Looking back at the Ledger’s first year as a primarily digital publication

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by Pete Schulte

Editor-in-chief

pschult6@jccc.edu

With the spring semester drawing to a close, my tenure as Editor-in-Chief (EIC) at the Ledger is also drawing to a close. Throughout my time at the Ledger, our publication worked to transition to a digital-first publication for the first time in its 37-year history. It’s been quite the ride and one I believe my colleagues and I will look back and smile on, regardless of where we may end up.

Initially, I had fears about never having worked on any sort of publication prior to be hired as EIC. In the summer leading up to what would become one of my favorite experiences I’ve had, I kept wondering how I could ever expect myself to lead a newsroom having never spent much time in one before. However, the returning staff members from the previous semester combined with a great incoming staff helped me gain confidence that together, we could do an excellent job during our time together. I’m proud to look back and say I believe we did just that.

Our goal for digital success meant one article added to campusledger.com per day, and we essentially hit that from day one. With additional convergence packages being completed with our colleagues at JCAV-TV and ECAV Radio, we quickly began publishing multiple articles/packages to the website daily. Building on what past Ledger staffs have done and increasing our engagement on social media was also a target for us. I have to compliment the members of this team and their increased use of social media as well, with some of the highlights being our recent political coverage and live-tweet coverage of the college’s Board of Trustees meetings.

While I didn’t get to write as much as I would’ve liked to throughout my year here, seeing this team come together and produce some great content has been so incredibly gratifying. Earning the crown jewel at the Kansas Collegiate Media spring conference and winning the coveted All-Kansas award in April was my proudest moment at the Ledger. For those unfamiliar, the All-Kansas award gives the Ledger the honor of being the judged the best two-year publication in the state. Over the past year, this staff has worked so hard throughout our growing pains of becoming a digital-first publication, and seeing that hard work come to fruition with the All-Kansas made all the countless team-messaging notifications and twilight-hour production nights worth it. I would have been proud of this staff regardless of any awards, but taking home 21 awards in all at the conference hopefully helps them recognize what a great job each of them did this past year, with some additional kudos going out to the Ledger staff from spring 2015, as they were a part of these awards as well.

In closing, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to the Student Media Board for giving me this opportunity. Thank you to our readers for working with us through our digital transition and continuing to support us. Thank you to the teams from both semesters for all of the hard work each and every one of you put in every day you walked into the Student News Center. We took this publication into a new era and you all can be extremely proud of the work you did to bring us here.

Thank you to the Managing Editors from each semester, Cade Webb and Sean Hull. Be persistent, gentlemen. You both are incredibly talented and have a future in this field if you continue to put this level of work in. You’ll only get better moving forward and I can’t wait to see your bylines published in the future. Thank you to our News Editor for the past year, J.T. Buchheit. Your copy-editing skills are simply incredible. The moment the announcement came through at the Kansas Collegiate Media conference that the winner of the copy-editing competition not only scored the first-ever perfect score in the competition, but also corrected errors in the contest instructions, I knew you were the winner. You’re going to a wonderful job editing books in the future, my friend.

Lastly, I must say thank you to the Ledger adviser, Corbin Crable. Your vision for what I could be in this role as EIC truly spurred me forward. Without your confidence in me, I would have never had this experience, which has been the most enjoyable thing I have ever done in college. This team has always had your guidance when we needed it, and I feel confident in saying I know every one of us has learned something from you at one point or another. I feel comfortable in speaking for everyone when I say we thank you for that.

If there’s anything our readers should take from this, it’s to continue reading campusledger.com for daily updates on what’s happening on your campus and interact with us on Twitter and Facebook. The story of our team for the past year is not a rare one. Past Ledger staffs have produced some excellent work, and our incoming Editor-in-Chief for the fall semester, Aaron Rhodes, is about embark on his chapter of the Ledger. Having worked with him this semester, he’s going to do an absolutely stellar job, and I can’t wait to see what his team puts together in the fall.

It’s been a pleasure being your Editor-in-Chief, JCCC.

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