I just got back from a 10-day vacation visiting my family and you want to know the first thing that I did at 1 a.m.? You guessed it -- edit articles. A lot of my writers' articles this week consisted of pieces pertaining to the attack on Orlando. After reading piece after piece, I was able to sense the passion that my content creators have about the topic and I started to feel like a proud mom (or dad for all you male EIC’s out there). Granted, I did not put a computer in front of them and tell them what to write. I felt proud in the sense that, thanks to myself and the whole conglomeration of Odyssey, these excellent writers have the ability to allow their voices to be heard.
I may be the exception to all EIC’s out there in Odyssey land, as I have been working as an EIC for over a year out of Elon University. So I like to consider myself the cool grandma in this situation. I also feel like my elder status allows me to impart some wisdom on the newbies. Heck, I was an education major in school with no communication background at all. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at any point, then just remember that you can do it, and if not, then ask for help! That is OK too!
As a recent graduate, my time as an Odyssey EIC is quickly coming to an end, therefore, I felt like I should share my advice with any EIC’s who are listening. Here it goes:
I have had three managing editors during my time here at the Odyssey, each with different personalities. I have had to form new relationships with each of them and be constantly adaptable to the way they decided to handle things in their own way. Also, nothing is ever going to go according to plan, so just make the most of every week and keep on trucking along.
Respect your writers.
No one is going to want to work for you if all you do is boss them around. No one is going to want to write for you if you don’t treat them with respect. If you give respect to your writers, then you’ll get respect in return. Remember, some of these writers may be older, younger or the same age as you, so don’t treat them like you’re holier than thou.
Since I like to consider myself a perpetually busy person, the thought of editing 18 articles every Sunday night gives me high anxiety. I decided to split my writers up into Tuesday and Thursday submission dates so that by Friday I could have all the articles edited and wouldn’t have to worry about editing over the weekend. Truthfully, it just makes my life so much easier and articles get in faster.
Ask for help.
It may be because I am just a very honest person, but I am totally fine with admitting when I don’t know something. Especially with my education background, a lot of stuff, such as coding, that may come easily to others goes straight over my head. I will immediately admit that I have no idea how to center a video and hit up my lovely managing editor who is probably one of my top contacts.
Become best friends with your managing editor.
You’d rather be the one that they enjoy talking to than the one they always have a problem with. Bombard them with emails, text messages or carrier pigeons. Let them know that you got their back so that they can have yours.
It is beyond frustrating when your writers don’t get their articles in on time, trust me I feel like all EIC’s know this. Remember, though, that you are doing the best that you can. Instead of getting frustrated at them, count to 10 and breathe. Do not stress over the things that can be fixed. Breathe and go fix them.
Take advantage of this opportunity.
If you would have asked me two years ago if I could ever imagine myself being a small part of this huge company, I would have simply asked what Odyssey was in the first place. Now, I am forever grateful for this opportunity and feel like I have a much more in-depth knowledge of writing, editing, leadership, what it means to be part of a team and how a whole social media platform works.
Whether it is the writing, editing, managing or coding coolness that you love, make sure that you are enjoying what you are doing! You may not be in this position forever, so make sure you kick butt at whatever you're doing. Enjoy your time as an Odyssey EIC and wear that title proudly because you’re pretty much a rockstar!