On Being an Editor: Why you should join the 2020-2021 staff

Picture this: You heard that the Merciad is looking for new editors and you’re contemplating whether or not to send in your application. You ask yourself, “What could I possibly gain from joining a newspaper editing staff ? What if I don’t have enough experience? What if the rest of the staff thinks I’m weird? Do I want to get paid to have fun next year?” If you are having any of these concerns, the 2019-2020 editing staff is here to answer your questions and encourage you to join a team that we all care about.

This year there are five graduating seniors on the Merciad staff: Editor in Chief Lauren Abbott, News editor Kristian Biega, Arts and Entertainment editor Lauren Ganger, Opinion editor Anthony Miller and Features editor Maria Williams.

The section positions that will be available for application will be Opinion, Features, and-Arts and Entertainment. Along with other tasks, these positions rely heavily on researching and pitching article ideas as well as coordinating article assignments with writers on a weekly basis. Each section editor is also responsible for editing and for-matting their own pages using Adobe InDesign software.

“I started as a writer and moved to Features editor and then Managing editor my junior year,” Managing editor Marina Boyle said. “As the future Editor in Chief, I’m excited to put together a really strong team of editors who can create a great weekly product and have a fun time doing so. I knew nothing about InDesign and didn’t have much editing experience, but the position and the environment allows you to learn on the job and excel at it quickly.”

Positions of copy editor and managing editor are also available. These positions also must attend weekly meetings and editing nights but are not as intensive as the section editors, so if you are looking to get involved, this may be the place to start. “It’s a great opportunity for anyone who wants to be an editor,” copy editor Rebecca Dunphy said. “You get to be in the office with the rest of the staff, meet great people and learn a lot about the editing process.”

Managing editor assists the editor in chief in all necessary duties as asked and acts as a liaison between the Merciad and Mercyhurst staff as needed.

“Managing editor allows you to get a sneak peek of the entire newspaper each week before it goes to print. Editing the news-paper sets you up well for a variety of future positions, allows you to understand the entire creation process and lets you get to know everyone on our team, from writers to editors and advisers,” Boyle said.

It is preferred that the copy editor has experience writing or editing in Associated Press (AP) journalistic style in order to best edit others’ work. While previous experience with formal writing and editing is preferred, everyone is welcome to apply regardless of background. The current Merciad staff is made up of all majors from English to Dance to Intelligence Studies.

“Part of what I like most about the Merciad staff is how diverse our interests are and how involved we all are at Mercyhurst. That really helps us to be aware of every aspect of campus and work together well,” Biega said.

There are many reasons to join the Merciad staff, both in social and practical aspects.

“People should consider joining the staff because there really is a sense of community here at the Merciad,” Miller said. “Not only that, but there is also the practical experience this position gives you within the field of editing. Sometimes we even order pizza on editing nights.”

Joining the paper gives you an inside look into the activity on campus and opens you up to a variety of on and off campus events that you may not have known about before.

“As the Arts and Entertainment editor for the past two years, I have really gotten to know what events are happening all across campus,” Ganger said. “As editor, I have written and edited articles about events that I was already involved in which has been a nice way to monetize my commitments. There is a lot of camaraderie among the staff that keeps our editing nights really fun.”

Being on the editing staff may seem like a daunting task, but part of the benefit of having so many staff members is that there is always someone to help out.

“I am still new to the Merciad staff, this being my first semester, and I am still figuring things out,” sophomore Sports Editor Gillian Mazur said. “But there are a lot of nice perks to this position like always knowing what is happening on campus.”

The staff frequently helps each other out with technical difficulties, coming up with ideas or writing articles for other sections.

“Being on the editing staff is a very collaborative experience, we never work in a bubble. There is always another editor in the office to help you with a question or bounce ideas off ” Abbott said.

The editing and writing that comes with the position is not always serious. The current staff has become a group of friends that are able to work hard and play hard together.

“I was grateful that I had the opportunity to join the staff despite my minimal writing experience. We are all so close and stupid together and it’s great. We are all a family here,” Williams said. “The Merciad has become my home away from home.”

The Merciad staff edits the paper the Tuesday night before sending the finished product to be printed at an outside source. The Merciad is delivered around campus by the editors each Wednesday afternoon.

“Even though Tuesday nights can be long and stressful at times, this staff always makes me laugh with our weird inside jokes and stories and we really enjoy our time together. We all want to see the best product possible being put out so we work hard, but have fun doing so,” Biega said.

The Merciad has been a part of Mercyhurst since 1929, we just celebrated 90 years as a paper last semester. The Merciad captures the essence of the campus at particular points in time. Through the Merciad, future generations of Lakers can look back and see how campus looked and felt to us and what was going on at a particular time in history. It is through a dedicated team of editors and writers that this legacy carries on year after year.

“I’ve been a part of the Merciad since I was a freshman, and now as a senior finishing up my last semester as Editor in Chief I’ve very happy with how we’ve progressed over the years as a staff. I started the paper as an Intelligence Studies major with no journalism experience and I’m graduating with four years of writing and editing under my belt. This paper has been one of the highlights of my Mercyhurst career and I can’t wait to see the staff that will continue on the tradition after I graduate,” Abbott said.

The Merciad is also looking for an ad manager, which does not involve any writing, but simply securing ads to go in the Merciad each week. It too is a paid position and gives real-world commercial experience.

Applications will be accepted until Feb. 12. If you have any further questions, please contact the Merciad Staff at merciad@mercyhurst.edu.