Contrary to the name that this column has come to bear proudly, I’m not actually angry about anything in particular today. Actually, I’d say that I’m pretty happy about the events that transpired leading to this.
In case you didn’t know it, I am an Education major. I know it seems a little strange that an Education major would be half of the duo in charge of a student media source, but that’s unimportant. The reason I’m bringing up my major is because a class for my major is half of the reason I’m writing this article. The other half is a conversation I had on the way home from my Field Placement, another integral part of being in the Education department.
The class that I had this past Monday featured a lesson regarding feedback and its effectiveness in helping students to learn. Feedback is prevalent all over the place. Phelps just finished having students complete surveys and if you go to Meijer, even the automated self-checkouts are asking for your feedback and whether you are super pumped about spending money.
As I was coming back to campus from my Field Placement Tuesday, I hitched a ride with Campus Safety, and the driver of the vehicle turned to me and said, “I really enjoyed your article the other day in The Anchor. It was hilarious.” Initially I was caught off guard. Hearing comments about how “great” my articles are have become things that I expect from my parents, my grandmother, occasionally my older siblings, sometimes professors but not often from other students on campus.
Here at The Anchor, we work incredibly hard on Mondays to make sure that the paper gets completed and is sent out in a timely manner. A typical Anchor Production Night starts at 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. for most people on staff, and I arrive at 7:00ish when I finish my Monday night class. Some people come in a little earlier and some people come in later; it’s really up to the person and their schedule. Every section makes their pages and then have to go through three separate rounds of edits before it’s finalized and we export the document to be sent in to the printers. Everyone is free to leave when their section is finished—we’re not going to force them to stay against their will.
While most people get out of the office by 10:00 or 11:00 p.m., we have some students who have night classes and can’t make it in until late. That means that Amber and I, one of our copy editors and the section editor trying to finish will usually end up staying here until about 1:30 or 2:00 a.m. before exporting the pages, emailing them to our advisor, waiting for his final notes, making corrections the next morning and then sending the papers in to be printed. It’s a lot of work that generally equals very little sleep, especially when you have to be up early to go to Field Placements.
We put a ton of work into these papers, and it’d really be nice to hear some feedback from people who aren’t our parents, whom we feel have to be nice about what we write because, you know, they’re our parents. Now, I know what all of you older adults are thinking, “Daggum millennials, want us to say they’re great just for making a paper. When I was your age, we wrote all of our newspapers down with a paper and pen. This is the problem with our youth… yada yada… kids can’t grow up wanting credit for just participating… yada yada… Get off my lawn.”
But you see, I’m not asking for you to come out and say that our newspaper is the greatest thing ever, unless you really think that, in which case please do. But, the thing with feedback is that, while the good stuff is really nice to hear, the negative feedback can be incredibly helpful for us to hear. If you didn’t think something we covered was good or you feel that there are ways that we should improve our writing and the way we cover things, then those are concerns that we would love to hear about. If we don’t know that we’re doing something you hate, how can we possibly fix it?
Your feedback can really concern anything that we’re doing. Did you not like an article that we wrote about? Let us know. Did you love an article? Let us know. Do you think we forgot to cover something, or having something coming up that we should cover? Let us know. Do you think that the newspaper smelled kind of like your wet dog? Don’t let your dog get to the newspaper when it’s raining outside. Also, let us know because that sounds like a hilarious story. Heck, write us a letter to the editor and complain about a story all that you want, and who knows, you might even get published in the next issue of The Anchor.
We’re working incredibly hard to put out interesting and timely stories for everybody that reads The Anchor either online or in print, but sometimes, I look at the stacks of extra papers sitting in our office and get a little discouraged thinking that nobody is actually reading the paper. So, if you pick up the paper and you have an opinion, any opinion at all, let us know. Come up and talk to us, email us, write a letter or use a smoke signal if you have to, but let us know. This paper is for you guys.