The campus is tranquil almost everywhere on Wednesday nights, with one exception being a small room in the west wing of Newcomer Center.Before going to print, the student staff carefully reads over articles, lays out text and graphics and examines photos collected for the week — all in time for a new issue of The Record to be released Thursday morning.
Junior accounting major Caleb Shenk serves as digital editor, and on Wednesday nights he works on copy editing, page layout and the crossword.
“With my internship, I’ve been unable to write as much as I would have liked this semester,” he said, “but I show up at about 5:30 p.m., every Wednesday that we have an issue and I stay until it’s finished. … I think our earliest night was 11:30 p.m. and our latest night was 2:15 a.m.”
Shenk also uploads articles to The Record’s website the next day and posts on social media accounts.
“Copy editing the pages is always fun too,” he added. “Thinking about how we can reword articles — not when it’s large changes, I don’t love that — but when we’re thinking about how we can reshape the lede or how we can bring out this author’s voice more.”
Grace Hitt, a senior music and history double major, started as a copy editor this semester.
“Mostly, it means that I go in and Jakyra and Mariela tell me to look at a category of articles and I go through it,” Hitt said. “I read them very closely to sort of correct any grammatical errors, AP style errors, flag things … that we might change to read better. Of course, with opinions and funnies we won’t mess around with those as much.”
In terms of challenges she has faced, she noted, “AP style is one … that’s probably been the biggest challenge.”
The Record adheres to the Associated Press Stylebook, which is a compendium of English grammar rules designed to create a clear and consistent standard for newspaper writing.
Sadie Brenneman, sophomore journalism major, has worked as news co-editor alongside Sophia Kellenberger this semester.
“On a given week,” Brenneman said, “I’m sending out a lot of emails on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And if I know I need to write an article for that week I’m sending out emails to arrange interviews.”
On Friday mornings, the day after The Record gets distributed, the student staff holds a meeting to discuss plans for the next issue.
A unique piece of this coordination and planning is the pictures for each article, helmed by photography co-editors, sophomores Ashley Christison and Kiara Blackshire.
“We’re in charge of thinking of pictures for each article and then creating a list of what we want and assigning those to our photographers,” Christison said. “We’ll have our meeting at 10:00 a.m., and we hope we have all the articles set by then. Sometimes we don’t, sometimes we do. Most of the time, we get a solid 80% of them.”
In addition to figuring out what photos to take, Christison and Blackshire also spend their Wednesdays assembling the photos taken that week and editing them to make sure they are ready to be laid out in Adobe InDesign, the software The Record uses for newspaper layout.
“Having to take pictures of people on campus,” Blackshire added, “you get to know a lot of people … like, Todd Johnson. [He] was in the last [issue]. He is so cool.”
“I also got to meet Ashley and bond with her. … Our Wednesday editing sessions [are] kind of stressful … but then I’m like, ‘oh, but I get to like to spend four hours with her, so it’s OK.’”
The rest of the planning is up to the executive co-editors, juniors Mariela Esparza and Jakyra Green. They facilitate meetings, communicate with the faculty adviser Duane Stoltzfus, manage distribution and otherwise work on anything else that might fall through the cracks.
“It’s a lot of pressure and people notice, and for all the praise we get or acknowledgement, there’s also criticism,” Esparza said. “That’s good because it’s like we’re doing this important work and we’re featuring voices that don’t typically get featured …
“The Record — it has an impact.”