Initially joining The Beaver as a deputy Features Editor, I soon worked my way up to Features Editor and in 2016 became the first woman of colour to be elected Executive Editor in the newspaper’s 70-year history.
In my first editorial as Executive Editor, I said that, “No newspaper works in just one medium any more, and digital journalism plays an integral role in raising the immediacy with which a story gets out.” This is something that I tried to address as Executive Editor, by overseeing the development of ‘The Beaver LSE’ iPhone app. At the time I departed the LSE, the app had over 1,000 downloads.
I chased down and interviewed Heads of State, Ministers, Nobel prize laureates and other high-profile public figures. Some of the interviews I conducted were with the former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, Economics Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen, fashion powerhouse Dame Vivienne Westwood and North Korean defector Hyseonseo Lee.
Most students assume that The Beaver Editors mainly just edit articles and respond to the odd email on a weekly basis, but there is so much more to it than that. For instance, it also entails carrying heavy stacks of Beaver newspapers to far-flung locations across campus in an effort to distribute them, and almost toppling over in the process.
And I am grateful to all the editors who gave up their Sundays to come in and slog away at their respective sections, sometimes having to wait hours until writers sent in articles at the eleventh hour before editing and then formatting them on Adobe InDesign.
Having slept only a couple of hours the night before after editing interviews and articles, walking into the Media Centre like a zombie at 8am with an empty stomach and a large black coffee to polish off the paper before the noon print deadline became pretty standard. So did forgetting to eat until 1pm, which is when everything had been sent to the printers and we’d rung them up or emailed them to check that all 32 pages had been sent and that the image resolutions were up to scratch. Once this was confirmed, getting food into the system was next on the agenda, followed by a well-deserved nap (i.e. collapsing in exhaustion) on one of the Media Centre beanbags.
Although it might have been nice to go to class having done my readings for a change and not having to pull an all-nighter to finish a summative essay, I wouldn’t trade my time at The Beaver for any of these things. It also cemented my desire to become a journalist, setting me on a course to undertake a master’s in Journalism at Columbia University and start working as financial journalist in New York.
As for whoever takes the wheel as the next Executive Editor after the current board has retired, I would first like to say congratulations – you’ve taken on possibly the most demanding, time-consuming society positions at LSE, which means that on some days you will wish you could take a six-month vacation twice a year. But it’s a privilege to lead a team of incredibly intelligent, hardworking and talented students, and to deliver fresh and thought-provoking news on a biweekly basis. It is a responsibility that I trust you will not take lightly, and I know you will protect the integrity of our newspaper above all else, attend to it with immense attention to detail, and watch over its long-term direction as well as the wellbeing of our Editors and writers. I wish you the very best of luck and hope that you will as rewarding and worthwhile as I did.