Unreported Reporting

While the Merionite staff dedicates dozens of hours and pages to create a publication worth reading, too often is that same publication frivolously ignored by the greater student body. It’s time for the Merionite to gain the recognition it deserves.

A day in the life of a Merionite editor who goes through dozens of hours of work just to see the finished product thrown in the trash. | Graphic by Cate Roser ’21/Staff

The purpose of the following article is not to describe the time commitment and skills necessary to compose The Merionite, but rather my wish for more respect granted to the staff’s energy and creativity that they contribute to each issue. Last month, the management team of The Merionite spent a rough estimate of about twenty hours composing the November issue. This time was allotted for the taxing hours of layout, graphics meetings, and Zoom calls organized between the three Editors-in-chief. The section editors, as per usual, also spent countless hours working to create their pages to the best of their ability, ensuring that the articles were filled with readable content and appeared eye-catching to the reader. Not only did the November layout consist of the usual rounds of page edits before finalization, but also a special feature that discussed the benefits and detriments of hybrid learning and [email protected], adding to the stress of publishing an issue completely virtually. As a three-year staff member and Editor-in-Chief, I’ve witnessed firsthand how all of this work goes, more often than not, unrecognized. 

Two years ago as a copy editor, it was my first experience with distributing The Merionite each month. I felt a warmness through my body (despite standing in the 7:00 a.m. bitter temperatures) when students went out of their way to ensure they had the opportunity to read articles that might interest them. However, there were always a few exceptions to these individuals. Some students kept their head down when walking through the front doors, turned their backs to the editors, and the worst of all, those who took a paper, and then visibly threw it in the trash the second they entered the building. It wasn’t until last year as a section editor— a much greater commitment—where my anger towards these students grew immensely. During the times of normalcy and in-person learning, I remember telling my friends and classmates to check out the “_____” article or the “_____” special feature in each issue of The Merionite, as they failed to take these suggestions. It is saddening because I know The Merionite is not the only organization at LM who faces these kinds of problems. LM’s art clubs continuously advocate for attendance to their performances, and many other sports teams broadcast to their peers to come to their games. The members of these extracurricular activities work rigorously because they are so passionate about what they do, but I feel that since The Merionite is largely responsible for the student voice, it is even more devastating to see this work ignored.

The time and effort put into composing, designing, and editing each newspaper issue is far from proportional from the amount of respect it receives from most of its readers. | Photo courtesy of Jonathan Xu ’22/Staff

The sum of time donated to composing The Merionite varies each issue, but the amount of passion and dedication remains fairly constant. We are living through unprecedented circumstances where it feels like the majority of our interactions are through our computer screens, which has created large barriers for The Merionite staff. Typical layout in the Merionite room is not possible, resulting in all communication and the entire layout process operating through Zoom. Section editors work together in breakout rooms, unable to completely bond with one another or interact in-person. Yet, we still provide the student body with insight on COVID-19 news throughout the school and outside community, advice on dealing with quarantine, opinions about the latest presidential election, Netflix and song reviews, updates on Central League sports, and it still feels that all of this goes unnoticed. If the large majority of those who do not read the paper took time out to do so, they could potentially realize that The Merionite publishes articles that almost the entire student body can relate to and of varying topics. And maybe, just maybe, there would be more people flipping through The Merionite pages in the morning, rather than using it as a rolled-up weapon for sword fights through the halls.