By Denise Neil, Faculty Advisor
It’s a strange new year at Newman University, the likes of which no previous student body has really ever witnessed. And it’s probable that some day, many years from now, future generations of Newman students will wonder what life on campus was like during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.
One group of Newman students has this year been handed the great responsibility of writing that history, of reporting the stories that will be read decades from now.
They’re the staff of The Vantage, Newman’s student newspaper, and so far, they’ve shown they’re more than up to the task.
I’ve been the adviser for The Vantage for the past 11 years, and during that time, many big things have happened. Presidents have come and gone. Students have won big awards. Protests have broken out. Sports teams have surprised their rivals. Newman’s namesake was even canonized.
But no staff I’ve advised has faced anything quite like this pandemic. Recording it is a big job, and it’s one that they’ll always remember. It’s also one that will likely impress their future employers. Those seeking jobs in fields that require communication and writing skills are always well-served by being able to add stints on their college papers to their resumes and attach samples of their published work. That is likely to be particularly true this year.
If you are someone who had experience on your high school newspaper or yearbook or who contributed to a publication at a previous college, The Vantage needs you.
If you are someone who likes to write and wants to see if you have what it takes to pursue a career that involves writing, The Vantage needs you.
If you are someone who takes excellent photos (even if just on your phone), if you are the person your roommates ask to edit their essays before they turn them in, if you are a curious person who wonders what makes people tick and how institutions run, The Vantage needs you.
We have a big job to do this year, and our staff, led by editor-in-chief Madeline Alvarez, could use some more help. We know that there are talented students on campus we haven’t met yet. We just have to find you.
You don’t know it yet, but you need us, too. On a much less serious note, being on your student newspaper is a very cool experience. I was on mine at the University of Kansas, and I always tell people it was like being a member of a co-ed fraternity/sorority where everyone was smart, creative and had a biting sense of humor. Working with people like that is stimulating, and hanging out with them is remarkably fun.
We’re like that at The Vantage, too. The staff is a mix of different types of people pursuing different majors with varying personalities. But we all come together once a week with the common goal of informing the Newman community about the little world they inhabit.
If you think you might want to join us, you have several options. You can sign up next semester to take The Vantage as a class and choose whether you want to write, take photos, edit or even sell advertising. The class is good for upper level credit.
You also can just volunteer to do any of the above jobs. Simply show up at one of our meetings, which happen at 11 a.m. on Wednesdays in DeMattias 242, and ask for Denise or Madeline.
Either of those methods could eventually earn you a staff editor job, and that comes with a (not huge) paycheck.
You can also privately email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can answer your questions. I’m an adjunct professor who has worked full time as a staff reporter at The Wichita Eagle for the past 23 years, so I’m not always on campus, but I’m always ready to talk to an aspiring journalist.
You don’t want to be a journalist, you say? I get it. It’s a tough profession, especially now. One of my students did go on to become a successful journalist, but many more have gone on to law school and reported back to me that their time on The Vantage helped hone their critical writing and communication skills and gave them a leg up over their peers.
Other Vantage alumni are now public relations specialists, high school English and drama teachers, aspiring comedians, staffers in college athletic departments, even doctors. And many of them have reported back to me that the skills they picked up working for their college newspaper have helped them in their careers, where the ability to communicate well is key.
The Vantage needs you. You need us. Come help us write history.
PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, unsplash.com.