Smoke Newspaper Features

Posted by JSYL on Sunday, March 09, 2008 in ,
So if you're wondering if, since I've been in London, I've just become a major Eurotrashbag alcoholic, or if I've totally forgotten all my grand plans for becoming a great international journalist, a millionaire, and the owner of the whole universe by the age of 30, then let me ease your weary minds, friends. The answer to those questions is: kind of, and no, respectively. I will be using much of the second half of my trip for work experience and (hopefully) paid work and travel.

In the meantime, I'm currently the features editor of Westminster's fortnightly student newspaper. Circulation is in the thousands, as it goes out to all the various campuses of the university, but as for actual readership numbers? Well at the moment I can only really be sure that there are about three. That is, the three or so I see holding the latest Smoke newspaper, to whom I instantly yell out: "READ PAGE SIX! ITS THE BEST OF ALL OF THEM I PROMISE YOU!".

I secretly love it because I plan on editing my own magazine some day. As features editor I'm in charge of content and photos for the page, and in the last issue of the year, there are going to be a lot of contributors' pieces to edit. So, apart from layout (which the paper's senior editors handle), the role is almost exactly what I want to be doing in future, albeit on a much smaller scale.

For the first few issues, no one volunteered to contribute to my one-page section, so I resorted to writing all the articles myself, which was by no means an easy task, given I'm not familiar with anything I'm writing about, or where to get contacts for interviews. Also, in the first half of semester I wasn't doing any writing subjects, which was a little strange since I'm used to having at least one essay or article due every week. So I guess it's kept me from getting rusty in that department.
It's definitely forced me to be a little more confident and meet a few more people, and be really thorough in my research. Just today, a guy who, as it turns out, studies radio at Westminster, read my article on the competitiveness of London's radio industry, said it was "spot on", i.e. an accurate representation of the industry. So I must be doing something right.

It's been a fun, if stressful experience thus far! It's really helped me get into the frantic-run-from-interview-to-coffee-to-party-to-class schedule I'm used to. I liken it to preparing a Sunday roast singlehandedly. Its a bitch-long process to prepare it, and by the end of it you're not sure if all the ingredients will come together, but when they do, it looks awesome, right before everyone inhales it, totally unaware of all the hard work that's gone into it. But for some reason you still feel a quiet sense of self-satisfaction when the whole thing is over. Then again, I've never cooked a Sunday roast, so it's probably not anything like that at all.

Anyhoo. You can't really sit in on the writing process with me, but here are a few issues I whipped up earlier!
(click to enlarge each part of the article- haven't worked out how to get the whole thing up in one fell swoop, damn my 12-inch monitor).

Let me know what you think! (Seriously, do, because I'd like some proof that I'm not just blogging to nobody out there. I have about two people who email me on a regular basis from back home, and I'm starting to think no one's actually noticed I'm no longer in the country!)

Student Politics (Issue 22):

Smoke Radio Students (Issue 21):

Valentines day (Issue 20): and no, my original headline did NOT say that. The editors stuffed it up for me!



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