The aging elevator in the back of the Dobbs University Center (DUC) grinds to a halt at the fifth floor. Its door rattles open, revealing a cluster of offices buzzing with activity. Thursday night is production night for The Emory Wheel, and its staff is hustling to ready the next day’s paper.
In the newsroom, to the right, editors banter back and forth as they grind away at the paper’s layout. Bad jokes abound and cups of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee crowd the desks. Assistant editors work with writers on last-minute stories, and music blares in from the office across the hall, where the Sports editors are making their picks for the coming week’s games. The Student Life editor chatters with them as she arranges a puzzle of photos and blocks of text on a glowing monitor.
In the business office to the left, copy editors have commandeered a cluster of computers and are checking each story for grammar and style. The room is oddly silent, save for the clatter of keyboards and the hum of fluorescent lights. During the week, the office is home to the Wheel‘s business team, whose sales prowess keeps the editorial staff in business.
In a small office at the center of this organized chaos, the executive board – the editor-in-chief, executive editor and managing editor – keeps watch. These editors’ experience makes them jacks-of-all-trades and they assist where needed, ensuring that production runs smoothly. By the end of the night, which is sometimes as late as 2 a.m., the executive board has no doubt resolved a number of minor crises.
The process begins again on Friday. In the next four days, editors will work on collecting content for the next issue.
The editorial board will meet on Sunday to critique the latest issue and to voice its opinion through the staff editorial. On Monday night, the staff will once again be in production. On Tuesday morning, the Wheel will appear, like clockwork and as if by magic, in newsstands around campus.
When I first started at the Wheel as a freshman, it looked nothing like it does today. Although it was not a low-quality newspaper, the Wheel did not play an important role in the Emory community.
But recent years have seen a great deal of controversy, and I have seen the Wheel take on a renewed role in informing the community. Through scandals and organizational upheavals, students and faculty alike have relied on this newspaper to keep its finger on the campus pulse. Its editorial pages have served as the forum for a discussion of Emory’s values – and concerns.
As an organization of journalists, majors or otherwise, our duty is to seek out the truth and report it accurately. The pursuit of such an ideal can seem quixotic at times, fraught with pitfalls and challenging decisions. Sometimes we make mistakes, and sometimes we have to make hard decisions in pursuit of the truth. I haven’t made many friends working at the Wheel, but the ones I have made – namely the other editors – are some of my closest. Besides, I’m not in it for the friends.
Working at the Wheel has been the defining experience of my college career thus far, and when I leave in January to spend a semester at the University of Salamanca, I will miss the feeling of being tied in to the goings-on of my community.
I will miss the chaos of production night and the feeling of pride when I pick up copy of the Wheel the next morning. I will not miss the haters.
This is not a goodbye but rathermore of an acknowledgement of a great change in my life. I plan to contribute to the Wheel from abroad, but my days as a section editor have come to an end.
When I return as a senior, I will surely take on a new role here.
I’m excited to see what that role is, and to see how the newspaper I love so much has changed in my absence.
In the meantime, a new adventure awaits me. Vale.
Features Editor Nicholas Bradley is a College junior from Skillman, N.J.