On a Monday afternoon, the newsroom at Kalamazoo College is quiet, except for the tapping on the keys of my laptop and the voice of Alex Turner, lead singer of the Arctic Monkeys, streaming out of the speakers of the office desktops.
The white board is a mural of scribbled story pitches and names. The bulletin board at the desk is impaled with distribution lists, sign-in sheets, and copies of old Indexes. The Associated Collegiate Press passes hang on a peg. The fancy printer is sleeping. The opened bag of Halloween candy looks desperate. The layout editor’s notes are scattered about. The first issue of the year sits beside me in print.
The newsroom is quiet. But like a sleeping dragon, it roars to life on Sunday nights when the writers, editors, photographers, designers, and business people meet to discuss the next issue to be produced. Stories are pitched and assigned, contacts are traded. The next Index is in the works. It takes ten days for an issue to be produced.
When I started editing for the Index my sophomore year, I joined for the sake of curiosity. I wanted to know how my school worked. I wanted to stick my nose in things, dig up dirt, and be informed about the decisions that affect me as a student. Two years later, I’m leading the Sunday night meeting; awakening the dragon every week. I am this year’s editor-in-chief of the Index, Kalamazoo College’s student-run newspaper.
Senior year is daunting enough without having to put your name on the school’s newspaper every week. I often joke that the Index should have been my SIP (senior individualized project), or I should at least get paid to do the work that I do. But honestly, it′s the work that we do as a group of students that keeps me coming to the newsroom every week. We are responsible for informing the campus about itself. It is a metaphysical phenomenon to be able to present the campus to itself every week, but it is necessary.
The newsroom is only the catalyst to the things one gains from working on the Index. Most of what I do includes building important relationships with all members of our campus community. Our community informs us as much as we inform it. In print or online, the Index serves the Kalamazoo College community in more ways than just as a news source or self-reflection, but as valuable work experience for those that choose to be a part of it. Journalism to leadership, business to graphic design: the newsroom has a place for you, if you choose to awaken it.