A walk in the shoes of The Lion’s Roar staff

The job of a student journalist requires a great deal of hard work, sacrifice and growth as an individual. Reporters have to adjust to the fast-pace of a weekly newsroom, stay up to date on community news and campus events, learn to manage their time effectively and meet individual deadlines so that the newspaper comes out every Tuesday morning. While the student reporter position is difficult, the challenge escalates immensely for the editors. 

This job helps students develop a multitude of journalism skills, the more involved in the process you become, the more you develop an array of life skills that can apply to any career or life path. 

Working as an editor not only allows you to delve into the entire newspaper production process, but it also forces you to develop teamwork and interpersonal communication skills. Editors quickly learn that producing a quality newspaper each week requires group collaboration. Being a successful editor requires humility and selflessness. You have to take the focus off of yourself and your own abilities, and place it on the success of the newspaper as a whole. 

Time management is crucial. The Lion’s Roar newspaper produces a paper nearly every Tuesday of the semester. Reporters typically have two or three days to turn in assignments. This gives editors two to three days to set up pages, ensure stories are edited, sort photos, complete their own assignments and serve as a net for any errors made by staff reporters. 

Each turnaround happens swiftly and rigorously. Editors navigate through all the bumps in the road and keep moving till everything is done Monday night (sometimes really late!).   

Once photos and stories are turned in, the hectic part of the process begins: editing. 

This exasperating process involves more than checking for spelling errors or misplaced commas. In ensuring the credibility of the paper, the entire staff works to make sure all names, times, locations and other factual details are correct. Editors oversee the process and are responsible for the accuracy, clarity and brevity of every component of the paper. Through the intense weekly processing editors learn to be more efficient and to question everything.

Over the span of an editor’s career, they will have the opportunity to interview a plethora of people from different backgrounds. The interview process is necessary for almost every article, as it is the reporter’s duty to seek out information from an expert. Some people interviewed for this publication in the past have ranged from professors and university presidents, to actors and actresses known around the world and to athletes that are now in the pros. After years of interviewing all types of people, shyness goes out the window. As a result, reporters highly sharpen and expand their communication skills. 

The greatest thing editors will take away from the job is well-developed leadership skills. When a reporter transitions into an editor, they learn how much planning and preparation goes on behind-the-scenes when reporters are out completing assignments. While many are writing stories, editors are figuring out what stories will go on what pages, which photos are print worthy and what fonts the headlines will be. 

Unfortunately, one of the downfalls of being a student journalist is the potential for errors. There will be errors, and when something is done wrong, the responsibility falls on the editors, regardless of who wrote the story and who did a poor job editing it. As you grow in the position you realize it’s not about who is to blame; you correct mistakes and keep moving. The closer you get to interdependence, the more you can accept that your co-workers are flawed, but they have strengths as well—strengths you need to produce a great newspaper. Teamwork and interpersonal communication are just a few of the highly transferable life skills learned on the job. 

All in all, being a part of The Lion’s Roar teaches many lessons, but mostly it teaches all staff members that time is something you cannot waste. It teaches staff members how to prioritize and delegate what they have to do and when they have to do it, because without that lesson there is little to no chance of survival in the fast-paced world of student journalism.