Letter from the Editor

Note: This article is hosted here for archival purposes only. It does not necessarily represent the values of the Iron Warrior or Waterloo Engineering Society in the present day.

Hello readers, busy, busy week for me, so let’s dive right into this issue. First off, wow, 20 pages!

A couple interesting events happened since I last wrote to you. The G8/G20 summits rolled through Toronto like a freight train derailing from its tracks, the World Cup continues in South Africa, and Canada celebrated it’s 143rd anniversary of Confederation.

Overall, slow news issue this time around. I had some more news pieces planned from around the University but they were unable to be compiled in time for this issue. C’est la vie, you’ll see them next issue.

The G8/G20 has been beaten by the media stick so many times before this issue, I’m not really sure if I wanted to mention anything in this issue, but alas, we bring you an article by four engineering students who were arrested during the protests on Sunday at Queen and Spadina. You’ll find that on page 4.

The Iron Archives feature a banner from the mid-nineties where I noticed many of the issues beginning to stray from the tradition news format to more of magazine type publication. In fact the last issue of the term of which I plucked the banner from actually has “magazine” in the banner itself. You’ll see more of it in the next issue as we progress over the years with The Iron Warrior’s transformation. In my opinion, the “news quality” of The Iron Warrior plummeted during the 90’s, and is one of the reasons the decade is feature so sparingly in The Iron Archives.

Luckily, several Iron Warrior staff were in various places celebrating Canada Day. As a result, we have compiled their stories and photographs into a Canada Day Spread on pages 6 and 7.

On the Sports side of things, we bring you a lengthy but concise article about the Tour de France which began this past Saturday. Thought it was just men with massive legs dressed in tight spandex roaming through France on road bikes? I thought so, until I read the article on page 10.

On page 11, June Lowe, whom you might remember from 1st year classes celebrated 40 years with the University. We have a quick recap and photographs on page 11.

Moving along and continuing on the sports world, if you have been following the world cup, you already know the controversies, but if you haven’t, a quick summary can be read on page 14.

The Brew Man Group, more specifically, “the Dan half” brings us up to date with his European travels as he continues to hop from country to country sampling the many beers which we have a hard time finding here at home. Even if you don’t like beer, I recommend reading this article as Dan’s humour makes the article very entertaining.

As this issue’s Letter from the Editor reaches its maximum word count (I wrote the second part of the editorial first), we bring you some humourous articles in the latter half of the issue in the form of “How to succeed in the workplace.” If you haven’t read the first installment from last issue, be sure to catch up with the series by reading it first before continuing to the second one. http://iwarrior.uwaterloo.ca/?p=2771

On the back cover, Bhavya Kashyap returns to the IW with her amazing drawing skills with a comic on the last page of the issue. As a result, we’ve moved the sodoku to page 15.

OK, that’s all I’m going to go over for this issue. I’ve had a blast putting it together for you, so enjoy!

Next up in my editorial, I go over how I put together the newspaper over two weeks, so read on!

My fourth issue as editor-in-chief means my second to last letter from the editor. As the weeks progress, I find it more difficult to write the policy-manual mandated text that fit’s into the space of page 2 of every issue.

The first letter from the editor rolled off my fingertips onto the screen like British Petroleum’s malfunctioning blowout preventer; as did my second. I suffered partial writer’s block for the first time on my third after a lengthy production weekend likely due to a midterm hangover, but was able to piece together what I planned on writing as an article into my editorial.

Now as I write my fourth editorial, I once again suffer partial writer’s block, but want to take the time to discuss how The Iron Warrior comes to your eyes 5 times a term. I also figure the production of The Iron Warrior has changed over the years so it’s good to write it down how it’s produced for history’s sake.

First, meetings take place ever week on Monday in our office where dedicated volunteers of this newspaper and I brainstorm ideas for articles. Before the meeting, I scan the websites of the University and faculty for upcoming events and recent news to produce articles ideas to present at these meetings. If an article interests a volunteer, they will sign up for the article and begin the process of gathering the information.

Generally if people don’t sign up for articles I REALLY want covered, I’ll try to voluntell the article out to my staff. It works… sometimes. Apart from that, staff will come up with their own ideas for articles and then write them on their own.

Leading up to the submission deadline, we try to solicit advertising for the paper to pay for our publication costs. As I’ve mentioned many times, The Iron Warrior does not receive any fixed funding from engineering society student fees in terms of X dollars per student to cover our costs. We have the opportunity to apply for EngSoc donations each term, but no amount of money from EngSoc is guaranteed. Our capital purchases in terms of computers and software are completely dependent on WEEF. We generally have enough money to cover our publication costs, but only just.

Deadlines are always on the Friday at 6 PM the weekend of production. Articles tend to slowly arrive before and after the deadline which eases my mind. The email notification on my BlackBerry is music to my ears. After receiving the articles, they are placed onto our website backend for the copy editing work flow.

Our dedicated team of copy editors can log in from anywhere to begin the copy editing of each article. In total, each article goes through three rounds of editing – a first, final, and finally I will go through each article to do a publication edit before placing the article in the issue.

After all the articles have been edited, layout can commence. At The Iron Warrior, we use Adobe Indesign CS4 for our layout purposes. Our template has evolved over the years, and it’s quite advanced and complex, so layout goes pretty smoothly. During my first production weekend as editor, I likened layout to playing tetris. Trying to fit the pieces as perfectly as possible, but instead of consistent rotating blocks, I have oddly shaped article bits and photos. I try to place them within similar sections, but sometimes this is very difficult and word spacing and titles need to be adjusted as necessary. My first three issues practically laid themselves out, but I found this issue to be particularly challenging.

Once layout is mostly complete on a page, awkward white spaces tend exist. To me, and The Iron Warrior, we don’t like white space. To see an example, check out the white space on either side of the sodoku on page 15. With our limited financial resources, white space is seen as a waste of money as text or photos could be placed into the spaced to be presented to our readers. I know it may make our paper look cluttered and unattractive with solid walls of text but I really stress trying to get as much content as possible into our issues to make sure no submission gets left out.

After battling with layout which can take upwards to 20+ hours on a given production weekend, the draft is finalized and sent out to the mailing list which is then looked over by our volunteers for any glaring errors. Most errors get found, but some do unfortunately make it’s way through to the printed copy.

The final PDF is sent printing Monday just after noon when I have time after my lectures to get into the office and finish the last few corrections before sending the final press optimized PDF to our publisher.

Two days later the issues arrive at our office all boxed up and ready for distribution. Our distribution managers distribute almost all 2,000 copies around the campus with issues also being sent to the Architecture campus and being mailed out to many other Engineering Societies and Deans across the country.

Without the very dedicated army of volunteers of this newspaper, none of the above would occur and our publication would not likely be here in your hands today. Also, I want to mention Mary Bland in The Orifice who takes care of invoicing to our advertisers. Without her help, my life would be exceptionally more hectic than it already is.

If you, the reader are still reading this editorial, it’s likely you are care about enough to read my rant every week. If you’ve read the ending of all my editorials, I always end with the email address to send me suggestions to improve. I haven’t received any so I’ll attribute this as no news is good news. However, if you feel this newspaper can be improved, I implore you, the reader, to send me your feedback. Better yet, attend our meetings on Mondays at 5:00 P.M. in our office E2-2349A.


Angelo Alaimo


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