The Navigator is produced by 15 students who want to bring you stories that matter to students. Ever wonder how the paper is produced, or about the stories behind the scenes? Read on for a recap of what the Nav. had to offer in 2012: the controversies, the hits, and the process.
This is how we do what we do
The Nav. works on a bi-weekly production schedule producing 14 issues per school year: seven during the fall semester and seven during the spring. Issues appear on newsstands every second Wednesday, with editorial content from the Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editor, Arts Editor, News Editor, and Sports Editor due on Wednesdays in between. Content is uploaded to the server and printed off by the editors, then left in trays for the copy editing elves who come into the office on Wednesday night and Thursday morning to edit the work for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and any other inconsistencies. The layout team then has Thursday afternoon until Sunday morning to put all content into the paper layout using Adobe InDesign. They add graphics, design the cover, and the centre spread.
On Sunday morning, the editorial staff troop in, bleary-eyed, for production day to find the work that they left on Wednesday less containing of grammatical errors, and attractively placed into pages of the paper—the graphics team tend to be early birds, already puttering away at any further layout concerns before they print off all the pages for the editorial team. Throughout Sunday, the editorial staff continue to copy edit for further errors, the graphics staff place ads, fill in the Table of Contents, and so on. Sometimes article lengths change and the layout needs shifting, sometimes there’s a shortage of material, and sometimes there’s too much—all usually minor problems that are taken care of on Sunday.
At the end of the day the paper is sent to the printer, and arrives on a pallet at the Students’ Union building for delivery Wednesday when it is thus disseminated to the public. Each staff member has a paper route on campus, or about town. The next morning the staff meet to assess the issue—discuss both errors and what went well, as well as content for the next issue.
In addition to the editorial and graphics staff, we have a Business Manager and Bookkeeper who make sure everyone gets paid, an ad sales team, tech support, a web designer, and a board of directors.
During the spring semester of 2012, the Nav.’s facebook page received by far the most hits for issue 13 thanks to the cover’s bright red graphic on Kony 2012 and the Kony 2012 centre spread written by the Nav.’s Brady Tighe—evidence that popular, viral stories do drive readership; the Kony issue was the most read issue of the Nav. that school year. The sports highlight of the year also appeared in that issue—Robyn Cross’s coverage of the Mariners women winning the national gold medal for volleyball. Other highlight articles from that spring included news stories “Staying Smart, but Living Poor” from issue 11 and local news coverage by Sherry Wota.
The final issue of the spring featured a stunning pirate ship in blue painted by 2011–12 Art Director, Greg Dubeau. It was a suiting image in so many ways—nearly all of the Nav. staff graduated from VIU after that issue making it the swan song for several long-time Navvies. Additionally, an adjacent building on campus was flooded during that final production Sunday, causing the Nav. office to lose power for part of the day. That’s a bit of a problem when trying to produce a paper on a deadline. We trooped on working in makeshift space in the library to finish off a great year at the paper.
In Aug. a brand new staff gathered—nearly all fresh faces, which always leaves things a bit precarious. We never know how the dynamics are going to work out, but from the start this staff has been efficient, fun, and is producing what we hope has been engaging and informative content. Art director Jake Buhrig has been impressed by the cover art for the fall 2012 issues, citing the bee cover for issue 1’s “Beekeeping on Vancouver Island” article and the “Apocalypse, Soon” cover from issue 7 as two favourites.
The biggest story of fall 2012 came in Oct., with Emily Olsen’s article on Christy Clark’s ad campaign “Hipster is not a job.” The article sparked discussion on other news outlets and was picked up by The Ubyssey and discussed on the Huffington Post and Maclean’s websites among dozens of other news sites. Olsen says, “I still wish [Christy Clark] would have accepted my interview request, and it was funny when she wore hipster glasses to a conference in Nanaimo. It was fun to watch [the story] grow online as more kept picking it up. It was a good lesson in the new media.” The issue certainly was catchy on the newsstand, aided by the visual snap of Jake Buhrig’s cover design—Christy Clark in hipster garb on an orange background. The article has so far received 498 hits on our website, which is by far the most of any Nav. article that we have statistics for.
Concerns about the future of various programs at VIU were featured during the fall, including in my spread on a tour of VIU’s Fisheries and Aquaculture department in issue 3. In 2011, Arts Editor Tamu Miles started a column of student profiles in the Arts section, showcasing the talents and creative works of VIU’s artists. Mady Ritzer, Arts Editor for 2012–13 continued that popular feature. Sports Editor Megan Dyer has been keeping the student population interested— the sports section has been the most viewed overall on our website.
The year finished off on a controversial note with Managing Editor Gareth Boyce’s editorial “Shame on us all” on the conflict in Israel (note: due to a file error in the print edition the editorial was titled “Editorial #7.” As you’ll see below, we’re not perfect). On page 03 of this issue we’ve published one of the letters that came in response to that editorial. Of the backlash that he received, Boyce says “It’s a very delicate topic and no matter which side I decided to go on I would have angered people.”
Where have all the men gone?
The award for the 2012’s most baffling letter to the Nav. goes to a letter that appeared in issue 3. Andre in Duncan complained about the lack of diversity of contributors to the fall’s first issue of the Nav. First of all, at the Nav. we call for contributors all the time. If you, the audience, don’t submit, we do the writing— unless you want us to pull half our stories from other universities from a news wire. In addition, Andre says “A meagre 16 percent of published articles were contributed by men.” Centuries of male-dominated media and the disproportionately higher ratio of female students in VIU’s writing program aside, we at the Nav. have to wonder, if you have a problem with this gender ratio and diversity of contributors and editors, why aren’t you contributing?
No, we’re not perfect
Now the description of the well-oiled machine that is the Nav. crew, might have left you thinking that we are a perfect collective of writerly geniuses. This isn’t always the case—and sometimes shit just happens. You may have noticed the creative spelling “Vanoucver” on the cover of our first issue in Sept., or the equally wrenching spelling of “tradgedy” across the cover of an issue from fall 2011. These things happen when working on a deadline, even to the best of editors, but they’re tough to come to terms with when an issue first comes out. Even more frustrating was the mysterious printing error on Boyce’s apocalypse spread from the last issue before Christmas. The entirety of that article is reprinted in an extra section of this issue—making this the largest issue the Nav. has ever published, running at 28 pages instead of 24.
The future of the Navigator
Like other print news media, the Nav. is at a crossroads. We still distribute primarily in print form, but one of the Nav.’s goals has been to drive more traffic to our website, preparing for what will be the inevitable transition to publishing exclusively online. When will that happen? It likely won’t be for a few more years, but almost certainly within ten. Currently, <thenav.ca> has been viewed all over the world; we’ve had hits from such unlikely places as Yemen, Nigeria, and Senegal.
You can read all of the fall articles mentioned above at <thenav.ca> or find back issues on newsstands on campus. As always, you can write us letters, send us articles, and contribute to what we hope will be a great 2013. Happy New Year, dear Reader.