It’s going to be a long rest of 2014.
Let me revise that: It’s going to be a long exciting, challenging, action-packed and wonderfully transformative rest of 2014.
In a few short weeks, I’ve settled into the editor-in-chief office (and added a couple decor pieces—more to come about that) and published the first of about seventy issues of The Kansan under my leadership. It’s smooth sailing (so far), and we’ve made tremendous strides as a staff.
Traditionally at The Kansan, we publish our print issue and transfer those stories to online posts. It’s my goal to reverse that, starting three weeks ago. (IMO, it should have been at least one year ago!)
For this first issue, every story was published online before it appeared in the print edition—some as full stories, some as excerpts from longer stories that we updated as soon as we sent the paper. We published online briefs, updated them online, then revised them for print.
That, to me, is an incredible success that’s long overdue.
However, there is much room to improve. Most of my week is being spent meeting with many, many professors, advisers and staff members to hear their thoughts on the issue and the website (which, by the way, is a nightmare. How many days until we don’t have to deal with a hard-coded WordPress site that no one can seem to figure out?)
I’m trying to thrive with criticism. I’m realizing this job is all about receiving it—the good, the bad and the ugly—in stride every single day and adapting when necessary. For a naturally-stubborn 20-year-old female me, that’s definitely an area I’ll need to improve.
I got a taste of juggling one thousand things at once when I was news editor, but as editor-in-chief, it’s increased tenfold. Among the things I’m currently thinking about:
- Our second issue, out June 9.
- Strategizing and updating content on the website daily.
- Changing the mentality of the newsroom (translate: kicking people in the butt somewhat to get things done quickly so we can initiate coverage online with updates, rather than writing a complete enterprise-style story for print).
- Balancing being the news, opinion, sports and arts & features, and web editors and editor-in-chief. Luckily, I have a lot of help from Tom, James, Brett and Amelia.
- Meeting with professors for critiques.
- Directing coverage from summer classes designed to provide content for us. (Which is fantastic! But an extra few mouths to feed, figuratively.)
- Planning for all-staff training in the fall.
- Trying to avoid getting a nasty email from KU because it seems like I can’t figure out the damned HR system and keep going over my hours. (Sorry!)
- (Re-)Starting a second job at Hastings next week.
. . . and there are at least one hundred more. Oy vey.
It’s increasingly important for me to take a step back and think about what we’re doing well and how far we’ve already come in three weeks time. It’s important, also, to get out of the sub-zero-temperature newsroom and get some sun, warmth and positivity a couple of times per day.
For the times when I can’t, though, I’ve invested in a $4.99 clearance book from Urban Outfitters that I keep at my desk.
It’s chock-full of inspirational, cheesy and positive mantras. I even brought it to production on Sunday in an attempt to motivate the staff while working hard from noon to midnight on the issue. Mostly, though, they just laughed at me.
Whatever works, man.
That brings me to arguably the most important thing I’ve done in the past week—I hung a tapestry in my office.
It’s a reminder of two equally important things:
1. We and our problems, complications or challenges are very, very small in comparison. It’s all going to be fine.
2. There is so much to explore and so many places to go in this life. Go while you’re young.
I posted this photo to Facebook, and the best response I received was from my dad’s best friend:
I love that. I’m going to rule my “empire” as best I can. (Although I’ll need to invest in some more pushpins first.)
The rest of 2014 is going to be long. But it’s going to be so incredibly worth it. Bring it on.