Editor Application: Jason Parsley

By Jason ParsleyYear: JuniorMajor: Multi-Media JournalismGPA: 3.709

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

I was the chair of a newsletter committee. I held this position for 2 years and in that time I was responsible for putting out a bi-monthly newsletter. I designed the entire issue and wrote articles if others did not meet deadline, which happened quite often. I was also the vice-chair and chair of a convention committee that was responsible for organizing a 1000 person convention in 1999 and 2000. As vice-chair it was my responsibility to fill any empty positions and to act as chair if she could not be present. As chair I was responsible for overseeing the members of the committee, acting as a liaison and submitting monthly reports. I have been working at the UP since March 2005 and have been the associate editor for a month. My duties have been to prepare the weekly budget and hold the budget meeting. I have also been there support the editor in chief with whatever has been needed. I have also worked closely with the design team and have helped them come up with their weekly flat plans. At the beginning of the semester when the art director was having problems I took it upon myself learn some basic elements of design in order to support her. I have proven that I am able to work on deadline. For instance I was able to take what was supposed to be a news brief and turn it into a cover story in four days. The sports section has been without a sports editor this semester and no one person was ever appointed to be in charge of it. So after I became associate editor I asked to be in charge of the section in order for them to have a single point of authority. I am confident I have the necessary abilities to lead the UP into the next semester and beyond.

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 has been our strong design team. The art director has had to frequently deal with missed deadlines, no art, no headlines and the Boca News. But even so she has been able to put it all together and get the paper out. While the design hasn’t been perfect she has done a fantastic job with what she was given. A major weakness this semester has been our internal communication. For instance I have been handling the budget since the beginning of the semester. Several staff members were unhappy with the way it was being done. Instead of expressing this to me immediately it took a month and half for them to do so. Once they told me what they needed from me I have been better able to meet their needs. In another example a staff member was given an assignment but the section editor was never informed. As I mentioned above the sports section has not had an editor this semester and there has been little communication between that section and the rest of the staff. Another issue involving our internal communication or lack of has been designating a single point of authority. For instance our homecoming preview issue was a collaborative effort but there was no single point of authority. Because of that no one seemed to know what was going on. Another example is our headlines. There is no one is charge of them and because of that we are usually coming up with sub-par headlines at the last second.

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

The most important goal that I would like to accomplish as editor is developing the staff’s abilities and at the same time improving the quality of the UP. For instance at some point during the semester the quality of the paper stalled and stopped improving. I believe one of the reasons for this is because at the beginning of the semester we were constantly working on deadline. If the paper were to get ahead, we would have more time being creative and improving the writing, editing, design, art, and copyediting of the UP. The way in which I would do this is having one-on-one meetings with each of the staff members to discuss what they would like to do in the future and how the UP can make that happen. The hardest part of the paper is the cover story. Finishing cover stories in a timely matter has been one of the major reasons we have not been able to get ahead. In order to correct this problem I would have one or two of the senior staff members focus their time and energy on producing cover stories. I would like to see the UP utilize the staff’s strengths and work on their weaknesses. I believe that if the UP is meeting the needs of the staff then the staff will meet the needs of the UP.

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

The majority of our coverage outside of Boca has been on the Jupiter campus because we have a northern editor. We have recently found a staff member to cover the Broward campuses as well. Even though we have a northern editor there still has been a lack of communication between her and Boca. As associate editor I have already met with Elizabeth Cannon as well as Heather Boyer, the senate speaker from Jupiter, and found out what some of their concerns are. I plan on meeting with representatives from all of the campuses and asking what their concerns are regarding the UP. I would like this communication to be on going and not a one-time event. At least one of my classes will be in Ft. Lauderdale next semester, which means I will be there every week. I also plan on visiting communication classes on the other campuses to try to recruit staff members for each of them. Once I have established a northern and southern staff I would like to see them hold monthly meetings to communicate with one another and brainstorm.

5. As editor, how will you recruit and retain a qualified staff of editors, writers, designers, and photographers.

We have had an abundance of staff writers come to the UP this semester. Most of them, however, did not stay around. I believe that the majority of the focus this semester has been on recruitment and retention is often overlooked. Next semester when we have our open house I plan on having the section editors have assignments ready to be given out rather than allowing new staff members to wander around aimlessly and eventually disappear. I also plan on keeping in contact with them by either e-mail or phone and making sure their section editors do as well. Recruitment of designers and photographers has lacked this semester. One of the ways I plan on correcting this problem is by visiting design and photography classes. One of the issues we faced this semester with new designers was that they did not know the programs we use. Rather then immediately giving up on them I plan on having those new designers trained on our programs by having one-on-one or group workshops held by another designer, our adviser or myself. Like a lot of students I am a transfer student from PBCC. I plan contacting my former professors and their student newspaper to look for potential transfer students to work at the UP. Some of the potential writers that have come into the UP this semester have had little writing experience or have little knowledge of journalism. I believe that since they do not even know basics of journalism they feel lost. I plan on creating a booklet that would give them some basic knowledge of journalism and journalistic writing.