College Students Share Writing Talents: Editing a College Newspaper
Running a college newspaper is a difficult job. Running a college newspaper at a school for students with ADHD, dyslexia and other learning disabilities is even harder.
I attend Landmark College, a school specifically for college students with learning disabilities, in Putney, Vt. When I first saw Landmark’s newspaper, “The Independent,” I was unimpressed. A thin, magazine-like booklet — it looked more like a pamphlet than a newspaper. Worse, no one read it.
Despite this, I signed up for the class that produces the newspaper, “Journalism in the Digital Age.” Within weeks I was selected to be the first-ever student Executive Editor, a role previously held by a professor.
With the help of my professor and editorial team, I began to establish systems for writing, editing and laying out the paper. I learned as I progressed and constantly adjusted my methods. The newspaper became better with every issue. Now, its release is highly anticipated on campus.
One of the most challenging parts of my job is dealing with fellow students. I find myself frequently disappointed when they fail to turn in articles, ignore my emails or forget to attend the event they are covering (as one student infamously did).
I’ve had to slowly learn that not everyone’s brain is like mine. I am quick, highly verbal and organized, for the most part. I found myself expecting the same of those I worked with. When I eventually came to realize how unrealistic that was, I became a better leader.
I learned to play to other’s strengths: getting those who dreaded writing to work on layout design or allowing shy students to write articles that didn’t require interviewing people.
One particular instance has stuck with me. I kept assigning articles to a staff member, David, who has Asperger’ssyndrome, which he failed to turn in. If I tried to talk to him, he avoided me. The only thing I knew about David was that he liked video games. Finally, I came up with the idea of asking him to review video games.
Days after giving him the assignment, he handed me a three-page article — one of the best I received all semester. I featured his article on the cover of our next issue. He went on to eagerly write video-game reviews for each subsequent issue. Additionally, he got the chance to be proud of his work. Inherently shy, he now greets me with a smile around campus.
As the editor of my school newspaper, I have become a better writer and leader, but it has also taught me how to bring out the best in my peers. In my role as editor, I’ve not only made a place for myself on campus, I’ve helped other’s fit in, too.#
Scout MacEachron is a sophomore at Landmark College in Putney, Vt., and is editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. She will be interning at Education Update this summer.