Here we are at last. This is the story that quite literally ran me ragged last week.
To get to why it was such an exhaustive one however, we should probably start from the beginning. So settle in for some storytelling.
The point of origin for this article came while I was at the Associated Collegiate Media convention (about two weeks ago now? Geez, time sure does fly…) and got a text from my honors program friend Mimi. She told me that during a meeting between campus sports clubs, everyone aired a ton of grievances against the Athletics Department about issues like field access for their games and practices.
As much as I was just chatting with her about it casually, my mind was working overtime thinking about the fact that angry students meant a great story opportunity. To be fair, I do think that was the point of her telling me, so I don’t feel that bad about work taking over from there.
To start investigating the issue, I set up an interview with the sports clubs coordinator Lydia Ayala. We talked for about an hour, and all was fine and good… But then she dropped a bombshell on me.
She let me know that she was planning on resigning because she hadn’t been able to make much of an impact on the kinds of issues we were talking about.
After talking with the Advisor, the Editor in Chief and Walt Baranger – our resident ex-Daily Titan and ex-New York Times expert – we kind of decided that we should try to put something out before Friday to preempt her announcement.
Now, for context, we came to that decision at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. To preempt her announcement, we would have to go to print (online) by the end of the day Thursday, since the Inter-Club Council meeting where she was going to make her announcement was at 1 p.m. Friday.
Considering offices on campus close at 5 p.m., I really did have my work cut out for me.
For the next two days, I spent literally all my time eating, drinking and living this story. I ran back-and-forth across campus like five times easily each day and only got about an hour of sleep in between days. Seriously, I was up until ~7 a.m. Thursday morning just to transcribe interviews and write.
Unfortunately… Timing was not on my side. Basically our entire editorial staff was in New York for a conference, so I really wasn’t able to get much attention for section editing and publishing the story. It was a shame, especially given the insistence of the advisory team I had helping me out and the amount of work I put into getting everything (I had like five interviews by the end of Wednesday, eight by the end of Thursday).
But that’s just how the business works I suppose.
When the pre-event reporting plan went out the window, I instead focused on the Friday event itself. I went with my camera to record video, I live tweeted while I was there and I asked our Photo Editor Gabe to come help me out.
In my general print-centric media ineptitude, I inevitably screwed up the multimedia aspect I had hoped to get. But I did some good live tweeting and Gabe got nice photos, so once I adjusted my story for the new time frame and added in the pictures and such it was all good to go.
I had also wanted a graphical element, and I had one of our Illustrators, Anita, working on that, but it was deemed to be “not visually appealing enough” so we cut it. I personally would have liked to have it there just as extra information for our readers, but I guess that’s just the price of not being at the top of the totem pole.
In the end, despite the heartache and exhaustion that came with this story, I think it turned out quite nice. After all, our job isn’t really about the struggle we go through to get the news out.
It’s about telling the news. Standing with the people when they have grievances and holding those they feel are against them accountable.
From that perspective, I would argue this is one of the most important stories I’ve written. It has plenty of opportunities for follow-up pieces as well, so long as the sports clubs feel comfortable working with me to get out their specific troubles.
With that said, if you want to read this article in its entirety, you can check it out here. You can also see my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!