The Orion is unabashedly my life. During the semester, from midday Sunday until Tuesday night, I spend about 14 hours sleeping and what seems like the other 46 in The Orion offices in the Plumas Hall basement. With a couple more hours thrown in throughout the rest of the week, I spend about half of my waking hours at The Orion each week.
You may call it insanity, but I call it passion. I became the art director at the end of the fall 2010 semester, and the spring was a whirlwind. The Orion quickly defined my life with a meeting or task every day (except Saturday). I was rudely awakened early on more than one Wednesday morning to help distribute the paper. Sunday night work shifts rolled into Monday morning often, and with an 8 a.m. class, that’s hell. But I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.
I was hired a little over a year ago as an editorial designer, someone who helps lay out the stories, photos, and other content. Then I was paired with a first-time editor, Almendra Carpizo, on the features section, and the two of us have moved up together. Almendra will be The Orion’s editor-in-chief this fall.
This is my Chico experience. I get to be a part of this community while at The Orion. I have the chance to learn how to be an art director and a leader. I get the opportunity to build my own staff and train my designers. And we all get the privilege of putting together a high-quality product and seeing it in the hands of students every week.
This is a pretty rare opportunity in college, too. To lead fellow students and really create an environment of development and design is something I wouldn’t have expected. I’m grateful, though.
Even after all the stressful deadlines, all the late nights and long hours, and the toll a full-time job (plus a 15-unit schedule) takes, this is still the best job I’ve ever had. There are three reasons for this.
First and foremost, I’m able to work with some of the most talented people I’ve ever met. Secondly, we get the opportunity to hone our respective talents in a professional environment with real consequences and real rewards. Finally, the work we do has a real effect on the community, and we operate on a relatively large stage.
The people, of course, are incredible. I’m very, very proud of our staff, from the upper management to the section editors to the staff writers and the business staff. We’re learning, but we’re still doing a great job. In fact, The Orion has historically been a very successful college newspaper. This last year, we again won the national excellence award at the annual collegiate newspaper conference—for the fifth straight year.
The Orion also provides an important voice for students and organizations on campus. While we use campus facilities (visit us in Plumas 001), we’re independent of the school and pay for our printing and distribution expenses entirely through sales of advertising. We strive for excellence, and we try to be as professional as possible.
You won’t see much of my writing in the fall, but you will see a fantastic and still developing video department as part of The Orion. It’s a great opportunity for students to get behind and in front of the cameras. You’ll also see Chico State’s award-winning student newspaper enter its 72nd semester.