BYU-Idaho’s Scroll news agency is one of the school’s oldest institutions. It has gone by many names: The Purple Flash, The Student Rays and The Viking Scroll.
The Scroll has long been a place for students to gain real-life writing experience and participate in a supportive community of professionally minded students and encouraging faculty. To help students learn more about the role Scroll can take in their lives, three members of the Scroll team shared their experiences.
Jeremy Hale: former assistant day editor and a graduate in communication
“I joined the Scroll because I had a professor my sophomore year who suggested it. My editors really cared about my progress and the work I was doing and helped me care about it. They gave me assignments that helped show my talents.
After my first few semesters of Scroll, I applied and got an internship at Deseret News, and that was really fun. I got to live down in Salt Lake City. I got to interview one of the top soprano singers in the world. I interviewed Tim Allen and wrote articles about him and many interesting people too.
When I was at Deseret News, I had a great editor. She came to me with the article about Tim Allen and said: ‘I have an interview we’re going to be doing with Tim Allen because he’s coming into Salt Lake City to do a comedy show. We need someone to cover that, and I want it to be you.’ She said, ‘Every intern should have a good experience interviewing a famous person.’
I knew about three or four weeks in advance that I was going to be interviewing him and that didn’t help. It made me really nervous. The interview was about 35 minutes long. I got to talk to him about all sorts of things over the phone.
He’s a very interesting guy, so I had quite a lot of stuff to talk about. I ended up writing an article about Tim Allen, and how he nearly walked out of a showing of The Book of Mormon musical in New York because he didn’t like how it portrayed the Church. It ended up being well read. A lot of people read that article, and (it) was pretty cool to have that experience.
It might seem daunting at first. It might seem like a lot of work, and the truth is, it is. But when you get done with an article, it gets published and people read (it), it’s really cool to see how they react to it.”
Melissa Greenhalgh: a former copy editor and a senior studying English
“I found out about Scroll from my degree audit. I was nervous at first, but once I started, I realized I could do it. It’s been a good experience. It helped me realize I like copy editing and now those are the jobs I’m applying for. Scroll lets me say I have experience copy editing for someone.
(Scroll) also lets me know what’s going on ahead of time. I’m the person who’s always out of the loop, but when Elder Holland came to visit, I was one of the first ones to know because of Scroll.
It’s cool when you can content edit, fact check and help the reporter get the message across more clearly.
(The Scroll environment) is very friendly and helpful. You should never be afraid to ask questions. People are more than willing to help you. You do have to be self-motivated, but people are there to help, and I’ve never felt judged.
For the most part, it’s more about learning how to write and learning how to edit. Try it out. If you don’t like it, you can stop. But if you do, you can get a lot of good experience.”
Aida Tibbitts: the former editor in chief and a graduate in communication
“My first semester I was in the news beat. I covered international news and Church news.
One semester, we covered two national school shootings, and we also had a sexual assault victim who came to Scroll to tell her story. (The shootings) were really interesting opportunities to contact people whose family members were affected by the shootings.
As the editor in chief, I read everything everyone has written. I still do some editing, and I do the final edits to the stories, but I don’t write a lot anymore. I write the devotional stories each week. (My current position) requires a lot of administrating and making sure things are published on time, as well as telling people if they’re doing something wrong. When you’re a reporter, you spend most of your time writing.
Our mission is to be relevant to the students, to be entertaining and innovative. We also want to be relevant to the Church audience. Part of our mission is preparing students for industry as well.
Something that has kept me coming back to Scroll semester after semester is that it’s a low consequence environment where you have the opportunity to get your work out there, but if you do something wrong or make a mistake, that’s okay. The chances of you getting fired or kicked out of Scroll is almost zero because you’re a student who’s expected to make mistakes.”