Thanks for once again picking up a copy of The Iron Warrior and turning to this page. This production Weekend has been quite the challenge with getting enough content to fill every single page. I must admit, I was a bit ambitious with my Tin Solder. Ideas flowed around the office during weekly meetings rather fluidly and by the time the 5th issue rolled around, I amassed enough content to overflow my 4 page allotment. I laid out the what content I had, but still fell short of 8 pages necessary to increase the page count. When this happens, as editor you have a few options – 1.) cut articles to fit into 4 pages 2.) Find more content.
I took the 2nd option and frantically begged my writers to come up with more ideas to fill the pages, and what you see in the middle of the paper is the result. I’m not going to go over the contents of the paper as I have for my last four issues as I want to write my reflections as editor of the newspaper for the term. I hope you enjoy the paper otherwise.
By the time I finish this article, I have been helping out with the newspaper for close to 20 months, and spent well over 200 hours of time into it’s production. As a staff writer in previous terms, I never really fully understood the role of editor in directing the paper until it was my term to do so.
To me, The Iron Warrior is an extremely important part of undergraduate engineering at the University of Waterloo. As a first year, I always looked up to those who wrote for the newspaper and thought of the Editor as a mini-celebrity within engineering who holds some sort of ultimate wisdom. I always enjoyed reading the articles of every issue and saw it as a way for everyone within the engineering community of Waterloo to reach out to other people they would likely never meet or hear about.
As a person who enjoys photography as a hobby, in first year I always wanted to join Imprint or The Iron Warrior as a photographer to take photographs and then have them published for all to see. I never wanted to write, as I thought I wasn’t good at writing or had anything interesting to write about.
My first article for The Iron Warrior took me almost 12 hours to write over 4 days as I poured over each sentence to try to make it as perfect as possible. I knew that many people, including my peers, would read the article so it had to be good. To this day, I feel like it’s the best article I’ve ever written and nothing I’ve written has since eclipsed it, and that’s important to me.
It takes a lot of effort to put words onto a screen about a certain topic, especially if you do not have a good background on the topic you are writing about. For the staff who take the time to write for the newspaper, it sometimes takes them hours of research to produce a coherent article that has a point.
The Iron Warrior serves a purpose to Engineering students on this campus. It brings them news of the Engineering Society, news of the University, and news about Engineering world not covered by other media outlets. It covers accomplishments of student teams, individual students, and general members of the faculty. If anyone has anything to say about anything within the world, they’re able to submit it for publication in this newspaper without having any prior involvement with the paper. It gives anyone within the University a space to share news, express thoughts, or even question the validity of policies.
When I came into this role, I knew I needed to sustain the reputation of the newspaper set by the previous Editors that came before me. During my time as Editor, I thought to myself – Where do I see the newspaper in the future? Where do I want to see it? How do we get there? After thinking about these questions, I realized there isn’t any solid plan for the newspaper apart “from maintaining the course as usual.”
There isn’t anything wrong with this plan, but I feel the newspaper has so much potential to be more than it currently is. A short term as Editor-in-Chief is one of the problems I faced when thinking about change. Four months, especially when trying to juggle 5 full time third-year engineering courses, is not a long enough time to change some of things with the newspaper I felt were in need. If I can’t change everything with the newspaper within my term, I can’t be certain that all future Editors will want to change anything due to time constraints or lack of drive.
Financial resources are another constraint blocking the potential of the newspaper. We can’t really print more than our current distribution. One way to help the paper is to set up a fixed student fee which would go towards The Iron Warrior much like how Imprint is run but would instead be funneled from Engineering Society student fees. At this point in time, I’m firmly against that notion due to reduced freedom.
Now, this ‘change’ I’m alluding to is to do with the visual presentation of the paper. It was changed over three years ago to the scheme you currently see. It’s not exactly the same as it was, but has evolved into what you see today.
To me, this scheme works as a student newspaper, but after playing around with our template this past week, I really feel it’s time for another visual change. My main motivation is to give the paper a more updated look. Nothing major though – just changing some of the fonts we use and how we organize the paper’s sections.
I wanted to pull it off for my last issue, but realized it would be too much of a change for one issue, and we need to get it right the first time. The time-line necessary to get the changes implemented was not possible in time for this issue. After getting comments from some advisory board members, I have decided to try to put together a small team of current previous Editors and other advisory board members to put together a new template for the newspaper.
Once again looking to the future, the paper has a pretty solid base of volunteers who have taken it upon themselves to assemble 5 issues a term. The paper is currently in great health in the people department; however, looking at the terms of the people who help out with the paper, it’s easy to see Bsoc’s volunteers are mostly in 3rd year with only one or two 2014’s helping out. We’ll need to do a major frosh recruitment drive this September to recruit new people to The Iron Warrior in order for their to be a good transfer of knowledge in the next couple of years to continue the paper’s success.
People are this paper’s best resource. It’s what drives its production from not only the people who put it together but also from those who read it. As I have mentioned many times before, this paper wouldn’t exist without them. Thank you for reading this editorial, I’ve had a blast putting it together over the last 4 months. If you have any questions or comments, send me an email, I like getting them.