My name is Wade and I am a first-year student at Sarah Lawrence College.
In high school, I was the editor-in-chief of my school’s newspaper: a 20 page monthly publication which covered all aspects of student life as well as local, national, and world news. We underwent an extensive press cycle and editing process to ensure high-quality writing and immaculate graphical layouts.
Upon beginning my academic career at SLC, I decided that I couldn’t let my journalistic talents die—I wanted to be a part of a publication again. I joined The Phoenix my first week here, despite warnings from every upperclassman that I ran into that “The Phoenix is a sinking ship.” How could this be? I thought. Sarah Lawrence is a school renowned the world over for its student writers; its official newspaper should reflect that. Why don’t people care? Every other person you talk to at SLC says that they are interested in studying journalism—shouldn’t the aspiring journalists be writing for the school newspaper? Even in this class, a media class, I am the only student who is actively involved in the school newspaper.
With further investigation, I figured out why the newspaper was dying: the internal editing structure of the publication was lacking. The leaders of The Phoenix were uninspired and unwilling to go above and beyond to create a graphically stimulating, well-written, well-edited, relevant publication. Because of the paper’s bad reputation, students were unwilling to attach their name to it.
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I marched into my first meeting determined to make a change. It is ridiculous and unacceptable to me that a writing school as prolific as SLC does not have a reputable print news publication. It seemed to me that there would only be one way to bring this dying news source back to life: by giving it a new life online. And thus my role as Online Editor was born.
Today, most people get their news online. Many simply hear about current events on twitter and that seems to be enough for them. The only way to bring the Phoenix back would be to get with the times and provide news in the way that innovative young want to consume it. Students don’t want to walk all the way to the library or the dining hall to pick up an outdated copy of the Phoenix in order to get campus news—they want it instantly, anywhere. Thus, the Phoenix Online project was born, with me spearheading the project and attempting to drag our paper into the 21st century.
This blog is my space to document the process of creating an online community publication. I want to show my praxis in creating a new medium, a news site, that will act as a public forum and fount of community knowledge. Newspapers are a place where people can find out more about the space that they live in, and hear voices of all kinds throughout the community. While we live in a globalized network, that does not mean that the local network has been eliminated: it’s still there, we just haven’t been paying as much attention to it. Here, on this wordpress, I will detail how I create and maintain this site, publicize it, advertise it, generate content for it, and organize the student body around it. Whether I fail to create a meaningful forum or make something amazing that lasts at SLC for years and years to come, the ultimate purpose of this project is to chronicle the birth of a new medium.