by Sarah Vick
The Salemite began in 1920 as a student-run publication. To understand The Salemite as it is now, it is necessary to know its history. From 1920- 2010, The Salemite went through phases of printing weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly. There used to be multiple classes within the communication department that worked to contribute content to The Salemite, and editor positions on The Salemite were paid as part of Salem College’s work study program. Because this same opportunity was not made available to other publications (likely due to lack of funding), this system was deemed unfair. Like all of Salem’s student-run organizations, The Salemite is now run by dedicated students who volunteer their time and labor.
In 2010, The Salemite ceased printing and was converted to an online blog. We have limited records of how much it was actually kept up; several students didn’t even know it existed. In fact, I didn’t even know the The Salemite existed until halfway through my first year at Salem.
All of this is a display of a bigger issue I’ve noticed as a leader in several Salem organizations; there is next to no enforceable structure for leadership transition.
Following this hiatus of our student-run publication, Monique Ahmad C’16 took over The Salemite as Editor-in-Chief in 2014. Through exceptional organizational skills, she was able to add membership, manage a board of editors, print letter-sized pamphlets semi-regularly and publish certain articles on WordPress. Take it from me: that is way more work than it sounds like. While Ahmad could have easily let The Salemite dissolve and become a mere artifact of Salem’s legacy, she maintained and improved its infrastructure.
My goals this year have been to increase visibility and relevance by: creating a sustainable system of printing a traditional newspaper, managing social media consistently, and publishing all of our print articles (and some extra articles) on WordPress. (Btw, if you’re not following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, go do that now!)
Behind the scenes, I’ve worked to set up and manage records to create easier transitions for future editors and to increase membership and interest in The Salemite. (We have had record-high numbers of applicants to The Salemite this year!) I’ve also held mandatory weekly meetings –often to my staff’s chagrin– because I believe in-person communication is always most effective.
I think the most demanding task for our future Editor-in-Chief, Kristen Maikoo C’17, will be developing a sustainable advertising program. It is a tall order, but she is undoubtedly qualified to handle it. I have to commend my section editors in particular (Emily Ramser ‘16, Maikoo, and Lesly Luna ‘17) for working tirelessly to make this publication excellent.
There’s a quote from a previous editor that pretty accurately sums up my experience on The Salemite as Editor-in-Chief. Cynthia Gonzalez, Editor-in-Chief for the 2006-07 academic year said it best: “…somehow, I was elected by my peers to be Editor-in-Chief of this publication. Since then, my life has been nothing but chaos.”
My life has been chaos, but this chaos has been an invaluable experience and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. As SGA Secretary next year, I will be the chair of Publications Board and will continue to be dedicated to improving campus publications. I beyond thankful to have had the opportunity to work with all of the talented and dedicated students on staff this year, and I can’t wait to see what they will do in the future.
Happy writing, Salemites!
P.S. Seriously, go follow us on social media!