Letters from the Editors: Better late than never

With the school year well underway, the editors-in-chief reflect on the first few months in a leadership position


Tricia Drumm, Morgan Gurwell, and Ally Nguyen

We’re a little late (a few months, to be exact), but your favorite  Mill Valley News editors-in-chief are here to welcome you to this school year’s edition of Letters from the Editors — back and better than ever. Between putting together the JagWire newspaper for you each month, taking the Oxford comma out of plenty of stories, thinking about special projects and helping our staffers grow into wonderful journalists, it’s safe to say these first few months have been a rollercoaster for us, ranging from Lucy’s Tugboat to the Timberwolf (a bit of an over exaggeration, to be fair).

Considering how much we liked the way the former EICs had shaped the website, we didn’t mess with it too much. If you check out the top of this page, we changed the header from last year’s gray to a wonderful Mill Valley-themed navy. We even changed the way our staff page looks (goodbye, blue brick wall). However, the biggest thing we implemented this year wasn’t on the website itself: it was our Twitter. Instead of our social media editor Lexi helping us out by writing the tweets and Facebook posts, we’ve put the responsibility on the reporters. In a way, this forces our reporters to think about their headlines because that’s what we have them put in our “tweet sheet.” It might be November, but we’re still commenting “don’t forget to write your tweet!” just in case. By the time second semester rolls around, we hope the process will become second-nature.

As the three of us got deeper and deeper into the editor-in-chief realm, one thing became clear to all of us: it’s a lot of work. There are stories that need to be edited, captions that (sometimes) need to be revised, headlines that need to be clarified, deadlines to follow — sometimes we have to be the bad guys and give gentle reminders. We don’t like being the bad guys. Being an editor-in-chief for the news website is essentially a job that pays in gratification instead of currency. It feels great to show the world what we’ve been working on.

Now, for the record, managing a staff of 46 people is no walk in the park. Even us EICs have to hold eachother accountable. Per week, that’s about seven-10 assignments we need to keep track of, and every story has to run by our eyes. Because of our schedules, we’ve all had some late nights making sure everything is in order and functioning as the way it should. Sometimes we’re lost in translation and we end up in a confusing mess.

A big struggle Morgan and Tricia have faced is their disconnect from the yearbook girls. The problem stems from the fact we rarely see them. Last year was convenient because both Raya Lehan and Alison Booth, two former (and lovely) web EICs, had the opportunity to talk to the girls (and boy) face-to-face. This year, however, Ally’s our single bridge between newspaper and yearbook because neither Tricia nor Morgan were able to fit yearbook into their first semester schedule. When it comes to connecting with the yearbook girls, the circumstance has put Morgan and Tricia at a disadvantage. It’s still hard to put a name to a face sometimes, but with the combination of staffs for our special project over Shawnee, we’re definitely getting better.

But on the bright side, the three of us have gained a lot of new skills, specifically those in that area of leadership. If you’ve met any of us, we’re not the most “out there” kind of girls. The experience of being in charge has really pushed us to step outside of our comfort zones, and to know people look to us for guidance for their content is kind of surreal (and daunting, to be honest). Tricia, Morgan and Ally went from features editor, managing editor and a newcomer/opinions co-editor, respectively, to the backbone and brains of Mill Valley News.

In the end, we’re a good group of girls. All three of us bring something to the table: Morgan’s a triple-threat with her eye for photos, organization and her voice of reason; Tricia has a killer vocabulary and copy-editing skills; and Ally’s communication skills help keep us in touch with our yearbook side. It’s going to be a good year — that we can guarantee.

Much love,

Tricia Drumm, Morgan Gurwell and Ally Nguyen

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