Southeast Missouri State University student publication

A balancing act

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Toslin Taylor

My senior year has been the most challenging for me. Like any other undergraduate student preparing for graduation, I was eager to plan for my life after crossing the stage at Southeast. I was stressing about classes, the Arrow, and what I would do with my degree post-graduation. Shockingly enough everything seemed to have fallen into place, earlier than I had expected.

How you may ask? My only answer is the work experience I gained at the Arrow.

I began the year as digital managing editor. In my position, I am responsible for our digital content production. I manually update our website and social media regularly and decide how stories should be uploaded to engage our audience.

It may sound like a pretty easy job, press a couple of buttons, download some photos, and BOOM I am done.

I do not want to tell you that you are wrong, but you are.

In order to make our website maintain our award-winning status, I have to stay on top of our section editors to get the stories edited in a timely manner, I need our photographers to turn in their photos and provide cutlines, and lastly, I need reporters to turn their stories around quickly.

Our organization is digital first and the process to be first is lengthy, meaning the pressure is always on.

Just two months into my job the Arrow was presented with seven awards in three national competitions, one of them was a second-place honor for “Website: 10,000 students or less.”

After hearing we had won I immediately thought to myself, “That’s right, my clicks and downloads on the computer granted us an award.” I could finally let up on myself because obviously, I am delivering our best work in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Smooth sailing was ahead, until about five weeks ago. I was asked to be editor-in-chief for the Arrow.

This is not a joke or a drill. Indeed I am Thing 1 and Thing 2 in the newsroom, what a joy!

As the editor, I became responsible for reviewing all articles and photographs for accuracy as well as potential libel or slander, and provide suggestions, if needed, about any changes to be made before the publication goes to press.

Yes, that is a lot of responsibility, I know. The job of two people with outstanding leadership qualities became the job of one person. That person is me.

Can I be considered a journalistic unicorn yet or no?

The role I have taken on as editor-in-chief and digital managing editor has been the most challenging one yet. I love all aspects of journalism, but I am not a print girl. I feel much more comfortable designing pages on our website than I do designing page layouts for print. I prefer to make the sassy tweets and Instagram post and working with the reporters than I do being an editor’s editor.

Yet, I was able to find the balance between the two. The staff truly helped me out by being better than what they already are. Everything was all hands on deck until the final product was done.

In all honesty, I am thankful that our leadership from Rust Communications and faculty adviser, Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck, and staff believed that I could handle the pressure of both positions. It has taught me tremendous amounts of responsibility, patience, and accountability. I feel beyond prepared to handle any job that comes my way.

Without the Arrow, I am positive that I would have never been blessed with the opportunity to be direct sales agent at Rush, Inc. marketing agency after I graduate.