Woes of Layout

Fall quarter, first issue and I already felt the desperate need to undergo mitosis and split myself in two. People called my name left and right. I had never hated hearing my name more than that Sunday.

“I need a house ad!,”  “The article doesn’t fit,” “We need to put Antics!,” “We have so much space! Can you create a graphic?”

I didn’t even want to be Layout editor, but the team was thinning out by the end of last year and the New University would have been lost without a layout editor.

I couldn’t say no, but the first quarter I never felt like an editor.  There were always mistakes; lines were missing, text was misaligned, covers were too dark to see the text, photos weren’t given credit and so forth. I was kidding myself that I could take the responsibility of making our newspaper look at least decent.  I just wanted to be an intern or staff with the three-hour only commitment on Sundays and with the least amount of responsibilities. Instead, I found myself in the newsroom from 10 in the morning to just before midnight. I needed to meet everyone’s demands and each section wanted to get out early.

But if it wasn’t for staying in till midnight on some occasions, I wouldn’t have really been a part of the NewU, because what is being part of a team if you couldn’t share in the joys and agonies of a long day of production?

First, I have to address my lovely layout team who have always lent an extra hand and worked extra time when I needed it.  Joyce’s brilliant editorial comics saved the readers of the NewU from my terrible drawings. Natasha’s unwavering positivity made me look forward to working with my team every Sunday. Archel’s graphic-design skills, which without a doubt exceed my own, leaves me no doubt that she will become a great layout editor for next year.

Sports, how I dreaded you the most last year! This year, though, they effectively had their own layout editor.  Although, Ian, the pseudo-layout editor, would often challenge the design rules engrained in me since my first day, I can’t help to admit he knew what he was doing. I could always trust that there was little to fix in the Sports section.

The first cover I designed was for Entertainment, and I secretly looked forward to designing the Entertainment’s covers as an intern.  Layout editorship has always had its advantages, and admittedly I would keep an eye out for the cooler cover stories so that I could assign them to myself (sorry, layout staff).

Features, almost always last to finish up on production day. Charles, I know that you never sent me an email with your cover assignment, because all you really wanted was a weekly text from me so I never minded going through those hair-pulling nights when your section was just being a bitch.

Opinion, the first section I mastered and continue to enjoy working with. Kevin’s positive attitude and encouragement convinced me that I may truly be the SENIOR LEAD EXECUTIVE PRIYA IN CHIEF DESIGN PRESIDENT as I was dubbed by Greg, Michael and Zach one late Sunday night.  Further, I always respected Kevin’s conviction to always include comics into his section.

Another year with News and I would go bald. Articles wouldn’t fit, articles would drop, there would be TONS of spaces, and I wanted to pull my hair out.

I didn’t know a single name of a copy editor as an intern. Copy was just a group of people who occupied the center table. Another reason why I am glad to have been layout editor this year is that I finally got to know your names, and picked up a few grammar skills too. I will duly note that an apostrophe does not come after the year followed by an “S.”

Photo, you’re terrible. I’m kidding.

When Amanda and Greg asked me why I wanted to be layout editor summed up in three words my response was “You’d be screwed.” But the fact was without them and everyone else helping me adjust I would have been screwed. So, thank you to Amanda and Greg trusting me with the shallow task of making the newspaper look good.

Today, I feel like I should have read the articles my friends and colleagues have written, and putting in the effort to know them as writers — to reciprocate the efforts they have contributed to making me a better editor. But after the hair-pulling, head-banging and staring at their layout for hours on Sunday, I cannot get myself to pick up an issue without focusing on the spacing between the articles, the placement of graphics and all the other layout knick-knacks that have gone awry. #woesoflayout