The Gator’s Big Day

In its less than two year history, yesterday may well have been The Gator’s best day yet.

Not only did we enjoy a private tour of The Boston Globe, but we learned that for the second year in a row, Suffolk University’s Greater Boston High School Newspaper contest placed us in its Excellence in Online Journalism category.

At the awards banquet next Thursday in Boston, we will learn exactly where we placed, but considering we were competing against some of the largest, highest-powered public schools in the state, I think it’s safe to say The Gator has earned due recognition.

Our long-awaited trip to the Globe began with a tour of the presses. We learned how everyday, hundreds of thousands of newspapers, over 4 tons-worth, are printed for delivery throughout New England.

We also sat in on a morning news meeting, a daily proceeding in which top section editors inform Editor-in-Chief Brian McGrory and Managing News Editor Christine Chinlund of stories in progress or already published online. Then, the team decides what content makes the front page of tomorrow’s print edition. Needless to say, we listened intently as the world class journalists, seated four feet in front of us, discussed the newspaper’s most pressing matters.

“Anytime you can get a picture of a 150-foot yacht, it’s good thing,” said Chinlund about a story on a multi-million dollar purchase in Nantucket, a topic that became the most talked about of the meeting. Yesterday, the paper ran this story under the headline, A Google Dock — for $4.74 Million.

“Can we get a video of Gronkowski benching three women?,” asked McGrory, breaking the quiet room into chuckles. McGrory later recommended the corresponding story on the Patriots’ star be pushed to the front page. The following day, the paper published that Grownkowski had in fact benched four women, with footage to prove it.

Once the meeting ended, Gator staff had the unique opportunity to chat with Chinlund, who, before the first question, conceded that she wished the expensive Nantucket dock had not been the centerpiece of discussion.

Chinlund’s experience, honest answers, and willingness to engage drove the discussion. I learned the most from Chinlund’s description of her process for editing articles and giving feedback to writers. “It’s all about the people skills,” she said.

Additionally, Chinlund’s comment that stress is a natural counterpart of journalism validated the experience of myself and other Gator staff members. When asked about the importance of deadlines, Chinlund responded, “If you can’t meet due dates, then this is not the business for you.”

So, this trip was pretty special. But later that evening, Gator advisor David Cutler circulated an email to Gator staff with the subject line bolded and exclusively in caps. After visiting the best newspaper in New England—and one of the best in the world— we learned that with another honor from Suffolk, we grew one step closer to getting hired there ourselves.

I want to recognize the talent and sustained effort of Gator writers, editors, and photographers that contribute to our success. I also want to thank those who have contributed stories to The Gator, those who have kindly volunteered to provide quotes, and last but not least, our dedicated readers.

The Gator has also entered several other local and national student newspaper competitions this years. The results will come in over the next two months. Stay tuned. 

 

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