Rachel and Libby’s Production Night Liveblog

Rachel Alexander

Hi everyone, and welcome to our first liveblog of the semester! Every Wednesday night (and on into Thursday morning), the staff of The Pioneer gather in the newsroom, tucked away on the top floor of the Reid Campus Center, and put together a paper.  The following is a faithful account by me, the Pio‘s Editor-in-Chief, and Libby Arnosti, our Managing Editor.

3:45 p.m. Arrive in the office, which is deserted except for Opinion Production Associate Maddi Coons and Opinion Editor Alex Brott. Alex and I fill out our graduation paperwork while Maddi tweaks the opinion page layout.

3:55 p.m. Sports Editor Pam London pops in with snacks for everyone before heading off to soccer practice. Snack duty was originally assigned to Web Editor Blair Hanley Frank, but he asked to have his assignment switched because he’s celebrating Yom Kippur and didn’t want to be tempted by the usual roundup of production night chips, salsa, hummus and chocolate chip cookies.

4 p.m. Production Manager Sean McNulty arrives, explaining that a large amount of Spanish homework kept him from getting here earlier.

4:15 p.m. Section editors and PAs start to trickle in to work on their pages.

4:30 p.m. Web team meeting! Webmaster Ben Schaefer, Web Content Editor Aleida Fernandez and I assign priorities to our list of projects for the website and come up with a foolproof plan to win another award for our site design from the Associated Collegiate Press at their fall conference. Blair, who is usually in attendance, won’t be in  tonight until after sundown.

5 p.m. Web team meeting ends.

5:05 p.m. Photo Editor Marie von Hafften shows up and reports that she’s successfully gotten all 16 ASWC Senators to come in for headshots, which we’ll be using for this week’s front-page article on ASWC’s new members. With any luck, we’ll be done with front page layout before 2 a.m.

5:36 p.m. Feature Editor Adam Brayton asks Marie if she can edit out the guy who’s inadvertently photobombing the rap battle photo in this week’s feature spread. I have to crush his dreams by informing him that removing people from photos is a violation of our Code of Ethics.

5:40 p.m. Adam is now looking at Pizza Hut ads in Arabic. Or something like that.

5:45 p.m. Advertising Manager Hannah Bauer arrives to have her headshot taken for our staff page on the website.

5:46 p.m. Hannah’s knees are “slightly too hot.”

5:50 p.m. Hannah and I chat about increasing the Pio’s ad revenus.

5:55 p.m. Opinion Editor Alex Brott re-arrives in the office.

6:00 p.m. Alex has unbuttoned his shirt, prompting a discussion of whether or not the Pio’s dress code prohibits visible nipples.

6:04 p.m. Backpage PA Cara Patten and Backpage Editor Kyle Seasly ask me to look over their page.

6:05 p.m. Hannah chats with Alex before departing to go to one of the four other jobs she holds on campus.

6:08 p.m. “WHY IS IT SO QUIET IN HERE?” ––Adam. “MORE NOISE! MORE DISTRACTIONS!” ––Alex.

6:12 p.m. I return from a candy run to the ASWC office. My goal is to eat my student fee’s worth of candy before the end of the year.

6:24 p.m. Enter Libby, with a pb&j and her pal Victoria in magazine form. Adam swipes it from the table. “Be back in a few minutes!”

6:27 p.m. Adam returns.

6:28 p.m. News PA Stella Bartholet yells at Sean, “This might be crazy, but I think I’m almost done.” I renew my optimism that we may finish before 2 a.m.

6:30 p.m. Libby, Alex, Adam and I brainstorm possible thesis titles. We settle on “Tequila Sunrise.”

6:37 p.m. Alex and Adam head out to dinner. Libby declines to have her headshot taken because, “my hair’s still wet! It’s not pretty yet!”

6:47 p.m. Our faithful Editor-in-Chief Rachel leaves for Senior Seminar, leaving behind a large number of candy wrappers to save her spot for her return. James Brown gets us feeling good again after the sadness of Rachel’s departure. I, the lowly Camp Counselor Libby, hereby take over liveblog duties.

6:52 p.m. Pam swaggers into the room wearing a shirt that says “I’m home court advantage,” with a large bag of ice strapped to her knee, looking every bit the varsity soccer player she is.

6:55 p.m. Three pages are all laid out, text replaced, full of beautiful headlines and captions and ready for copy edit.

7:10 p.m. Blair walks into the newsroom. Adam wishes him a “happy ghost of holidays past! … Or, whatever it is.” Blair kindly informs him that in the future if he were to wish a Jewish friend good will for Yom Kippur the correct thing to say would be: “good yontef.” But whatever.

7:30 p.m. After 20 minutes of struggling to make a layout for Feature, I successfully prove that I am not a competent production assistant.

7:34 p.m. Adam cheers me by playing a Youtube video of a high school marching band performing an adapted version of “Gagnam Style,” complete with choreography and yelled lyrics. Illustration Editor Julie Peterson is in love. Soon the entire newsroom is officially distracted, and Adam takes the opportunity to open our world to the trove of other “Gagnam” covers. Blair approves.

7:38 p.m. Back to work.

7:40 p.m. Blair informs us that Brian Wilson has officially been fired from The Beach Boys. Meanwhile, Matthew shows up to begin copy editing Backpage, Opinion and A&E. We heart copy editors!

7:53 p.m. Marie and Blair investigate what would happen if every person in the world shined a laser on the moon at once. Would it light it up? Answer: No. It would not. Pam nears the Sports page deadline and puts the finishing touches on a great-looking page.

7:55 p.m. Sean attempts to use Marie’s personal whiteboard to “make a calculation.” No go.

8:15 p.m. The newsroom is humming with copy-editing, headline-writing, web-updating, last-minute-editing noise. Ahhh, if this isn’t heaven on Earth.

8:19 p.m. Front page is already shaping up nicely, and it’s not even close to 2 a.m! This is how we measure success.

8:22 p.m. News Editor Allison Work walks in and heads straight for the chip bag. Then she and Emily Lin-Jones, our other superstar News Editor, buckle down for real talk and solving the Inside News too-much-content issue.

8:38 p.m. Sean finds out that the FF DIN semicolon is vile and offensive. Pam, her Sports page checked off, quietly takes her leave as he bemoans the unwise font design choice (“C’mon, why you gotta do me like that?”).

8:47 p.m. Blair and Marie communicate via googledoc and cackle to each other about unknown online funniness.

9:32 p.m. Adam makes a successful Feature headline entirely inspired by car metaphors. Five pages done, just News left! A large iced chai has recharged my batteries.

9:38 p.m. Rachel returns from her Senior Sem interlude! There is joy everywhere in the newsroom. Things continue as usual.

10:12 p.m. Blair is yelling at his computer again. Marisa Ikert, our Chief Copy Editor, helpfully mentions that “defenestrate” means to throw something out the window. (“Oh, the things you learn from kids at camp.”)

10:20 p.m. The liveblog won’t load on Libby’s computer. Crisis! Rachel resumes liveblogging on her computer instead.

10:21 p.m. I inform Libby that she can gesticulate angrily, or she can hold scissors, but that she cannot do both at the same time.

10:40 p.m. I (Libby) complain about not wanting to update the liveblog and try to make Rachel do it. Her response: “Libby, I’m writing an important email! The title is literally the word “IMPORTANT” in all caps!” So here I am.

10:44 p.m. Kayvon Behroozian, the ASWC student body president, comes into the newsroom in search of Rachel’s homemade cookies. When he learns that they’re all gone (they’ve been gone since 6:30, dude! Where have you been?) he politely sticks around for a few minutes anyway to show that they were not the only reason he came to visit. We know they were, but it’s a nice gesture.

10:45 p.m. ASWC office Whoppers raid.

10:46 p.m. The newsroom table is covered in Whoppers. And also the stolen candy jar from the ASWC office. Success.

10:47 p.m. Kayvon marches down the hall, demanding his jar back. We get to keep the Whoppers. Double success.

11:18 p.m. Overheard in the newsroom: “Well, I’m so glad you aren’t Montezuma” -Spencer Wharton, our sex columnist, simultaneously on the phone with retired Production Manager Ted Hendershot and talking to Rachel. Not clear on which person this statement was directed toward.

11:20 p.m. Spencer, still talking to Ted, says something about a screwdriver. Confused, I repeat the word. Rachel hears and is also confused: “Wait, the drink or the weapon?” I am confused all over again. Weapon?

11:23 p.m. In other news, we are PDFing pages. Four, to be exact. It is a magical magical night. Also I have eaten ten packets of Whoppers.

11:31 p.m. Five pages PDFed. Boom.

11:38 p.m. Rachel is eating rotten spicy lettuce, apparently because she has an obligation to eat this dirty rotten lettuce before it becomes more rotten and begins “growing ecosystems,” (Spencer’s words). Nobody else understands this logic.

11:42 p.m. [Interim writer: Spencer] Turns out there is an ecosystem in Rachel’s greens after all–we find a bug. Libby snatches the bag of salad and runs out into the hall, intending to discard it, but Rachel gives chase and reclaims it. Blair delivers a forceful injunction: “You are not eating that in my presence.”

12:10 a.m. Rachel gets off the phone with Ted and threatens everyone making disparaging comments about her “salad.”

12:17 a.m. Rachel goes down to the ASWC office to collect our mail for the week and discovers $655 in new subscriptions.

12:27 a.m. Front page approved by Sean and Rachel. We’re just waiting on copy edit.

12:30 a.m. Libby refuses to play Ke$ha in spite of Rachel’s repeated badgering. As penance Rachel tasks her with Facebook stalking the editors to establish a birthday calendar.

12:53 a.m. Rachel compiles editor bios for the staff page, while Marisa finished copy-editing news.

1:15 a.m. All pages PDFed and sent to the Union-Bulletin (who prints our lovely paper). Look for Pio Issue 4 on newsstands tomorrow at 1 p.m.!