Why I’m a Two-Timing Scumbag Working for the paper and The Ram

Editor’s Note: we wish we could manage our time this well

by  Jan-Carl Resurreccion

Staff Lois Lane

Writing is fun. Wait, that’s five-hundred-ninety-seven words short of my target.

I like to write. (I should hope so, or this is going to become a very painful endeavor.) Alongside my obligations to two of the campus’ newspapers, I also write fanfiction in my spare time, and plan to seriously attempt my first National Novel Writer’s Month (NaNoWriMo) this November. There’s a beauty in words not captured in other artistic forms. A picture might be worth a thousand words, but a word carries a thousand associations, including pictures and images. Words are also the most efficient delivery system for information and ideas. You express in images and kinetics, but you discuss in words. In the beginning was the Word, not “the Color Television”.

But why two newspapers? Why not invest all one’s newspaper-ing time into one publication, which would probably be more efficient, require attending half as many in-person meetings, and leave more time for writing and editing proper? Plus, there’s no fun in a rivalry if one is playing for both sides of the rivalry. And perhaps something can be said for picking a side. Partisanship gets a bad rap. When done in a civil and dignified way, partisanship can honor our differences without dishonoring each other. Would it not be better to decide which publication fit me more, and work exclusively with them?

However, I see the benefits of diversification outweighing the costs of time. Almost all the benefits flow from working in two different cultures. The Ram and the paper have different goals, and working at both gives me a taste of both. The Ram handles itself in a more serious, proper manner, and it shows in the tone, word choice, and subject matter of its articles. Contrastingly, the paper accepts submissions on a larger range of topics, and its mood is more informal and, at times, outright irreverent. Such an attitude would not pass muster in The Ram, and the stuffier tone of The Ram would feel out of place in the paper. Exposure to both makes it easier to write in both, and both styles of delivery are needed to succeed in communicating to different audiences.

That goes beyond simply writing in different ways. Editing for multiple styles is important too. Learning how to preserve the voice of a piece while moving it towards clarity and good grammar can be hard. As someone who’s edited for friends before, it can be tempting to shift a piece to fit your voice to make it more familiar and easier to follow. And the further a piece strays from traditional written decorum, the greater the temptation. But unless you’ve been given license to tear a work up by the roots and restructure it, you do it a great disservice if you don’t understand its voice. Oh, what a tragedy it would be if I only learned how to edit things to make them sound formal and proper!

Will the day come where I leave one for good and work solely for the other? It’s a possibility, if the hours get too long and the labor grows too hard. I’m only one man with a lot of other things to do, but I have my doubts. I’m an Accounting Information Systems major with a Theology minor. I read philosophical texts for fun, practice dead languages because they’re cool, and study high-level probability on the side so I can be an actuary when I grow up. Against all limitations, perhaps even time itself, I’m determined to have it all. To stop working for one of the papers would be an unfortunate surrender.

 

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