Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Putting together The Mac Weekly

Like many of my friends here, I loved being a part of my high school newspaper. (Actually, I suspect Macalester has a disproportionately high number of former high school newspaper Editor-in-Chiefs in its student body.) At the Involvement Fair of my first semester, I charged straight toward The Mac Weekly’s table and signed up to be a writer.

I never looked back, becoming one of the Features Editors during the second semester of my first year, a position I’ve held ever since, although now I’m a Managing Editor as well. And despite being a bit intimidated by the intense camaraderie of the staff, I’ve hung around long enough now that The Mac Weekly office feels comfy and familiar, and the people are my rejuvenative-dancing, snack-supplying, copy-editing refuge.
A few things to know about The Mac Weekly:
  1. We lay out the paper on Wednesday nights. Start time is 7 p.m., and those with the most responsibility (Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editors, mostly) sometimes stay until 4 or 5 a.m. It sounds torturous, but the reason layout takes so long is because we have such a great time in the interim. No matter how zombie-like I am each and every Thursday, I inexplicably come back. Specifically: I inexplicably look forward to coming back.
Our lair is humble but much beloved.

  1. At the beginning of my tenure on staff, someone designated layout Wednesdays as “the Sabbath.” We’re not exactly resting, but it’s definitely a time of holiness and feast. Also, staff members rarely get a chance to shower on Wednesday nights.

  2. Design staff member Nate Williams and News Editor/Managing Editor Jonathan McJunkin are focused and a bit tired, but determined.

    Our office is located in the deep recesses of Wallace Hall. Although it’s difficult to find the first (and second and third) time, its obscureness means we have our own little corner of campus to decorate and personalize as we please. Naturally, the walls are covered in quotes of Mac Weekly staffers past and present. I bask in the wall; at 3 a.m., reading the delirious thoughts of my friends and forebears can provide the energizing kick I need to keep editing. It’s a prestigious honor to have your quote written on the wall, so I try not to abuse the temptation to record every funny moment. Standards are high because there are a few quotes of people I’ve never met that crack me up every time.

  1. The Mac Weekly takes its snacks seriously. Since we’re there consistently in the office so late into the night, we make sure to stock up on the appropriate provisions. At this point, we’ve mastered the art of gathering a well-balanced spread of fruit and veggies, salty and sweet, cookies and chips. For big issues, sometimes jars of peanut butter and loaves of bread are required. Quote of the night from an editor last layout: “The Mac Weekly keeps me in carrots.”
    Sometimes, when the going gets rough, communal snacks aren’t enough. This was my dinner last layout.

  1. Music matters. I regard myself incredibly well-versed in the radio hits of 2003-2006, which has become the go-to era for feel-good pop. Of course we dabble in the 90s classics of our childhoods as well as reaching further back into 70s and 80s anthems. Audiophiles be warned that we prefer the infectious over the original, and we may break out in dance (especially if there is a YouTube video to follow).
Arts Editor Sophie Nikitas and I attempted the famous dance to Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend.” After three run-throughs, we felt ready to proceed with layout.

  1. We really suck you into The Mac Weekly. Personally, I joined because I loved to write feature stories and work on designing page layouts, and I was interested in a career in journalism. Now, although I’m continually proud of our product and impressed by the skill and dedication of my co-editors, the journalism isn’t the only reason I stay on staff. Even though I probably won’t pursue a career in journalism, I’ve found a community I cherish. I’ve met incredible mentors, helped other people feel more involved in campus, and felt connected in a way I don’t think I would otherwise. Plus, I’ve learned the words to a lot of Usher songs and learned how to operate on four hours of sleep.

  2. Check out for evidence of our endless toils and charisma.
    I caught my co-editors mid-evening. This is magic in the making!