From the Editor's Desk

From the Editor’s Desk: A Behind the Phoens Look at the Phoenix Newsroom

Emily Rosca | The PhoenixThe Phoenix's newsroom is sometimes vibrant, sometimes tense, but always interesting. Phoenix Editor-in-Chief Mary Norkol gives readers a look inside.

This week, I’ll admit, I seem to have run out of ideas for my column. I started writing something earlier this week, but by the time I looked at it again in the newsroom, I hated every word.

So instead of an introspective column, an update on my life and my coveted insight on everything Loyola, I’ll give you a look into the Phoenix newsroom instead.

As I write this, things are in full swing. It’s about 6:30 Tuesday night, the night before this week’s edition of The Phoenix lands on newsstands around campus. You’d think it’s crunch time, right?

Not exactly.

I’m scanning the newsroom and while I hear some clacking of keyboards and some discussions about word choices, it’s mostly drowned out by Mariah Carey singing “All I Want for Christmas is You,” accompanied by various news editors chiming in.

Editors are cracking jokes, complaining about classes and shouting — always shouting.

Sometimes we argue. Actually, we often argue — about everything under the sun. Politics, sports, class assignments, word choices in articles, staff editorial topics, which heinous quotes deserve to end up semi-permanently showcased on our quote board.

Between all the swear words and laughing fits, I heard something pretty familiar.

“Hey, if Norkol said she didn’t hate [my article], that’s a pretty high compliment,” Opinion Editor Adrian Nevarez said, met with giggles from other editors near him.

I’m not that harsh, I promise. Well, maybe I am. But that means better content for our readers, so I’ll make the sacrifice, and our editors can, too.

Somewhere along the line of arguments and poking fun at each other, we’ve also gotten into the habit of calling each other almost exclusively by our Phoenix nicknames. Many of us go by our last names. News Editor Mary Chappell started this trend, because she was the second Mary to join our staff — that simply wouldn’t fly. Instead, she’s gone by Chappell for nearly two years.

That means once A&E Editor Mary Grace Ritter came on board, she couldn’t simply be called Mary Grace. MG it is, and always will be. Our Content Manager Maddy Baltas almost exclusively answers to her first and last name, “MaddyBaltas.” I’m not sure why it ended up this way, but it’s somehow comforting.

I guess it’s only to be expected since we spend so much time together. There’s only so much you can do to avoid becoming close when countless hours every Tuesday are spent in a windowless room in the basement of the School of Communication. 

It’s a strange dynamic and I’d argue we wouldn’t otherwise be friends if we didn’t meet in the capacity of a student newspaper. But it’s a good thing we get along, because we’d probably strangle each other if we didn’t.

The dynamic of The Phoenix’s newsroom is something I doubt I’ll encounter again. I’ve spent time in professional newsrooms and they’re not nearly as fun (sorry, Chicago Sun-Times). 

From changing every possible phrase to be a reference to The Phoenix (Hallow-phoen, Phoenix Phamily, the list goes on) to cracking jokes only Loyola student journalists would understand, The Phoenix’s newsroom is a hodge-podge of personalities and a hub of chaotic conversations.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This week, Phoenix reporter Rylee Tan displays the ins and outs of Loyola’s decision to change insurance providers. The section also includes a report on students experiencing issues with mold in an on-campus dorm.

Sports officially kicks off the long-awaited men’s basketball season and A&E hosts a combination of columns covering books and music. Opinion Editor Adrian Nevarez explains why people should think twice before criticizing Chicago.

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