The Summit Online: A New Form of Student Journalism by Sydney Weaver

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Sydney Weaver is The Summit's 2021/2022 Editor-In-Chief, she is from Park City, Utah and is studying English: Creative Writing and Communications

Sydney Weaver is The Summit’s 2021/2022 Editor-In-Chief. She is from Park City, Utah and studying English: Creative Writing and Communications at Rocky.

Fall semester 2021 marks the second year of The Summit being completely online, and it has changed the way the staff looks at student newspapers. Suddenly, our articles weren’t confined to specific word counts and formats, we were able to post as much as we wanted when we wanted, and anyone who owned some form of technology was able to view our content. 

 

When I visited Rocky Mountain College in 2018, the opportunity to work for the student newspaper was presented to me and I knew that if I decided to commit to RMC, I would be on the student paper. Throughout high school, I worked for the yearbook and was an avid writer so I thought the job would fit me well. I started with The Summit as a copy-editor, and I was the only freshman in a room full of seniors. I met my new colleagues in the fall of 2019. At that time, the paper was in print and we published four to five issues a semester. The process was simply complicated. Each of us wrote an article and every once in a while a student also contributed. We found photos for the articles and our Layout Editor would go through and organize them so that they all fit when it was time for print. The newspaper was sent to the printing company and hopefully, we would receive the copies in time to distribute them around campus for everyone to read. 

We all loved the printing company. They would constantly delay our issues, never answer our emails, and toward the end of our printing years, would ignore us completely. But when we did get our papers printed and sent out to the buildings on campus it was great!

 

Enter Fall 2020, the world is falling apart. School is half online, half in-person, and nobody wants to touch anything. In order to solve this problem, save money on printing, and not have to worry about communicating with the printing company, we decided to go online. There was a sort of liberation that came with turning The Summit into an online newspaper. Instead of limiting our article publication to seven per issue, we could post as much as we wanted, as often as we wanted, and how we wanted. One of the greatest things to come out of moving online, in my opinion, was photo stories. It is a lot more interesting to look at an event through photographs–in color and with high-quality resolution–than to read some random person’s description on a painting. Going online also opened up new ways for us to connect with our readers. We could test out new article topics and get instant feedback on whether or not people wanted to read; before, we just guessed based on how many copies were remaining in the racks. 

While moving online was liberating for us as writers, it also took a lot of learning. I was promoted from copy-editor to Online Editor and Social Media Editor and our staff of experienced eight turned into a second-year sophomore and four fresh new faces. Together we worked out the kinks of posting online and learned what it took to run an online paper. 

 

This year, The Summit has the biggest staff I have ever worked with and I couldn’t be more excited. As the new editor-in-chief, I have made it a mission to produce interesting and diverse articles for and about the RMC community. We will kick off our first piece Homecoming week, Sept 13, and keep a regular schedule of posting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday throughout the semester. With all of the new staff, we also have new talent, including a student who creates comic strips, something The Summit has never done. This new direction will hopefully bring in a bigger following for the paper. In the end, I want to keep The Summit’s core value strong and produce an unbiased paper by and for the students of Rocky Mountain College. 

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