Why Spectrum?

By Prof. Joanne Kabak
Spectrum Faculty Advisor

As you turn the pages or scroll through the current edition of Spectrum, you’re likely to learn about the impressive achievements of Sacred Heart’s performers and athletes.  And you’ll get the university community’s particular perspective on the global coronavirus crisis. 

Are you a fan of “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette”?  You’re not alone. Spectrum has you covered in two articles about those topics. But romance isn’t just a modern invention. This week’s issue includes a look at chivalry going back to medieval times as told by an expert speaker on campus 

These are just a sample of the approximately 20 articles — plus photos, graphics and ads — that fill the pages and the website of Spectrum each and every week of the academic year 

Well, almost each and every week. Spectrum took spring break off and you won’t see it right after Easter either. Because along with being dedicated to covering what’s new in the world and what’s going on at Sacred Heart with its students, faculty and administration, Spectrum staff values balance. After all, the ones who run it are all students like you — and you have a lot going on.  

But many of you make room for a role on Spectrum during your busy college career. If you would like to join the team making news on campus in 2020-2021, this is the time to do it. Spectrum sent out applications in a global before and after the break. You may have missed it. I know. Too many emails in your inbox. Just contact me at kabakj@sacredheart.edu and I’ll send you all the information you need. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, March 17 at 5 p.m. 

Now I want to dispel some myths. Do you need to be a media major or take a specific class? No. All undergraduates in any major can be on the board. Is Spectrum a class and is it run by a professor? No. Spectrum is a club and it is fully student-run. As the advisor, I don’t edit the paper or even see it before it is sent to the printer. Are newspapers dead? No. News itself is bigger than ever and you have more choice in how you get it. 

On Spectrum, there are a lot of writing and editing roles, of course. These include areas like straight news, sports, perspectives, features, and arts and entertainment. But several others are management roles that are essential to running a publication. Spectrum could not publish effectively without students who are in charge of photography, public relations, website design, advertising sales, graphics and distribution.  

As for writing, editors identify article topics for the upcoming issues of the paper and assign them to their team of writers. There is a lot of power and responsibility in this role — you decide what is important. Throughout the week you guide your writers, and once you get the articles, you read them, fix errors, and ask questions — then use InDesign to put it all together. Sometimes editors write articles too, and also editorials, which express their opinions on topics they care about personally. 

Many students on the Spectrum board come to the paper through media classes, like News Writing and Reporting, but many do not. Like Bryan, a health science major, who showed up in Martire one day to say “I can make your website better.” And he did. And then he set the pace for web design and ad sales, which his successor Dom has taken to new levels. This year, Dom has established lasting relationships with area businesses who advertise in Spectrum and has spearheaded fundraising for Spectrum’s Audrey Award project. 

When Bryana, the editor-in-chief, first filled out her questionnaire in my class, all I knew was that she was a beginning writer and a member of the swim team. Likewise, Erica, the managing editor for editorial content, wrote her first articles while she kept up an active schedule as a cheerleader. 

They are still supporting the swim team and cheerleading. But now they are also highly-skilled professionals who manage a staff of about 50 people. They’ve handled many crises, fine-tuned their sense of what to publish, and, from what I can tell, they’ve laughed a lot along the way.  

But Bryan graduated last year. Bryana, Erica and Dom will graduate in May, as will so many other talented editors. Others are still undergraduates and will likely apply to continue to be on the board. Each person, no matter if he or she is already there or brand-new to the role, must apply and have an interview. One of the exciting parts of being the advisor is to help develop the new team who will face whatever the news brings in the year ahead. 

Does this interest you? If so, please fill out the application. Join us to support the work of your fellow students — support the values they express each week, and support their commitment to telling the news like it is. This school newspaper is yours and you make it unique.

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