Don’t Tell Anyone, But I’m Actually a Spy

Senior Superlative: Most Likely to write an Owl House fanfic.


Photo courtesy of Helen Bigge

Helen Bigge, Staffer

I don’t really read the newspaper. I absorb the absolutely massive amount of text occasionally broken into chunks by stunning photos and graphics, just staring at its immense presence while imagining what powerful beings must exist to create such an important occasion as to be featured in an archive like this, let alone to compile it all in such a cohesive way. And then I turn the page, and there might be a headline that catches my eye, and I might even muster up the courage to parse its story out, line by line. So to those of you who have taken all of this time and effort to read this silly little column among these 18 vast expanses of text, thank you. I applaud your valor. And to those of you who might say, “Oh, I can read the whole paper in under ten minutes, it’s not really a big deal,” you suck.

For legal reasons, that last sentence was a joke. But in either case, I’m here to tell you, dear public, that after going undercover as a staffer for the LASA Liberator for my final year at this school, I have discovered their secrets to producing these tens of thousands of words every few months and feel compelled to reveal them.

The differences between newspaper and E-Zine are numerous. For example, apparently you don’t need 30-minute interviews from each person in order to write a cohesive story; leeching just five minutes of someone’s time is enough to harvest an entire third of an article. If you’d rather critique people’s lousy job than be the one writing, there’s an easy solution! Just become an editor. And if you feel really strongly about not writing anything, working with graphics or photos will guarantee that you don’t have to put a single word down all year (I would advise you to assume one of these roles over other editor positions because they do not have to deal with late articles from staffers such as yours truly).

As a staffer, your job includes finding three people who are willing to talk to you with the knowledge that anything they say can and will be used against them, unless they specify that they would rather not have that part be included in whatever you end up writing. This, along with the rest of the process, is nearly identical to freshman year and will give you flashbacks. Just spend hours replaying the same .2 seconds of audio until you’re sure that word could not possibly be part of the English language. Oh, what’s that? You didn’t need to go that far? Excuse me while I scream into my keyboard. That’s taken care of? Good. Now for the easy part; just aslkfdisdjfjaosiefjeij across said keyboard, and you will have a masterpiece in no time.

…A masterpiece that is maybe half-written at best, must go through many trials and tribulations, be pounded and reshaped before emerging from the flames as a blade, newly forged. Even then, there will be cracks in the steel; when it is on display you may notice certain peculiarities that hadn’t existed when you first lifted it out of the blazing fire, such as a misspelled name or a shortened paragraph made by editors. But the hilt is also stronger, and the blade is polished, so can you really complain? The lede didn’t even exist before the editors revised it to fit within the rest of the newspaper that you hold in your hands. You slowly scan the rest of the page, venturing off to examine another sword in the stack. It’s gilded with dazzling images, the words feel just as impressive as every other article you’ve seen prior to becoming a part of this strange process, and you can’t help but feel proud of yourself and your team for creating something akin to magic.

graphic by Amelia Coleman