Growing up, many of us remember a time with dial-up and land lines. A time when calling a friend meant having to have a short and awkward conversation with their parents.
Have you seen those old movies where a reporter would show up wearing a trench coat and ask a few questions, all while taking notes on a notepad? Though technology and time have changed the look of the modern reporter, many of the skills are the same.
The process of writing a news story starts the same today as it did back then: by finding a news peg. A reporter will then research the subject they want to write about, find studies that support or weaken a story and interview people directly involved with the story or people that are some kind of an expert in the field surrounding the story. After understanding the premise of the situation, the reporter will then find an angle to write the story from.
After conducting a few of those interviews, writing every important detail down by hand, the reporter would do more research by going to libraries, traveling to wherever experts or eye witnesses were to find out as much as they could, eventually writing a story by hand and physically giving it to an editor in an office where copy staff would then read it and pass it off to a designer. The designer would then print and cut our individual stories and paste them onto a large paper to plan and account for the best layout for the newspaper. Eventually, the paper would be organized and ready to print and distribute to the public.
Today, most story research is done online through Google, email or even texting. Many of our reporters show up to interviews with a phone in hand — voice recording their entire interview. After completing their interview, reporters will then hop onto a laptop or desktop computer, listen to their interview and then transcribe the entire interview into a Word document.
After doing at least three interviews and lots of research, all of the information is compiled and a story is written. Much like in the “olden days,” reporters today find an angle to write the story from.
At the Scroll, we use a digital work desk called Camayak instead of physically putting paper articles onto an editor’s desk. This allows the writer to digitally send their story to their editors, copy staff and eventually to the editor-in-chief. Camayak can be used in the Scroll office, but it’s also available from the comfort of Scrolly’s own homes and apartments.
After the story is edited by many parties, it is given to the managing editor. The managing editor uses Adobe InDesign to digitally create a layout for the paper, including photographs, graphics and advertisements. After all is said and done, the final digital copy of the paper is emailed off to the printer, printed, delivered back to the school and placed all around campus.
The Scroll is modernizing and taking a step into the future. Development on our website and an app is in progress, and paper copies will only happen once a semester. We may be moving further away from the newspapers of our past, but the way we research, interview, write and publish stories will stay the same — or even get better. And our passion for journalism won’t change — we promise you that.