The Student Staffs Up

Readers of The Bates Student have seen changes in the 131-year-old publication this fall: tighter stories, deeper and more careful reporting, a harder line between news and opinion. This renewed newsiness crystallized with the Oct. 12 issue, whose lead story examined how Maine schools are faring under the No Child Left Behind Act, and whose editorial reaffirmed the need to engage with the local community during an election year with much at stake.

The improvement results in part from a simple structural change: adding as many as three editorial positions to each of the paper’s four sections. Previously, each section editor more or less did it all, from planning to layout, explains editor-in-chief Caitlin Hurley ’05 of Wellesley, Mass. “There was just too much for one person to handle.”

“We had all of these ideas for improvement, but we didn’t have time,” agrees managing editor Niraj Chokshi ’07 of West Hartford, Conn. “This year we have a good deal more time and energy.” The restructuring increased from 12 to 18 the number of Student editors, who receive a weekly stipend ranging from $10 to $80.

Now editors have more time to work with writers on stories they want to do — and Hurley and Chokshi agree that Student contributors tend to be drawn more to writing than journalism, interests that don’t necessarily converge. “The journalism emphasis can be acquired,” says Chokshi, himself a newshound who worked on his high school paper. “I’d rather have people interested in what they’re writing about than in journalism.”

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