines to hit and events to cover. Knowing that my photographs would be seen by more than just one professor, I forced myself to do better work. 

I was named Photography Editor soon after, and because Goucher is such a tight-knit community, I donned a “the kid with the camera at every event imaginable” type persona. It was this visibility that led to countless photo opportunities for the Office of Communications, The Quarterly, The Sports Information desk, the Dance and Music departments, Goucher Hillel, and other various student clubs. My newspaper portfolio was also good enough to land me my Photography internship with the Baltimore Orioles. 

As I started reporting and writing more as well, my involvement grew and grew. Serving as Editor-In-Chief was the most grueling task of my college years, but was without a doubt also the most gratifying. I learned about ethics, tough decision making, working alongside others, organization, time management, attention to details, the risks of making mistakes, and recognition and lack of recognition for good work. These are lessons that reach far beyond a newsroom. 

I view joining The Q as one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. As silly as it seems, those first photography assignments about bed bugs and campus housing shortages remain just as important to me as any assignment for a more well-known publication. Without those assignments, I never would have gotten to The Baltimore Sun or The New York Times. Those first photographs ignited a passion that I hope will turn into a career, and for that, I love The Q.

Issue 14 – The Quindecim, The Independent Student Newspaper of Goucher College

"The Quindecim, The Independent Student Newspaper of Goucher College - Issue 14 - May 9, 2011 - Front Page"

On top of final exams, papers, and projects, we published our fourteenth and final issue of The Quindecim yesterday. In fact, it was a 24 page issue, our largest of the year. 

It was easily the most strenuous round of layout and production that we’ve ever had. Those layout nights are awful and wonderful at the same time. The only thing running through your head at 3 a.m. is how much you hate being there, yet when you think back on it several days after, you can’t help but smile. Here is a podcast I recorded and produced as my final project for the Writing for New Media class I’m enrolled in. It gives a sense of what those layout nights in the office are like. Take a listen:

We made several mistakes this issue, some of them major and some of them not. People were quick to point them out, which they should be when they see mistakes in their student newspaper. We’re all students though, each passionate about something different, and there’s a way to point out those mistakes in a way that’s considerate and constructive.

And I won’t let those comments leave a sour taste to the end of an incredible year. It’s imperative to note where The Quindecim was last year: lying in the dust. Without a doubt, there’s still mistakes, and there’s still much to improve upon, but look at all it’s become in just a year.

As you hear in the podcast, what’s most important is the lessons learned, friendships formed, and memories made. Be sure to check back for more closing remarks on The Quindecim to come shortly. 

Issue 13 – The Quindecim, The Independent Student Newspaper of Goucher College

"The Quindecim, The Independent Student Newspaper of Goucher College - Issue 13 - April 22, 2011 - Front Page"

Our second to last issue of the year was a collaboration of current editors, soon-to-be editors, and staff, which is what I’d hoped it would be going into it. 

It’s a nice issue overall, although there were several sloppy mistakes that shouldn’t be acceptable on any publication, let alone ours. These were mainly logistical in nature rather than content-related.

There was one mistake, though, that taught us a good lesson: whatever material you publish, no matter how small or insignificant you think it may be, will get read and can be used against you if done incorrectly.

That being said, we’ve got a strong head of steam going into production week of our final issue! I’ll have much more to say when that time comes along. 

Issue 12 – The Quindecim, The Independent Student Newspaper of Goucher College

"The Quindecim, The Independent Student Newspaper of Goucher College - Issue 12 - April 8, 2011 - Front Page"

Congratulations to Missy Ballinghoff and Shay Kettner, next year’s Co Editors-In-Chief of The Quindecim, for successfully putting their first issue to press! 

It’s a complete, twenty page issue full of solid articles. Unfortunately, the pages came out a little light, which was out of our control.

“It’s always a lot of work, but once you have it in your hands, and you see other students reading it, it’s worth it,” said Kettner. “We bonded as Co-Chiefs and we were able to prove that we could keep The Q alive,” added Ballinghoff.

 Their trial work over the past several weeks has proven that The Q is, without a doubt, in good hands next year.

APRIL FOOL’S! Issue 11 – The Quindecim, The Independent Student Newspaper of Goucher College

"The Quindecim, The Independent Student Newspaper of Goucher College - Issue 11 - April 1, 2011 - Front Page

Today we distributed our April Fool’s Day issue of Eht Micedniuq to campus. It was a lot of fun to produce this issue. We deserve a break after all the hard work we’ve done this year.

I’m sure we’ll get some flack from some people on campus, but so far, the feedback has been positive. One person called it “fantastic” and another described it as “wickedly funny and pure genius.”

Lots of people are also laughing about that goofy little boy on the front page. I don’t see what’s so funny.

Grinding towards graduation.

 

"A dog stands at the ready before chasing a ball on Kappa Field at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida Sunday, March 13, 2011."

I’m glad to be back on the blog after a brief hiatus during an otherwise extremely productive Spring Break. I did get to spend a weekend relaxing and playing tennis in Florida. This photograph is obviously nothing special, but I decided to post it so that I have a record of the trip.

Besides those two lazy days, though, I took advantage of the time off to continue working on the various projects and commitments I’m involved in this semester.

Today marks the beginning of a final push towards graduation from Goucher College in approximately eight weeks. The Q, the courts, the classroom, the Senior Thesis, and the planning for life after Goucher are all in full swing (awful pun intended).

There’s no doubt it’s going to be a grind, but I’m focused and I’ll do my best to enjoy every second of it.

Issue 10 – The Quindecim, The Independent Student Newspaper of Goucher College

 

"The Quindecim, The Independent Student Newspaper of Goucher College - Issue 10 - March 4, 2011 - Front Page"

Another two weeks, another complete issue of The Quindecim in the books. Layout went extremely quickly this time around. It’s a good lesson on the importance of deadlines. Everything came in early, so we were able to finish a whole day earlier.

I’ve also made it to the interviewing phase of my Senior Honors Thesis project about cases of censorship among student newspapers on College and University campuses, so I’ve had the chance to speak with some other current and former student editors. I’ve enjoyed speaking with them because it’s so easy to relate through the experience of working on a student newspaper.

It’s comforting to know that the good student journalists go through the same struggles and run into the same problems that we do, yet through it all still wouldn’t trade in the work that they do for anything.

Love for the paper is too strong.

Issue 9 – The Quindecim, The Independent Student Newspaper of Goucher College

 

"The Quindecim, The Independent Student Newspaper of Goucher College - Issue 9 - February 18, 2011 - Front Page"

It’s hard to believe, but The Quindecim published it’s second issue of the semester last Friday. As a whole, we didn’t do well with deadlines, which made for a rough week with little sleep. I’m taking it as a reminder that we’ve all got full schedules and lots of other parts of life to balance, so we can’t let missed deadlines take over our week.

That being said, it’s weeks like last where it’s easy to feel severely under appreciated by this College for the work that we do. Administrators and trustees are always quick to remind us of what an accomplishment this transformation has been and what a boon The Quindecim has become for the school.

Yet there’s nothing there for us.

News is always happening. It doesn’t stop over Mid-Semester break, Winter break, Spring break, or Summer vacation. Being an editor on The Quindecim simply requires significantly longer hours than just about any other position held by students. It is a round-the-clock, round-the-semester, round-the-year responsibility. It’s not just one meeting per week, or one event per semester.

Every two weeks, editors spend entire nights producing the newspaper so that it meets our deadline. On top of academics, athletics, and the trials of the college experience, editors pull consecutive all-nighters cooped up in a room above the Gopher Hole to ensure Goucher gets its newspaper on time.

Working on the newspaper is a grind, one that our editors endure on a biweekly basis.

For that work, we are unpaid and receive no academic credit. What’s more, at the end of this semester, our reward for publishing 14 comprehensive, lengthy issues of the newspaper this year will be a significant pile of debt.

Here’s the truth: Until another group of editors as enthusiastic, motivated, and crazy as we are comes along, which I doubt will be soon, The Quindecim will never be this good again. Until an infrastructure to fund this newspaper – not as a student club as we’re currently considered, but as a necessary and vital institution on this campus – is created, it’ll regress to what it was before: dead in the water.

I could go on and on, but this is The Q‘s next big moment. We’re making moves to see that change happens.

Issue 8 – The Quindecim, The Independent Student Newspaper of Goucher College

"The Quindecim, The Independent Student Newspaper of Goucher College - Issue 8 - February 4, 2011 - Front Page"

We’re back to work at The Quindecim and we’ve already published a comprehensive first issue of the semester. It was impressive to see all of our staff from last semester come back to our first meetings and contribute such great content on a shortened deadline.

Once we received everything, it was the usual grind.

Three straight nights of layout, tough decision making, and early-morning coffee breaks made for a pretty tough week. Sometimes it makes me wonder why I do this in the first place.

Then I’m reminded when the paper hits campus on Fridays.

There’s nothing more refreshing then walking through our buildings and seeing students, faculty, and staff alike flipping through our pages. It’s quite a rush.