Like clockwork, every Thursday morning copies of The Middlebury Campus can be found on the dining hall tables. Stacks of them sit at the entrance to the Axinn Center. Students page through before the start of class. While these newspapers appear as if by magic, there is a large team of dedicated students with varied talents behind the operation of producing a weekly newspaper.
I started writing for the Campus during Winter Term of my first year at Middlebury and now am lucky enough to serve as the Editor-in-Chief. Although I had never written for my high school newspaper, I saw it as a great way to get involved on campus, to meet interesting students, faculty, and staff, and to improve my writing. Knowing the large amount of writing involved in a History or Political Science major, the Campus seemed like a surefire way to learn from skilled editors and writers. On a whim, I joined the Features section.
There are six sections in the Campus, each with its own personality in terms of the types of stories they run. News takes breaking stories. Local covers the town of Middlebury and Vermont news. Opinions publishes Op-eds, columns, and letters to the editor. Features writes human interest stories and long-form pieces. Arts & Sciences writes arts reviews and reports on research happening on campus. Finally, Sports covers Panther Athletics. These sections are each led by two to four editors who curate content and train writers. Unlike some student newspapers, all of the writers and editors of the Campus are volunteers and do not get paid.
I owe a lot to the Features editors who helped me improve as a journalist when I was a writer for their section. They coached me through interviewing, writing and rewriting, and how to identify a potential article idea. It is incredibly rewarding for me to now be able to encourage new writers to join the paper. I try to help writers and editors improve their journalistic abilities as much as I am able and I always want to make their extracurricular experience as rich as it was for me.
I have a ton of admiration for the editors and writers who work for the Campus. For writers, making an article a great piece requires follow-through and tenacity. Editors spend countless hours in our office in the basement of Hepburn Hall editing articles, brainstorming new story ideas, and designing the look of that week’s issue. However, all of their hard work is worth it when the paper arrives on campus every Thursday. Seeing the hours of writing and editing take shape into something tangible is one of my favorite parts of working for the Campus.