Every Wednesday is publishing night for The Wheaton Record. Usually, I’ll stay up into the lonely hours editing, finalizing the latest edition with the managing editor and the editor in chief. Once we’ve uploaded our PDFs to the printer, it’s finally time to drag ourselves to bed — usually after a treacherous walk back to our housing in below freezing weather — and to prepare ourselves for the next day.
Thursdays start with thinking about what I’ll write about for my “Closer Look” column. When I come back from classes, I’ll groggily check my go-to news sources, including New York Times, CNN, BBC and USA Today. One source I periodically check is Christianity Today, because their content relates to an evangelical community like Wheaton’s.
The topic I write about is usually the first one that piques my interest. If there’s not an aspect of the story that I don’t find interesting, I’ll hate myself for writing it. That being said, it’s very easy to get me interested in something that affects the world, so I’ve written about topics ranging from the drug cartels in Mexico to street children in Manila, and I’ve done so happily.
After touching base with my News editor and researching the topic, the next step is to find intriguing interviews. Sometimes, the interview comes before I’ve even decided on a topic — an editor might mention that so-and-so has an opinion about this-and-such, and the process may commence from there. I always like doing face-to-face or phone interviews better than email interviews because the interviewee doesn’t have as much time to craft their responses, leading to a more honest, off-the-cuff answer to my questions.
Then comes the writing process. Since every time I sit down to write, something completely different happens, I can’t generalize and say, “This is how I write my articles.”
That being said, some things stay the same. More often than not, there are dozens of tabs open in my Internet browser, including other news articles, email and a thesaurus, with three or four Word documents cluttering my laptop desktop. Spotify frequently blocks out background noise with classical music turned up high — I can’t concentrate wholly on my writing when other ideas and words are being sung.
When I finish polishing the article, I’ll email it to my managing editor, editor in chief and news editor, and await their feedback before printing it off for the copy editors. The next time I see my article, it’s been through at least three copy editors and pasted prettily on page 3 of News. Then, we rinse and repeat for the next week!