Keep the fire burning . . .

It’s been a solid week since we returned to Elon from the CMA/ACP Louisville conference and we jumped right into production.  Now that I’ve had some time to process the information, reread my notes and blog posts, and finish other Pendulum related business, I’m ready to share what I’ve learned on how to make The Pendulum even better.  Two in particular jump to mind

1)  We’re the best, on the surface.  Two things confirmed this for me.  Winning best in show but not the Pacemaker, and our discussions with various editors and advisers.  Like any paper, we have our design fallacies and inconsistencies, but overall we’re an amazing looking paper.  In comparison with other papers, we are a step ahead.  But our writing has got to improve.  We were told on two separate occasions we write for faculty instead of our audience, the students.  Our headlines are jumbled, boring educational jargon, and stories are seemingly lackluster.  It’s my hope that in the next year we can drastically improve our writing by hosting writing workshops and forums, and by planning for in-depth articles.  Hopefully, the editors that attended can inspire the other editors and their reporters to write thought-provoking articles.

2)  Videos are great, but the web can provide other opportunities.  We’ve worked in recent years to create positions for the online editor-in-chief and multimedia editors to increase our web presence.  But videos have been the main focus.  And while it’s important and vital to have videos, there are many other tools we are not taking advantage of.  We need to increase our blog presence, use audio slideshows and all the great web tools that can create timelines, maps and graphics.  I know I attended several multimedia sessions and so did a couple of other staff members.  I’m looking forward to how these tools will be used in the upcoming year and semester.

From a personal standpoint, I went to several sessions on managing staff, leadership and organization.  I learned several things on treating others fairly, the balance between friend and editor, seeking input from staff, working with various personalities and ideas on bringing the staff closer.  The skills gained through these sessions will not only help me at The Pendulum, but throughout my life as I grow as a writer and editor.

The weekend left me inspired and full of ideas and hopes.  The paper, our adviser and a former staff member took home awards.  We left with more knowledge and better tools to inform and entertain our community.  Now’s the time to keep the fire going and growing.  Who’s got some matches?

— Anna Johnson


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