Profile of a Greely Alum, Siana Emery

School Newspapers Can Make a "Deep Impact"

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Profile of a Greely Alum, Siana Emery

Siana Emery, the editor of her college newspaper.

Siana Emery, the editor of her college newspaper.

Siana Emery, the editor of her college newspaper.

Siana Emery, the editor of her college newspaper.

Kate Ramseyer, Ranger Review Staff Writer

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Greely graduate Siana Emery (’16)  recently contacted the Ranger Review staff and expressed  her interest in our brand-new school newspaper. Siana, now a student at Goshen College in Indiana, will be the editor of her school’s paper, The Record, in the coming spring semester. This interview is a look at what it’s like writing for a college newspaper and what the experience brings to both the staff and readers.

 

Why did you want to be part of Goshen’s newspaper?

I actually joined originally as a contributing writer the second semester of my freshman year because I heard that the paper needed more people. My sophomore year I joined the staff as a copy editor, again because of my English background, and I realized that I really enjoyed working behind the scenes. Since then, I’ve worked as a staff writer, the Arts page editor, the News page editor and on the layout staff. Next semester I take over as Executive Editor.

 

Do you think the newspaper has an impact on the community as a whole?

I’d say so. Especially with our increasing online presence, alumni and community members will read and comment on articles The Record publishes. Goshen is a tight-knit town and the college is pretty small, so a lot of people feel connected to what happens on campus and vice versa.

 

What are some examples of stories you’ve written that have made a difference?

I wrote an op-ed last February critiquing some aspects of my college’s study abroad program, SST, which is a huge part of Goshen. This piece, while not a traditional article, sparked a number of conversations on campus and brought to the forefront some problems that hadn’t been addressed publicly before.

 

A more traditional story that I feel has had an impact on campus, but is about the same overall subject, was my coverage of the SST search conference this past fall. The reassessing of this program is a huge thing on campus and has been a very important subject among students, staff, faculty and alum all semester.

 

How do you think you’ve grown as a reporter and writer — how have your stories improved through the years?

I’ve become a lot more comfortable interviewing people and I have begun to learn what sort of questions to ask. I also know what details are important to add, and what aren’t, and how to follow [Associated Press] style. The biggest thing in improving my stories was an upper level reporting class I took last spring. It gave me experience in a number of different types of articles, forced me to get out of my comfort zone and I had the opportunity to talk to real-life reporters (one is a White House correspondent for the New York Times)!

 

In terms of how my stories have improved, it’s hard to put into words. But if you compare what I wrote freshman year versus what I’m writing now, there’s definitely been a big change. I remember my first article was a preview for a spring play, and I had no idea what I was doing. The formatting was completely wrong and I had no confidence in what I was writing. Now, I can practically churn out a news story in my sleep. Just getting practice and feedback has been the most important thing.

 

Do you have any tips for student reporters working on their school newspapers?

Like I mentioned above, just keep writing and getting involved! That’s the best way to improve. School papers are there to highlight what’s going on — so always keep an eye out for potential stories and things people might find interesting.

 

Did some of the other newspaper staff at Goshen have newspapers at their high schools? If so, do you think their experience has been different than yours?

In general, I think that the people who had a newspaper available at their high schools worked on it. I’d say the biggest difference with their experience and mine is that they were able to get a head start of sorts. For example, one girl I know was able to join the paper staff in the fall of her freshman year because of her experience in high school. I think that because I knew nothing about working at a paper and had no journalistic background coming into college, I’ve had to learn very quickly to catch up.

 

Altogether, is there anything in particular that you think is important to emphasize?

This goes along with tips: if you are even slightly interested in working for a school paper — do it! Even if you don’t pursue journalism later on, it is such an amazing experience. You might not always realize it, but school papers tend to make a pretty deep impact on campus — people pay attention to what is published. Oftentimes, the school paper is the only way a lot of people hear about what’s going on around them.

 

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