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My First Weekend as a Senior Editor: What I Learned

As part of the new senior editorial team for Concrete, UEA’s student newspaper, I recently finished my first production weekend. After three days of squinting at a computer to make sure lines are straight (amongst other things), we have our first issue. I oversee the production of Venue, Concrete’s cultural pullout – the results of which you can see below. Before that, however, I wanted to catalogue a list of things I learned from the experience.

    • You will learn more about Photoshop and InDesign in a long weekend as a senior editor than you learned in an entire academic year as a sub-editor. ‘Baseline gridding’ is not just a fancy term that your superiors used to throw around without meaning.
    • You will regret ever envying your old editor-in-chief for writing an editorial column. They are the toughest things to write.
    • 17 hours in a small office-space on the year’s hottest weekend to date will turn you into Meryl Streep a la The Devil Wears Prada. Your anal retentiveness will be championed by some but will grate on just as many.
    • Copy editors are the backbone of a newspaper.
    • Never express half-baked interest in starting an Agony Aunt column, because when space opens up (and it will) your byline photo will end up on page 2 next to the title ‘Hayden Helps’. It will get a surprisingly positive response.
    • Similarly, sometimes the smallest ideas are the best – my switch from star ratings to colour-coded number ratings got a nice bit of praise too.
    • Your first production weekend is not the best time to start a new health regime.
    • There will be moments where only a dose of Kanye, Jay-Z and Beyonce can regain morale.

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2 Comments

  1. I just wrapped up my final issue of my college newspaper this week, and those feelings you’re having – the ones about learning more in a weekend than you ever thought possible? Trust me, you’re not alone. I know what a lot of my friends were doing on Thursday nights, and it sure as hell wasn’t arguing over whether feature photos need stroke weight or whether drop shadow is a dirty word.

    Cherish those long nights (and weekends), and never underestimate how valuable it is to immerse yourself in college media as much as you possibly can.

    Cheers!

  2. “Copy editors are the backbone of a newspaper.” Damn right. I love that you included this.

    PS. Venue looks brilliant.

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