Student-run newspapers are places where young journalists can explore their writing interests while finding their niche and passions. Stepping into a university’s student newspaper can be intimidating, or at least this was the case for me. What first appeared as an overwhelming step into my career slowly transformed into a welcoming feeling and, at times, exhilarating.
Student-run newspapers provide the experience of working alongside editors while writing under tight deadlines. It can be a first glimpse of a real newsroom, something classes can’t always provide. This is also where students can have their first piece of journalistic work published.
At The Runner, contributors get paid to write as much or as little as they wish while adding published stories to their portfolio.
My journey with The Runner began as a contributor in 2019. My first article was event coverage of a Kwantlen Polytechnic University instructor talk on evolution myths.
As I flipped the cover page, my first published story sat below the editorial. Though highly edited for stylistic purposes, I was impressed by crafting something that would be read by someone other than myself.
My role as a contributor gave me the experience to obtain the Community Reporter position. A couple of months later, I became a Staff Writer and Associate Editor. Then in the October 2020 Editor in Chief election, I was voted into the role.
One of the largest projects I had for The Runner was establishing a concrete video journalism section to give students experience in video making. Journalism isn’t only writing. Now more than ever, the industry needs multimedia journalists who can produce meaningful stories in all forms, like video, audio, and photography.
With the help of our previous Managing Editor Braden Klassen, current Associate Editor Kyler Emerson, and Operations Manager Scott Boux, the project became a reality. The Runner opened a position for a video editor to develop and pitch stories. We now publish weekly videos on Instagram and YouTube of issue reviews, Meet KPU’s, and feature stories.
Last year, I worked with the editors and Alex Rodriguez, our previous Web Manager, to change the look of our website to give KPU students a refreshed way of navigating our articles.
During my time as EIC, I worked with Emerson on engagement tactics and growing a following on our social media, along with adding templates to our Instagram and Twitter posts for reader convenience.
Klassen, Emerson, and I also developed the Submission Guideline contract for contributors. The guide is meant to be an informative tool where contributors can get information on how to submit content and how much articles, art, and photos pay.
In the first two years of the pandemic, The Runner staff didn’t meet in-person, and even though some of us met virtually throughout the week for meetings, our sense of community began to disappear. I felt the need to develop online mixers, and now The Runner has an events coordinator, a volunteer position whose role is to host mixers.
With restrictions eased and vaccines distributed, The Runner team meets in-person for production to develop our print issues. Due to the ongoing pandemic, production is one of the few times we can get the entire staff in the office. It’s my favourite time because it highlights the importance of everyone’s role.
Without our staff and reporters, The Runner has no stories for students. Without art or photo editors, we have no illustrations in our paper. Rachel De Freitas, our web manager, has the role of posting our stories to the website and social media. The need for a Production Manager, currently Mikayla Croucher, is crucial to lay out the entire printed issue.
The Operations Manager guides the Polytechnic Ink Publishing Society (PIPS) board and annual general meetings while acting as a human resources fellow to ensure everyone and the paper itself is doing okay. The associate and managing editors are key to establishing The Runner style, fact-checking, and supporting writers.
Without all of you, there is no way for students to read our content. The Runner wouldn’t be a newspaper. Without videos, there is no way for students to witness events or learn about folks making a difference at KPU.
Student-run newspapers are the best place to grow your career. And you don’t need to be a journalist, just someone willing to work in a team environment and learn from those who have come before you.