Making headlines behind the scenes, not in front of cameras

Alex Hagen

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As the Pio‘s Arts & Entertainment section editor, I feel personally responsible for educating our faithful readers about cultural events on and beyond Whitman’s campus. As misguided as this sense of responsibility may be, I nonetheless feel the weight of the art world on my shoulders. So, what artistic endeavor have I chosen to analyze in this post? How can I illuminate my fascinating life as comprehensively and as succinctly as possible? (A daunting task, I know.)

Dear readers, I suggest you look no further than MTV’s little-known reality series “The Paper,” which lasted for one eight-episode season in the spring of 2008.

Though I have a special place in my heart for flashier MTV offerings like “Jersey Shore” and “Paris Hilton’s My New BFF,” “The Paper” may be the channel’s finest work to date. Due to my involvement in my high school’s yearbook and newspaper, I’ve always felt a strange sort of kinship with the high school students featured on the show.

“The Paper” followed a Florida high school’s newspaper, and all of its dramatic and wacky antics, over the course of a school year. With a special focus on the editorial board, the show featured more than a few indelible personalities as the season evolved and the kids got more comfortable with cameras around them.

(Interestingly, the school’s paper was titled “The Circuit.” Coincidence? I doubt it…)

Though I can’t say I haven’t thought about what a reality show about my life would be like, I’m not sure if a series following the Pio would be quite as gripping as “The Paper” was. Though our staff is peppered with captivating people, and we have our fair share of drama (check out the production night liveblog), every episode would end happily, more or less.

No one wants to see that.

Even with the heightened “reality” added by MTV’s producers, my activities as A&E editor probably wouldn’t warrant a series of their own. In the course of a week, I make lists of story ideas, edit my writers’ articles, give input on the page’s layout, help out with captions and headlines and send a lot of emails. In doing so, I personally see to it that my section is the best in the paper (sorry I’m not sorry, Feature), but generally don’t stir up a lot of drama in the process.

So unless I decide to channel my inner Real Housewife and overturn some tables at the next editors’ meeting, I don’t think you’ll see MTV’s cameras hanging around the Pio office anytime soon. (However, if I end up signing a multi-season contract, you can’t say you didn’t see it coming.)

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