Alumni Voices: Student paper experience offers crucial skills

Maddy Smith was the editor-in-chief of The Lamron from 2012 to 2014

I am not a journalist and I never will be. So the point of this article really works in my favor, and it’s something that I can confidently unpack: Students who actively participate in The Lamron are rewarded with a unique skillset that sets them up for success.

As I approach the one-year anniversary of graduation—and having grown comfortable in my post-collegiate life that doesn’t include producing a newspaper on a weekly basis—I have had ample time to reflect. I coordinate healthy food programming at an anti-hunger nonprofit in Rochester, New York and pursue freelance writing on the side. My success in both of these—and a lot of introspective reflection—helped me to determine the answer to the cyclical unknown: Was my Lamron career a waste?

Right off the bat, all places of employment value writing capabilities. Being on The Lamron strengthened both my writing and communication beyond what my courses could do. Soon after starting my job, I was recognized for my writing and was asked to take on grant proposals, blog articles and general copy assignments. The harsh reality is that not everyone can write, and being able to do so concisely is a somewhat lost art. Lamron staff members are gifted with that ability.

Now, for the buzzwords. Time management? Check. Detail-oriented? Check. Attentive to others? Check. Spending 40 hours per week on editing, designing and crafting a masterpiece requires all of these things. If one is a little bit out of whack, the week won’t be fun.

Getting everything in order is something that shows employers that you’re on your game. My colleagues find me reliable and my supervisor trusts that I’m spending my time wisely because I am. On a Lamron production night, there isn’t much room for messing up. When it does happen, there’s a ripple effect of strained negativity through the staff. People are understanding, but we’ve all spent some time in the doghouse––it doesn’t feel good.

The Lamron gave me distinctive social skills. I work well with others and I understand the fragility of human interaction—one wrong turn or incorrect title and someone may have a grudge against you for a while, if not forever. Just as there are corrections in The Lamron, there are mistakes in life, and the way they’re confronted illuminates one’s professionalism and sense of worth.

Most importantly, I’m passionate and that pushes me to arrive on time, to delve into multiple projects and to help others any way I can. I can confidently say that this passion comes solely from my experience on The Lamron, where every student is encouraged to expand his or her repertoire, collaborate with others and explore innovative practices and stories—all while loving what he or she is doing. There is something to be said for a work environment that consistently hosts unique and talented contributors—it’s motivating, productive and ideal.

The Lamron is a weekly student-run publication. It’s a well-oiled machine and for that machine to run well, you need a team of students who exude passion for the sake of the campus and its surrounding community.

Of The Lamron’s almost 100-year history, I spent four years on the staff. It may be statistically insignificant, but to answer my own question, it was certainly not a waste.