Once again, Odyssey has come under fire. Between articles like “You May Have Worn The Prom Dress with Him, But I Get to Wear the Wedding Dress" and the most recent "Sorry Not Sorry, My Parents Paid For My Coachella Trip," Odyssey's credibility has plummeted.
The recent catfish has seemingly left Odyssey with more criticism than readership. 28-year-old Chris Spies, the real author behind the article dripping with privilege, revealed some concerning facts about how he got onto his team.
There was no screening process; they didn't ask for writing samples. The article was pushed live with no editing done at all.
As a writer on this platform for going on three years now, I can assure you that the writers are much more upset about this incident than our readers are. Let me share with you why.
Odyssey is a young establishment. Despite their age, they have influenced and reached millions of people around the country and internationally. There are thousands of communities across the United States — and only one HQ based in New York.
Out of those thousands of communities, HQ focuses on around 200, a group my own talented team has the privilege to be a part of. It takes hard work to join this rank of schools; it's not just handed to us. Within these teams, there is a process of joining. There is a structure.
For example, in order to join Odyssey at Sam Houston State University, you must fill out an application where our Editor-in-Chief can get an idea of your writing ability, and then you must follow up with a phone interview. From there, our EIC will decide if you are qualified and a good fit for our team of writers. We have two Contributing Editors, a Social Outreach specialist, a Community Health Manager who focuses on keeping our team close and strong, and finally our Social Media Director.
Every single week, we keep track of who has submitted and ensure every article is edited with detail and care. Our Executive Board and fellow team members have gotten to know each other through our writing, and it has bonded us in a way many teams don't get to experience.
Our team regularly shares what's going on in our lives, what's happening in the news and how it affects us individually as well as on a larger scale. We're a beautiful example of a diverse set of minds who have walked different paths in life yet appreciate and show nothing but love to each other. We lift each other up and celebrate both our similarities and our differences.
This reflects in our writing.
This is the part you don't see when teams such as Spies's gets the spotlight. This kind of quality writing misses headlines when the internet focuses on the low quality and pandering articles and puts incredibly well-thought out, passionate articles on the backburner.
No one will deny there are pieces out there that probably shouldn't be, but that's the beauty of this organization: You're free to express yourself. We may not like what everyone has to say (or how they say it), but we can sift through until we find the diamonds in the rough.
I promise, if you look, you'll find them.