Lisa-Nicole Mitchell: Let the chaos commence

THE second part of third year consists of a term-long project in a module called ‘Magazine Production’.

This basically entails having to fund, print, fill, advertise and distribute a magazine, as well as create a fully-functioning online version. The whole class is involved in making this.

Which is where we might have a problem. The year group is divided into two classes. And between the two, while not every one is involved, there is a distinct rivalry.

To add to the sense of apprehension, the word from counterparts who have done the module already is that their class wasn’t the same afterwards. It can be that pressurised. People have fallen out and no longer speak to each other.

We had an induction for the module this week. Despite it being at relatively short notice, I made the journey through from Glasgow to be there. If I have learned anything about attending uni, it is that inductions are of the utmost importance.

The aim of the induction was to assign editorial roles among the year.

With over a dozen positions needing to be filled, I wanted to make sure I was there so I could get a position that would interest me and ultimately do well in. I wasn’t about to be landed with a design role or a sports one. I would crash and burn in terrific style if that was the case.

It was lovely to see everyone again, even if it began to get a little tedious asking each other how our Christmas and New Year had been. However, there was a sting of tension in the air. No-one really knew what to expect.

The class divide was reflected in the room. One half on one side, the other half on the other.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Our lecturers soon arrived, brimming with past knowledge, advice and warnings of the ominous months to come.

We were told in length about how important each role was, from editor right through to fact checker.

“Communication is key,” they said. “You all need to work together for the this to be a success. At the end of the day, you are individually, group and peer assessed.”

The awkwardness was palpable. A searing smog infiltrating the stuffy classroom.

Then, they finally got down to business: the distribution of the roles. I was ready for a metaphorical fight; ready to verbally slap someone down with the pitch I had in case anybody else wanted the same position as me. The competitive side of me started to seep out.

The editorship was the first to be assigned. I have next to no organisational skills and am not exactly a born leader; I get told what to do, and I do it to the best of my ability, and I am happy with that – at least for the moment. So that was ‘out the window’ for me.

After an acute elbow nudge from yours truly, my friend, Lauren Elliott, sheepishly stuck her arm in the air. We all looked around. Her wavering limb was the only one. I knew she would be great at it. There was definitely no doubt in my mind, or anyone else’s, that she would take this magazine to the highest standard possible and beyond.

Then there was online editor, production editor, deputy editor, sub-editor, along with many more.

Then the lecturer asked if there were was anything she may have forgotten or anything we might like to include.

I confidently raised my hand.

“I was thinking that, because of the target audience, we might like to include columnists and opinionated features and first-hand experience entries, I would like to put myself forward to be in charge of op-ed for both the physical publication and the online magazine.”

Everyone seemed to nod their heads in agreement. The lecturer also thought the idea was sound. That was it and now I am the editor of all the opinion pieces and columnists. I know I can be good at this.

And it will look cracking on the old CV.

So, let the chaos commence!

Lisa-Nicole Mitchell is a third-year BA in Journalism student at Edinburgh Napier University.