A call to make your voice heard

Aurora York | Executive Editor | ayork@mail.smcvt.edu

When I signed up for Storytelling and Design for Publication I didn’t expect there to be 20 students in the class that produces and designs the Defender. But I also didn’t expect there to be only one: me. 

I’ve taken this class before, last spring. And it was hard work. We had to pitch stories, interview for stories, edit staff writer stories and design pages for the newspaper. All that work to make a 12 or 16 page print issue that I would eventually see tossed under a chair in the St. Ed’s lounge. 

I learned everything on the spot. Design principles, A.P. Style news writing, copy editing and how to schedule a last minute interview. By the end of the semester, myself and the 7 other students in the class were like family. We  spent hours in the design lab working together to create four issues. We critiqued each other’s stories, we ate pizza together and most of all we had fun. 

It meant a lot to me to create and design a news publication. Something so tangible. Something I could hold in my hand, where it said my name in a masthead: Rory York, News and Feature Editor. 

The reporting I did uncovered new information and presented it in a digestible way- I felt as if I was contributing to something bigger than myself with every issue that came out. I hoped that those who read the stories I helped write and the pages I helped design would be better informed about our school and our community.

The impact an  informative, well-written news story can have on the public should not be underestimated. Good reporting in a student publication such as the Defender can have powerful impacts on those smaller communities it represents. Reporters have a closer relationship with the community they are covering- as well as a better sense of the issues that occur.

 Looking at past issues of the Defender where they had 15 -18 dedicated student reporters- I want to create something that resembles that. I have the power to do that, after all. I am the executive editor. But also, the only editor. 

The class meets 3 times a week plus has an additional production lab on Mondays. Oftentimes the class is Professor Swope and I talking for an hour, discussing what needs to be done. We have both taken on large roles, doing things that normally would be split up between multiple students. And yet somehow, we are doing it.

I feel a responsibility to work as hard as I can to inform my community, and to make a product people can depend on and be proud of. I write and work for the Defender because I care about news. The team effort to report news will then inform the public. When the public is properly informed and is able to access the truth, they are able to positively impact the community with informed decisions. The truth is a rare thing to find these days, but something that good news always has.  

The Defender is the student voice of St. Michael’s. The voices of the community need to be amplified and heard. The Defender is open to anyone, with any experience. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t a DMC major or a confident writer, the Defender wants your contribution, we want your insights and we want your experience. 
If you want to contribute to the Defender in any way, email me at ayork@mail.smcvt.edu.