Black Smudges and Icky Words

Senior superlative: Most likely to hum the entire soundtrack to a movie from 2008.


photo courtesy of Ava De Leon

Ava De Leon, Copy Editor

My first day at LASA, someone handed me what I thought was a faulty newspaper because the ink got on my hands and made them sticky– so I threw it away. In fourth period, I thought I was cursed because every newspaper I picked up left black smudges on my fingertips. Apparently, all newspapers do that. 

News flashes just became a regular part of being in Newspaper, like when I learned people don’t respond to emails or that InDesign sometimes decides you’ve offended it and will no longer cooperate, or that candid shots are impossible to capture because everyone chooses to stare directly into the lens– no smile, just a hollow stare. Despite the unnerving experiences I encountered while being a part of the newspaper, I can confidently say that I have learned so much from not only the class, but the people as well. Being a staffer taught me how to advocate for myself and step out of my social comfort zone. Past editors taught me the value of networking, communication, and collaboration. Current editors have taught me patience and distress tolerance. Just kidding… sort of. In all seriousness, the editors I’ve had the pleasure of working with are genuinely some of the most talented, creative, and kindest people I have ever met. 

Coming to newspaper class is consistently comforting, and late nights are the highlights of my week. As Copy Editor, I know that I may have come off as critical or harsh or even passive aggressive as I leave “icky word” comments on 30 articles each nine-weeks, but every time an issue is published, I cannot help but feel proud of every single editor and staffer who worked together to create such a profound piece of art.

 People outside of Newspaper may never understand the time and diligence we put into each issue, but I know that there are special people who do understand, and that’s all that matters. Maybe I’ll be remembered for my passive aggressive comments, or for my obsession with ABBA, or my obvious facial expressions, but either way, when people look at my name on an issue of The Liberator, I hope they remember how much I loved it.

I will miss watching weird movies and commenting on every scene with fellow editors. I will miss eating pizza and playing silly games during late nights. I will miss not remembering which editor is in which section. I will miss singing karaoke or “conducting” instrumentals from kid’s movies. I will miss sitting in my yellow chair, listening to Mr. Garcia’s eccentric music, with all the blinds open, sun streaking across the room, and just watching everyone as they go about their day, writing stories, designing pages, smiling as they chat and laugh with one another. If I could freeze time just to be there in that moment I would, but what I think I’ll miss most is picking up a freshly delivered newspaper, flipping through the pages, and smiling to myself when I look at my fingertips—covered in black smudges.