Finishing The Omen

30 04 2008

I just finished laying out my very last Omen as Editor-in-Chief. The Omen is Hampshire College’s open submission publication. We’ll take anything, as long as it’s not anonymous or libelous. We excel in not editing and severely offending people, often by accident and sometimes by design. The publication just turned fifteen this year, a very proud moment. It is Hampshire’s longest lived major publication. The school newspaper has recreated itself every four to eight years, and they’ve always sucked. We at least have the fortune of being as good (or as terrible) as our submissions.

Our motto is, “We hate so you don’t have to.”
Our haiku is:
“Views in the Omen
Do not necessarily
Reflect the staff’s views”

It’s a really good issue. Another forty pages! Eighteen unique contributors (including staff and myself)! I would call that a success. Even if it’s not really journalism, as some argue, curating so much from a campus that’s this apathetic? Call it a win, considering that when I joined the Omen, we had a staff of three to four, and about that many contributors as well.

But damn if that publication isn’t determined to sap every last drop of my energy. I was planning to go to bed five hours ago… today was already terrible because of sleep deprivation (and rain, and residual hayfever).

Special special thanks to Lindsay who put up with me being incredibly cranky. We bonded over the printer which jammed in a terrifically catastrophic way.

Was it former editor Jeff Paternestro who said that an Omen editor wasn’t really an Omen editor until he had caused himself physical damage trying to get it done? That, and if you don’t have a period of time in which you’re afraid to stand in line at the school store for fear of being punched in the face, you’re not doing your job. Actually, I think Abby, from whom I inherited the position, said that to me first.

I dunno. Two all-nighters for this damn paper, and I still think it’s one of the most important things I’ve done during my time here. Through it, I’ve engaged with issues of free speech over and over, learning its importance. Even if I’ll regret it in the morning, I call that a success. Thank you, The Omen, for making my time at Hampshire more exciting, dangerous, and fulfilling. Because of you, I have learned to love publishing.

All told, I was Editor in Chief for essentially five semesters, producing about thirty issues. Average it all to maybe 28 pages an issue, that’s around 840 pages printed and distributed. That’s 840 pages of making people think. Add that to two semesters I spent working on it, and that’s another 12 issues, pushing my page count over 1000. I gave up every other Saturday and certainly other large portions of those weekends for the publication. Giving it a minimum of ten hours for each issue quickly adds up, probably pushing 450 hours in total. Wow. If only the people who hated me knew how much energy I put into making them hate me!

Always remember, the Omen loves you. A toast to the next fifteen years of an important and awesome publication!




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