Sickness puts everything into perspective. Since our last production night, I’ve found myself in a cycle of illness, with fevers, aches, congestion, and more phlegm manufacturing than my body can handle. For the first time in years I had to miss our weekly pitch meeting—to trade pizza and story ideas for cough syrup and solitary (and stuffy) confinement.
While I sprawled out on my temporary deathbed, I had time to think. I’d go through an episode of Shameless, surf through all of my social media accounts, re-read all of my emails, and then spend time pondering. I thought about mortality and the fragility of health. I thought about current events and created this metaphor where the US is sick with a cold and the cure lies in removing the virus, our mucus-y president. I thought about how much a puppy would cheer me up, compared with the prices of dog food and pet rent. I thought about all the times I took my non-stuffed nose for granted, and made promises to the Gods of Heath and Prosperity that I would never make that mistake again.
Perhaps above all, I thought about the Sentry. I missed the pitching process of newspaper production, which is the foundation of what we do here. This step is vital: all Sentry staff meet and circulate their story ideas for an upcoming issue. Then, editors assign the most relevant stories for their sections to eager writers and photographers. There’s pizza and fresh faces, eager to give Auraria Campus a voice. There’s collaboration, as inspiration sprouts and questions are asked and leads are given.
Our pitch meetings lay the groundwork for the rest of the Sentry operations. As writers are assigned stories, they have deadlines to meet that ensure a proper amount of time for editing—where section editors can verify facts and sources and information, then copy editors can check for grammar, rhetoric, and AP style, up until production night, where all editors work to piece the newspaper together, by laying articles page-by-page before our in-person editing circulation begins at 5 p.m. sharp. Each step, beginning with a group of dedicated student journalists sitting around a giant table, is essential to our success.
Part of my job as Editor in Chief is to be a part of the production process, from the inception of a brilliant article pitch to the moment where the paper is submitted to the printer. I’m there to meet new CU Denver faces as they share their stories; I’m there to make red pen edits as editors slave over their pages on Tuesday nights. Missing it hurts, with more force than an explosive sneeze. But here’s the good news: I’m back, I’m better, and I’m here to make this issue of the Sentry the best that it can be.