Arthur Newspaper has become an important forum for news, opinion, and information in the Trent and Peterborough community. The current editors have done a great job building capacity for the newspaper to cover more stories, investigate news, and engage readers. I have a few ideas for perpetuating this momentum and helping Arthur realize its potential which I could implement as editor.
From an editorial standpoint, I would encourage content that treats students and community as a unified audience. Because Trent is a part of Peterborough and Peterborough a part of Trent, the content of Arthur should address the concerns of students and community as a single body. For this reason, Arthur stories should make campus news interesting to the community and local news interesting to students.
While I would treat the audience as one, I think treating the content as discrete best facilitates this unification of the audience. As editor I plan to make distinct sections for Campus and Local stories. For these sections, two new staff positions will be created called “section editors”. The section editors will be responsible for content creation—which includes coming up with story ideas, working with reporters to develop their stories, and finding the best layout.
Having seen the demands on the current editors, I think distributing content creation and staff management into different roles of the editorial team would ensure that Arthur has both strong content and a supportive environment for staff. Our readers pick up Arthur because it has the promise of interesting content; having staff dedicated to honing content would ensure that we don’t miss important stories and that we take the most pertinent angle. To that end, we will have lead reporters assigned to News, Politics, Arts, Sports, and Academics. This will ensure that these types of stories are a strong focus of Arthur, and that each story has an experienced writer or mentor behind it.
These structural changes give the editor-in-chief (me) the capacity to expand the potential for Arthur into different territory. I would do this in a few different ways—all centered around supplementing our print publication.
Arthur’s YouTube page will be used to complement certain Arthur staples like the Local Tunes section and certain Arts previews. Short videos with previews of interviews, songs, or art installations would build off of print pieces, giving new and complementary content. This could also work well in our social media strategy as it gives us more content to share in a format that is easily accessible online, thus promoting an interactive readership.
Building on this creative content, an artist or cartoonist on staff could supplement articles with funny, poignant, or even just descriptive illustrations. Having illustrations will make the newspaper accessible to many who may be disenchanted with written articles.
With all of these new media, part of my role as editor would be to make staff comfortable with Arthur’s expanded role. I plan to offer skills development workshops for photography, videography, journalistic ethics, social media, and radio—all in the interest of getting staff comfortable participating in the new directions of Arthur.
As next year will be Arthur’s 50th volume, I have a number of ideas to celebrate this landmark including a regular column or special issue in which people make contributions about how Arthur has contemporarily and historically impacted Peterborough, Trent, or themselves as individuals.
This year we have seen that many people outside of the regular staff contributors want to get engaged with the newspaper. Arthur can encourage this engagement two ways. First, by rearranging our special issues into a regular monthly schedule that is advertised well in advance, giving contributors ample opportunity to prepare and submit their stories. Second, by inviting volunteers to our story meetings regularly and changing the structure of how stories are assigned, we will develop the skills of our contributors.
Along this vein, stories should prioritize hard-hitting and investigative news stories to staff reporters, while reviews and previews should be given to less experienced reporters and volunteers looking at developing their journalistic abilities. With the section editors devising interesting investigative pieces, this model will set the priorities of Arthur’s content to the most relevant news.
Lastly, I want to emphasize that, while I have shared some of my many ideas for Arthur above, I am certain that my fellow candidates, colleagues, and friends have equally stellar ideas for the newspaper. My editorial platform is one of open doors and an open mind. In running the newspaper, I would be available for anyone to share their ideas and contribute to the process. I am confident that with so many passionate candidates running for editor and enthusiastic members of the staff collective, Volume 50 is going to be one for the history books. We’ll make Arthur’s 50th volume something to remember. I would be honoured to be at the helm guiding Arthur to greatness.