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 been a place for students to gain real-life 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, four past 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.”
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 had written. I did some editing, and the final edits to the stories, but I didn’t get to write a lot anymore. I wrote the devotional stories each week. (It) required a lot of administrating and making sure things were 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.
“(Scroll’s) mission is to be relevant to the students, to be entertaining and innovative. (They) also want to be relevant to the Church audience. Part of the mission is preparing students for the industry as well.
“Something that 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.”
Jenna Schwarz: the former photo editor, graphic designer and a graduate in art
“I got involved with Scroll in Fall of 2016 because, the semester before, I was looking in the newspaper, and I saw these ads that were like, ‘get your design printed 7,000 times,’ and I was like, ‘oh that’s cool, maybe I should do that and get some experience while I’m in college.’
“So I went to the office, and they told me to take the class. I joined and I started Scroll as a photographer, then I worked my way up to assistant photo editor, to photo editor, to assistant managing editor and now, I am the graphic designer.
“Every job I’ve had with Scroll has a lot of collaboration involved. As a photographer and photo editor, I would work with other sections to find the kind of things they needed photos of, and then more recently I’ve been working with other sections to see what kind of graphics they need for things. And the whole freshman paper is all collaboration with working with all the sections and assigning stories.
“I have also learned to work with fast deadlines. Sometimes, we will be at (general) conference and we have a story that needs to be up in 30 minutes, so I’ve gotten very good at working with fast deadlines.
“I have learned a lot in my years at Scroll. But most importantly, I have learned how important it is to have friends that will support you and be there for you through your personal life and your work life, who will help you reach your potential as an employee.”
Brooks McFadden: the former photo editor, graphic designer and social media manager and a graduate in communication
“I started working for the Scroll in Spring 2016. I had the managing editor reach out to me in winter to apply even though I hadn’t done Scroll at all, I hadn’t taken the class because I was terrified of it — because writing. I applied, and I ended up getting the job as the assistant photo editor.
“I worked as the photo editor in Fall 2016, social media manager in Spring 2017. I then split my time with Soapbox and Scroll in Fall 2017. And then, the last six weeks of Spring 2018, I came back like the prodigal son I am.
“One of the coolest parts about Scroll as a graphic designer was I got writing skills from it. I learned how to write and do it with technical writing, writing for social media. In general, I was able to do a lot more copy editing for work, whether it was internships or at my current job. I do so much editing and writing, even though my main job is a graphic designer and photographer.
“I am glad I did Scroll because I know a lot of people who they didn’t take the time to learn writing, because yeah they have cool skills here and there, but writing is so basic and necessary.
“One lesson I learned, as basic as is sounds, was communication. Communication with individuals and communication as a whole because there are certain instances where communication wasn’t happening, and because of that, there were things that fell by the wayside: people weren’t editing correctly; people weren’t giving stories to each other; photo requests weren’t being made or were being made in weird ways, or weird requests were requested.
“But a lot of the communication was that people wouldn’t talk to each other, and it’s because we don’t know when it is appropriate to communicate, and so it’s fine, you just learn to communicate, you over-communicate and you have to help establish those channels of communication.”