Eight Fridays a year the student body is handed a copy of The Knightly News by staff members after assembly, but not many students know exactly what goes into making the school’s award-winning print editions of the newspaper. The fifteen members of the staff monopolize the computer lab every D period, to the dismay of the underclassmen, in order to write, edit and layout the articles and photos in time for the hundreds of copies to be printed and distributed. The Knightly News also has an excellent website, rich with articles, photo galleries and video content, which is in the capable hands of senior Aaron Wasserman and junior Dean Papastrat. But the focus here will be on how the printed issues are produced.
Each issue starts the same way with brainstorming, which can sometimes be the most difficult aspect of the paper. Staff members are expected to have a minimum of two story ideas when they walk into class, which can range from news, opinion, lifestyle and sports pieces. More often than not, the staff struggles to fill up the opinion section or come up with fun and interesting articles for the Pace community when there is a lull in events. Some staff members have their signature pieces, like senior Wylie Heiner’s Three Looks, junior Josh Blank’s restaurant reviews, and the Five Minutes column that is shared by the co-editors in chief, which make the brainstorming process a bit easier.
After story ideas are set, the real work begins. Depending on turn-around, the amount of time the staff has to work on articles, there is sometimes less than a week to turn in articles and photos. The staff researches their topics and interviews members of the Pace community, which can often be difficult when people do not respond to their requests. The staff tries to interview different students from every grade and both genders. Some staff members do not have to hunt down willing students for quotes depending on their article, especially for opinion and lifestyle pieces.
Staff members are also responsible for taking photos to accompany their articles. Seeing as some students only look at the photos and do not actually read the paper, staff members try to get photos of students that will entice people to actually read the stories. Newspaper writing style, AP style, differs from the writing style one would use in an English class. In addition to capitalization rules and many other little details, the most difficult style rule to remember is to not use Oxford commas, the comma before an “and.”
After all articles and photos are submitted, staff members are tasked with making sure the articles go through two rounds of student edits and a final edit by faculty adviser Ms. Wilson. Staff members end up reading most, if not all of the articles, which is why it is rare to see staff members reading the paper on handout days. Editing of articles and optimizing photos (cropping, sharpening resolution, etc. through Photoshop) are the final steps before layout, which is when the final product comes together.
All section editors and the co-editors in chief try to fit all of the articles and photos in the paper’s print format, which can often cause the most stress. Layout decides how the final paper looks, which is often the most difficult aspect, because it is like a highly time-sensitive game of Tetris with multiple components and varying sizes of pieces. Right before the final layout is sent to the printer, the co-editors in chief come in on a Saturday to finalize the print edition of the paper, which can take multiple hours, in order to finish layout and proof all of the articles one last time before the paper is sent to print.
If all goes according to plan, the printed editions of the paper arrive before handout on Friday. The Knightly News staff is a dedicated and hard-working group of students who are proud of the final product when the large, and surprisingly heavy, box of papers is delivered to the Pace community.