Previewing the life of weekly newspaper production


Little do people know, newspaper production is not as simple as writing down content on Microsoft Word and then sending it to the printers.

The following is a close-up of production for The Cord.

Production starts with our weekly meeting. We all crowd around the main level of our dingy office — where we spend the vast majority of our week — and determine the content for the following issue. Section editors, multimedia and videography declare the content they plan on running for the upcoming issue. We then discuss details such as what cover will be, vocal cord, the editorial cartoon and unsigneds.

From there, editors break off into their own responsibilities.

Section editors spend the prior week collecting content, putting in visual requests and staying in contact with contributors. Photography editors and their volunteers as well as Creative Directors with their graphic artists, spent the weekend fulfilling the visual requests — either taking photos or designing graphics.

After meticulous editing from section editors, they then put their edited content in the Dropbox for the Editor-in-Chief to look over again.

Hang in there, we’re not done just yet.

Good old InDesign is the software we use for assembling pages. Each story, headline, visual and byline has to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. We need to create fitting pieces for it to all come together. Sometimes this takes hours of changing around words, breaking paragraphs, adding pull quotes or inserting supplemental headlines to fill the page the way it is required.

Photographers edit photos and correct all details while considering the quality of how they will print. Our videographer films our weekly update video and puts it together, usually the night before the issue is released.

After hours of this, we then send our printed pages upstairs to the mystical world of the copy editors, where several editors sit around with pens and thoroughly edit each detail — sometimes butchering the layout to the point in which those hours of work have to be completely reconsidered.

We then insert the copy edits into InDesign, make any necessary changes and then print it off again for our EIC to copy edit it one more time. From there, more changes are made. These changes have to be inserted. We then look it over on screen for the EIC to finally PDF the pages.

As you can see, there’s a ton of work put into every issue.

We pour blood, sweat and tears into delivering the best paper we can — sometimes causing us to work until 6 a.m. the morning before everything is officially sent to the printers.

In the end, no matter how much work we put in, the weekly gratification of producing something we are proud of is all the payment we need. 

As our readers, please understand we are not perfect, that mistakes may still slip through the cracks, but our efforts always aim for greatness.

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Serving the Waterloo campus, The Cord seeks to provide students with relevant, up to date stories. We’re always interested in having more volunteer writers, photographers and graphic designers.