Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Vanessa Frost’s Editor application

Vanessa FrostYear: seniorMajor: Communication/FilmGPA: 3.8

1. Describe any academic, professional, and/or extracurricular experiences that qualify you to lead the University Press.

The last time I submitted an editor application, I said I wanted to publish a UP literary magazine, distribute UP issues off-campus, hold a writing contest, and have a Breezeway day on every campus. I also said I knew it would be naive of me to think I could accomplish all of those things.

And I was right.

What I didn’t realize then was that the editor’s job isn’t to spend time impressing others with flashy magazines and trophies for the best UP writers; the editor needs to focus on keeping the newspaper together and keeping staff members happy, through missed deadlines, copyediting errors, bad Boca News print jobs, plagiarism, mad Student Government members, resigning editors, lack of 8.5×11 paper, etc. What I’m trying to say is that we have to learn how to crawl before we can run.

I started my editorship enthusiastic about how I was going to change the UP world and show everyone who didn’t believe in me that I was the right woman for the job. I now begin my fifth month as editor enthusiastic instead about how much better the UP has gotten this semester and uninterested in how my adversaries perceive me. I think the evidence of my contributions to the UP this semester is in the papers themselves.

I always felt the UP should strive more for a news magazine feel than a newspaper one because of its tabloid format and weekly, not daily, content, so that was the direction in which we began moving. So far, people seem to like the new cover style with images partially covering the paper’s name and the references to inside stories, they like the back page covered with fun stuff, and they like the job, event and scholarship listings being in the back where they don’t break up the flow of the paper. The editors’ ads and pictures on Page 2 have also been helpful, as editors have received many emails from interested students because of them.

2. Describe a major strength and a major weakness of the University Press this semester. Cite specific examples to support your claims.

A major strength this semester was our improved coverage of different FAU campuses. After removing the Northern campuses editor, who hadn’t done any work in months, from her position, I hired a new editor for the Northern campuses and one for the Broward campuses. In the past couple of months, we’ve had more Northern and Broward articles week after week than we had at any point in the last two semesters. This is a trend that I plan on maintaining.

A major weakness this semester was some UP staff members’ lack of effort. Early in the semester, the adviser, Michael Koretzky, and I spoke to Northern Editor Heather Boyer about her section’s consistent emptiness. Rather than work harder to get more articles in the UP, she ignored our talk and was shocked when I cut her contract a few weeks later. Another time, I started noticing some problems in the design team and spoke with Art Director Stefanie Resciniti about why the problems were occurring and how we could work on them. She then resigned. About a week ago, I sent an email to News Editor Benjamin Dyall because I was worried about the News section. Ben hadn’t been attending meetings, hadn’t been writing stories or consistently performing his other duties, and went three weeks without putting anything in his section at all. After receiving my email detailing these problems and asking him to call me to discuss them, Ben resigned.

The only explanation I can come up with for these sudden vacancies is that in previous semesters, editors were getting away with a lot of things, and when I decided I wasn’t going to put up with those things, they gave up. The staff we currently have – including those who stepped into Heather and Stefanie’s places – are working out very well and I hope all staff members will continue to improve the work ethic at the UP.

3. Describe the most important goal you want to accomplish as editor, and detail exactly how you will do so.

My goal is and has always been to improve the writing. I think we did make steps in that direction this semester, though not as many as I’d hoped for. I spend several hours each week going over each issue before it goes to print, correcting and improving whatever I can, but that’s not enough. It needs to start with the writers themselves. We had one writing workshop this semester with Prof. Bailyn, and I believe it was helpful, but as it was our first one, we need to work on the structure a bit more.

Prof. Bailyn suggested we create an orientation program for new writers – give them a copy of our style book, write out some guidelines for developing and writing stories, find an older staff member to “mentor” them until they learn the ropes – and I think this is an idea worth looking into. Giving new writers direction and a friend to guide them will at least make them feel more wanted at the UP, and that’s a goal of mine, as well.

One thing I’d like to do this summer and fall is spend some time during our editor’s meetings (which will be a full hour, starting at 2:15 p.m., instead of half an hour) discussing writing. Pick out a few well-written and a few not-so-well-written stories and figure out why they’re good or bad. Koretzky will be a great resource in this department, as a working journalist and pretty decent writer himself.

We’re approaching summer now, and that’s the perfect time to develop some new systems for improving all facets of the UP, as well as training ourselves to use them consistently before the hustle and bustle of fall begins.

4. As editor, what measures will you take to ensure the University Press covers every campus?

As I mentioned earlier, we have capable Northern and Broward editors now, so they’re covering those campuses pretty well. Additionally, Associate Editor Lily Ladeira is interested in writing science articles, so that should lead to some coverage of the Sea Tech campus, and a new Communication Dept. project will be starting at the Tower campus this year, so we can write about that as it progresses.

Opinions Editor Dan Restrepo has begun writing news blurbs from the many press releases we get every week, and those come from all over FAU, so that is other-campus coverage, as well.

I said in my last application that I wanted to have every campus governor email me updates on their campuses. That never happened, mostly because I was having a lot of things thrown at me at once when I was selected as editor, and editor-governor communication suffered. Now that I have a handle on my job, I would again like to reach out to the other governors and work together on covering their respective campuses.

5. As editor, what measures will you take to improve the University Press in the following areas: recruiting, accuracy, and news of interest to students and faculty? Be specific.

In April, Leslie and current Entertainment Editor Corinne Pariante have arranged for a concert/mega-Breezeway Day on the Free Speech Lawn. This will help get out the message that the UP is still going strong over the summer and will hopefully bring in new recruits. This semester, we had a Breezeway Day every month, including one on the Davie campus. There are several new faces at the UP, so between the Breezeway Days and the staff ads, something must have worked. We will continue things as they have been and will have some sort of Open House at the beginning of summer to bring in more people.

Also in the beginning of summer, staff members and/or Koretzky and I will visit Art, English and Communication classes to recruit new staffers, and at the beginning of the fall semester, as well. This has worked well in the past for bringing in fresh talent.

As for accuracy, I don’t think we’ve often been inaccurate this semester, but we should have a system set up to ensure that no inaccuracies get into the UP. The associate editor and I will be developing strategies and policies in the coming weeks for dealing with issues such as this.

News is the trickiest section to me. It’s arguably the most important, as we are a newspaper, but it’s the hardest section for which to find writers and it’s often the dullest section in the paper. So how do we find interesting news? For one, Dan’s blurbs will inform students of things they can be getting involved in – things to which the UP might not normally dedicate a full story. Two, Koretzky is always yelling at us about how many interesting things are going on right under our noses. We can dedicate a couple of meetings to brainstorming with Koretzky and figuring out what staffers can be writing about that will interest students.

For faculty, Communication Prof. James Tracy recently mentioned a few things that are going on in the faculty world, such as full-time professors getting grants and leaving FAU, which leaves students with grad students and adjunct professors for teachers. If we did a little digging, we could probably come up with several things to investigate that would interest faculty members.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Do you have something to say? Submit your comments below
All UNIVERSITY PRESS Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *