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I remember being so excited to sign up for the Campus Slate. It was my first opportunity to be a part of a working publication and I couldn’t wait to dive in.
At that point I knew that I loved to write, but there was also a lot that I didn’t know. If I ever wanted to become a serious journalist (which I wasn’t completely sold on just yet), I had to understand things like how to properly interview, how to manage deadlines, and how exactly a stack of rough drafts littered with red lines and squiggly marks eventually becomes a newspaper.
Did I have what it takes? Was this something I could do for a living and should I pursue it? The Campus Slate answered those questions for me and more.
I was with the Slate for five semesters, working my way from staff writer to associate editor and then Editor-in-Chief. With the encouragement and constructive criticism of advisor John Hanc, I always felt like someone had my back. It was great to have a professional author and journalist there to answer questions and provide advice. Come to think of it, John is still there to lend his support and guidance whenever I need it today.
From nervous interviews with important sources to the occasional all-nighter spent scrambling to get final proofs to the printer on time, the range of experiences I had with the Slate helped me to recognize my potential as a writer and my knack for editing. Turns out I’m not just a weirdo that gets anxiety over comma placement and sentence flow, I am an editor. Most important, I found that I enjoyed the process.
The greatest reward was always picking up the stacks of papers fresh from the press, flipping through the pages and finally seeing the culmination of everyone’s efforts – a product built upon the strengths and interests of what was often a very diverse group of students working together to create something that we could all be proud of.
While I was editor-in-chief we launched the Campus Slate’s first website. That was 2010, and like all publications, it was due time (perhaps overdue) for the Slate to make its initial venture into the digital world. It prepared me for an industry in transition, a reality that is exciting as it is intimidating and one that many publications are still trying to navigate. Keeping up with that evolution is essential.
Being involved with NYIT’s student newspaper was the first push that helped to get my career rolling. Through connections that I established and the stack of writing samples that I built, I landed an internship with a respected food industry magazine in Manhattan. After I graduated my experience was an advantage for getting freelance gigs, which later helped me to get better, steadier writing and editing jobs.
Like anything, the Campus Slate is what you make of it. No matter what you’re in it for – the writing, the advertising, the design, or even just for the credits and the free pizza, you’re going to get something out of it. I know many fellow alumni who consider it one of the most memorable parts of their time at NYIT. For me, it was the first step on a path that I am still walking, where I began to build my voice as a writer and an invaluable asset to my education.