North Texas Daily

Letter from the Editor: Done for the summer, chuck these deuces

Letter from the Editor: Done for the summer, chuck these deuces

Letter from the Editor: Done for the summer, chuck these deuces
August 09
16:59 2019

First things first.

I did what I said I would do.

The new website that’s been created by our partners in advertising, it’s been made and is still in beta testing.

The desktop is complete for the most part, and we’re still working on mobile.

Also, I am glad to report that with the smallest budget and smallest staff in history during the summer, the NT Daily had the most per-post engagement in the entire history of the publication and some of the top engagement numbers in the state for student newspapers.

As for investigative articles, you get to see those in the Fall, so yes, they’re done, the illustrations are done and I’ve got more on the way.

None of this could have been done without a fantastic staff.

Jordan Collard single-handedly designed an entire newspaper by herself and served as copy editor, in addition to already having photo and writing experience. She brought a new definition to the word multimedia journalist.

Kara Dry was the type of visuals editor who would teach incoming photographers how to be better, regardless of their class level or major, write and do pictures, show up to a crime scene and take initiative, edit and take pictures on print nights/mornings and served as a diplomat and ambassador for the newsroom.

Rose led her opinion section with graceful humility and was even awesome enough to find her own writers and illustrator.

Speaking of illustrators, shout out to Austin Banzon. Every single illustration you have seen during the summer was the work of one person.

Thank you to our news editor Lizzy Spangler, who is the most quiet, effective and sane person on our team.

Amy Roh, codenamed Shadeslayer, provided an in depth knowledge of NT Daily culture and even once told me that I was ‘okay’, so I’m glad I survived her evaluation procedure.

Thank you to Sean Riedel, who volunteered to come to every single print night and worked alongside us until 3 in the morning. As far as NT Daily student alumni go, that guy really cares about this media outlet.

Thank you to my senior writers and volunteer writers.

Leading you was one of the biggest privileges I have ever had in my life.

Thank you to previous Editor-in-Chief Alec Spicer and the future one, Rebecca Najera who is going to absolutely kill it in the Fall.

All right.

All of the thank you’s are out of the way, now let’s talk shop.

I took a pay cut this summer and paid myself three digits instead of four to increase what my editors were getting paid, I have donated thousands of dollars in equipment more than most higher-paid faculty have and even now, I do not feel as if I am worthy of the sacrifice my newsroom showed.

Let me tell you something about my newsroom’s sacrifice.

Officially speaking, I got paid around 18 hours. Officially speaking, my editors got even less.

But in reality, I worked 40 and my editors were the ones who were working 18. My senior staff writers were easily pulling eight or more hours any given week.

We had 15 hour days and nights putting together print products.

And my writers, both paid and unpaid, they balanced other jobs, this job and course loads to make their interviews happen.

Our staff exceeded their paid hours and put in extra time not because of glory or some arbitrary notion of school spirit. We knew that’s what it took to get the minimum standard of the workload done, and get it done well.

This is the sacrifice that every student newspaper and newsroom across this country makes, and therein lies the simultaneous hope and pain I have about the burden of this command.

I was in charge of people who weren’t paid enough, but were still asked to do more by an academia and industry that was loathe to share in the same sacrifice.

When you donate to the Daily, you’re paying so that student reporters are compensated what they’re really worth.

They’re showing up to crime scenes for missing children —reporters won’t leave the crime scene until the PR and the Police Chiefs do. Then we wake back up in four hours to write about how that child is now dead.

They tolerate racial slurs, threats and online harassment, some of which is from adults who are either alumni or currently work here.

They interview federal, city, and state level officials.

They can push past the grind at 3 in the morning when they’ve been in the office since noon working on putting together the newspaper.

If you think that all of these senior staff writers and editors are getting it done in five hours a week and the person in charge is getting stuff done in 18 hours a week with budget cuts and merged positions, that is the assumption of fools and it is time for that assumption to come to an end.

And yes, we’re still talking about student workers.

The mantra of today seems to be, ‘let’s do more with less.’

This saying, originally meant as a form of increasing effectiveness on factory assembly lines with better parts, has now been misused and appropriated by idiots missing brain cells and has become a calling card for the incompetent and disengaged.

Students are already doing more and then some.

Students, along with the majority of the adjunct instructors that teach them (aka the majority of teachers), have to do more, because they don’t have the financial luxury of doing less.

Taking advantage of that, knowing that students will do any and everything to get the job experience, deserves a different type of bird, and I’m not talking about Scrappy.

Now let’s talk about prestige.

Paying student journalists what they are actually worth is prestige.

Using all of those PhD’s to come up with new ways of revenue, instead of resigning oneself to losing, that is prestige.

If we can’t make the prestige of solving problems happen at a university, and we can’t make that prestige happen at j-school, then how could we ever hope to have such values reflected in the industry we drop-kick students into?

Making the Daily a place where you don’t have to front a large portion of your own equipment costs while such a requirement economically blocks out others for the same opportunity at the cost of demographical and ideological diversity, that is prestige.

This type of prestige is a service well done and such a duty is an aspiration to greatness and weeder out of the weak.

So here’s a new mantra for academia, the next time you’re out at the fundraising party.

Don’t do more with less, do more and be more, because every single student out there is already a platinum level donor.

I should know, I just managed and sacrificed alongside an entire newsroom full of them.

Featured Image by Graduate Student and Program Coordinator Kara Greene who got to be an NT Daily photographer for the day once I configured all the camera settings for her. She loved it. 

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Jelani Gibson

Jelani Gibson

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