As the cliché goes, if you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life.
I’m not sure who to credit this grand cliché to, but I’m going on record to state that whoever they are, they are unabashedly lying to your face. Nothing quite parallels my deep, profound and — according to my parents and friends that guffaw at all of our work schedules — sometimes irrational love for the Daily Trojan. And yet, every day at 5 p.m., I walk into the newsroom and I go to work.
As an associate managing editor, I edit pages, review stories and oversee sections, but it’s so much more than that. It’s hard, demanding work to stay on top of coverage, to fact check, to make things as perfect as possible in an imperfect and rapidly changing news cycle. That being said, however, it’s the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. I get to hold what we accomplish everyday in the newsroom in my hands the next day. How many people can say that? Given the dwindling life of newspapers and print journalism, I can safely say very few.
I remember my first day as an editor at the Daily Trojan. It was 11 p.m. on the first day of the spring semester of my freshman year and my computer — that I had laid out all the news pages for the following day on after many hours of toiling over InDesign — crashed. All of my work was deleted, and I had to start the pages over completely. I switched computers and began re-laying out as my tears silently spilled onto the keyboard. Great, I thought. It’s my first day, and I’m already going to be known as the office crier.
As I walked out of the newsroom that night, in the wee hours of the morning I told myself I would finish out the week and then quit.
“That’s it,” I told my sister on the phone the next day. “It’s too hard, I’m not cut out for it, the editor-in-chief made a mistake in hiring me. I’m not ready.”
I ended up finishing out the week and then the semester, and now here I am almost a year away from the day I was hired as news editor, writing about life as an associate managing editor.
Whether I ever shook the reputation of “the girl that cried on her first day” is debatable, but I am grateful everyday that I didn’t quit. The Daily Trojan is a little like the famous Hotel California alluded to by the Eagles — “You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.”
The Daily Trojan is more than just the place I spend around 40 hours a week at — it’s a way of life. We make up our own imperfect little family in the newsroom, and it is incredibly moving to work with people that challenge and inspire me everyday.
Similar to how Simon Cowell made the historic decision to group together five young male solo artists who had auditioned for the X Factor back in 2010 and had all somehow melded into the greatest boy band (dare I say, band?) of all time, the Daily Trojan editorial board comes together every semester as strangers and somehow, someway magic happens.
We become a family every semester and that is why, though many of the more musically cultivated editors will fight me on this, I believe we are the One Direction of student publications. Separately, each of us editors is talented in our own right, but without each other we couldn’t have won awards, created the quality content we have, picked up a fan following (or reader base), gotten through X Factor bootcamp (also known as the first week of production each semester) or developed our own unique style.
What many people forget, or never cared enough to know in the first place, is that as individual acts, each member of One Direction was cut from the X Factor. They were only brought back and achieved international stardom, fame, mythic god-like status once they joined together as a group.
One Direction sums it up best when trying to sum up my feelings about my fellow editors. From their recently released song “History,” I say to you, Daily Trojan editors, “You and me got a whole lot of history, we could be the greatest team the world has ever seen.”
Emma Peplow is a sophomore majoring in print and digital journalism. She is also associate managing editor of the Daily Trojan.