When I was the editor of my Year 7 newspaper.
When I was 12 my big moment finally arrived.
Term 4 had meant two things at my school: the spring fete and the Year 7 newspaper. Every year the Year 7s would publish their own newspaper and sell it for twenty cents. People would also put in classifieds, teachers would be interviewed and there were almost always bad jokes.
My teacher wrote a long list of topics we could choose from on the board and we would be the responsible reporter for that topic. None of them really appealed to me because there was one job I really wanted and it wasn’t listed.
I wanted to be an editor.
Now, I knew what school newspaper editors did. I read Sweet Valley High, and the later Baby Sitters Club books also featured a school newspaper. So when we had to give out secret ballot to our teacher, I wrote down something like, ‘I know it’s not on the board, but I’d really like to be the editor’.
A few days later, a list was posted up. I would have a co-editor who was more organised than me and better at spelling. As luck would have it though, my co-editor was out of school for most of the time, so I got the top job.
My job was pretty simple — I read everyone’s work before it went to print.
‘To print’ actually meant ‘to the half-a-dozen students who were proficient in Microsoft Publisher’.
Sometimes I would change what people wrote or fix up spelling. It was a busy job reading everything. I also had a column called ‘From the Editors’ which discussed hot topics including the weather, school events and who was playing on the radio. Our little motif was a smiley face with sunglasses.
I super loved being an editor.
Just before the last issue came out, we had a problem. There was a page which didn’t have anything on it — someone was meant to do a story and they were away from school for a week. I decided to solve the problem myself and write a long feature entitled ‘Christmas Craft Fun’. Because it was an entire page, I had to print it out at home to be photocopied the next day. And, worst of all, I had to use the dreaded program — Publisher. Those four hours of writing, dragging clip art around and then clicking ‘print’ were very long. And when I had hit print, typos started jumping out at me from the screen. Three print jobs later and I had a lovely full page feature which I put on page four. Page two wouldn’t have looked too humble, and anyway, my column already appeared on the first page.
I threw out all of my Gambier Gazettes a few years ago which was a shame, I would have loved to have seen how my editing skills held up.
I can’t say I was very self reflective about this job of mine at the time but I kind of wish I had been now. I wish I had been more active in writing, entering contests and doing more than just writing in a journal that no one read. Even so, I will always have my glory days of being a student editor for nine weeks.