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Steering the ship…

Posted: February 16, 2017 5:38 p.m.
Updated: February 17, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Considering my occupation as a meager student in high school, I’ve had few chances to partake in managerial positions. I suppose that’s a natural occurrence for anyone who’s only spanned 18 years of lifetime but I have found myself contracted into an unnatural occurrence. It is now my duty, as Senior Editor of the Palmetto Leaf, to manage a team of 10 students in order to produce the high quality reading material that is our school newspaper. As the semester progresses, I’m learning the sorts of ins and outs of running a team of people. 

It’s an arduous task, I first came to learn. Time I had originally spent as a staff writer, thoroughly writing out articles or what have you, has been translated into assisting others with their own individual articles, layouts and other extraneous jargon. Important jargon, of course, but I now find it harder to put together my own pieces when I become responsible for the pieces of 10 others. A sort of schedule-Tetris has to occur between me assisting others and putting together my own articles, or editing someone else’s article, or teaching someone how to zoom in. Though a weaker man might be moved to re-examine his faith, I on the other hand, am willing to accept a challenge of the wit and cunning it takes to manage a high school newspaper. 

My staff in itself is a blessing. I’d be extensively unable to run the show without their patience and cooperation. To remind the reader, I’m new to the venture of handling and utilizing an entire staff of people and I do find them at times slacking away from the jobs they’re required to perform in order for the paper to reach its goal. I suppose I share some sentiment with those who are new to the paper; due dates can be an obtuse subject at first, but some of the more well-off writers tend to be skimpy on their submissions. I fret at the possibility that they see newspaper as merely a free block in which to complete chemistry homework or stare at the wall for an hour and a half. Luckily enough, these sorts of cases are at least miniscule for this semester and I do, in fact, have a swell group of hard workers. 

I greatly appreciate the work they complete for the paper, as well as the rest of my staff, even if at times Snapchat appears to be a greater objective than that of finishing anything at all. In terms of making sure they effectively apply their skills, that job falls upon me, with the advice given by my superior—that would be our adviser.  I’ve learned a lot more about how people work and where they should operate in the paper based on their strengths. I’m hoping that in the future the knowledge I’ve picked up in my time here will serve me well. At another editing position in some paper somewhere far off perhaps? The New York Times? Los Angeles? I have hopeful aspirations for the future, but for now we go to presses February 21 and I expect the most informative and well-produced issue we’ve had as of this year (or perhaps years?).  Soon enough, I’ll have to leave my staff behind. It worries me from time to time, what they should do without me, if they should be left to wander aimlessly though black and white pages of print. Seeing my staff work as diligently as they do currently, though, such worries exit my mind.

Cooper Ellis is a senior at Camden High School. 

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