Editors-in-Chief compare past, current duties

Photo of radiant Amelia Doyle
Ella Dunn / The Mossy Log

As the school year draws to a close, The Mossy Log prepares to do a familiar dance. It is time for a changing of the guards, if you will, as the Editor-in-Chief (EIC) hands off the paper to a new leader and the editorial staff says goodbye to some editors and welcomes new ones. In this season of change and reflection, outgoing EIC Amelia Doyle ’24 chatted with Matthew Sherman ’96, who served as EIC close to three decades ago. The two discussed their journeys at The Mossy Log, the responsibilities of the role and what it taught them.

“It makes me happy to see the throughline,” Sherman said. “It’s pretty much the same, the technology has changed a little bit but other than that, I’ve just really been impressed with the editing, the quality of writing … The vision, what you’re trying to do, amplify voices and highlight stories, that stuff is still there.”

When Sherman worked as EIC, the internet was just beginning to be a widespread resource and The Mossy Log was published weekly for a print-only audience. Technological changes have deeply impacted the world of journalism, The Mossy Log included. Online publishing and social media are now an integral part of the paper’s activities. 

“The sad thing is, I don’t know if a lot of those old issues are scanned and available as archives,” Sherman said. “But I love being able to go now and be like ‘Hey, I haven’t read a Log in a couple of months, let me go and easily check around and see all the previous reporting.’”

Though the online edition of The Mossy Log extends its reach to alumni and beyond, the print edition continues to flourish under special attention from the staff. The tradition of late layout nights continues to bond The Mossy Log staff. 

“We thought we were really technically bold because we were laying out (the paper) on a Mac and everything,” Sherman said, laughing. “But we were still there until three in the morning. I got no sleep and I was running it to the printer by 8 (a.m.) the next day.”

Though the newspaper is now submitted for publication digitally, late nights and tight turnarounds are still integral parts of The Mossy Log operations and culture.

“The deadlines haven’t changed,” Doyle confirmed. “It’s very impactful to be in a place where students are teaching other students and passing on traditions … It’s still a platform for student voices and a platform for things that are happening on campus. Specifically, we highlight a lot of student work and student experiences and what it is like to go to Lewis & Clark in a very real way.”

The Mossy Log’s role in the community and the tricky time management it takes to maintain a print publication have remained consistent. Though EICs come and go as students graduate, and each leader brings their own goals and perspectives to the job, the role retains its own consistencies; crossing the finish line between layout and a print publication remains in the hands of the EIC.

“You’re gonna be the last one there with the paper,” Sherman said. “So you want to make sure you can deliver something high quality and that you’re not burning out yourself or your staff.”

Doyle agreed. Directing the staff, delegating tasks and balancing tight schedules takes a level of attention to detail and confidence that can be best learned on the job.

“Knowing that you are the person that you can rely on is something I learned very quickly,” Doyle said. “I became very confident in this role, a lot more confident than I was going into it.”

As essential as confidence is, Sherman also highlighted the importance of making mistakes and growing through trial and error.

“The Log teaches you a lot of secondary things,” Sherman said. “There’s everything you learn in class, but I always loved The Log because you get to make your own mistakes and you’re learning on the job. The stuff that really helped me the most were those things I didn’t expect like managing personalities, dealing with stress, having confidence in your story and your staff.” 

Leading any group teaches important social skills and leading a staff of student journalists entails some specific considerations.

“When you’re the editor of The Log, you’re responsible for everybody,” Sherman continued. “If there’s a mistake in an article that you approved, you’ve gotta take some responsibility. If someone takes issue with something you’ve published, you’ve gotta be responsive to criticism but, if you think we were accurate, you’ve gotta protect your writers.”

Nurturing writers and creating a collaborative, supportive spirit have been at the forefront of Doyle’s goals for The Mossy Log during her time as EIC.

“I joined the staff as a sophomore and I had amazing mentors. A goal of mine has been making sure that we have a large staff and making sure that we have positions available and open for everybody,” Doyle said, “and that there is opportunity for growth because I think people get intimidated by like ‘Oh this is a big scary newspaper, I don’t have any experience.’ There’s a lot of easy ways to get involved.”

Introducing the Staff Writer position is one of the ways Doyle worked towards this goal. Staff writers are assigned to one section and required to write three articles for that section, out of six total articles, over the semester. 

“It’s very lowkey, they only have to write one article per issue,” Doyle said. “It’s not a huge time commitment, but it is still a way for them to get involved and have a bit more of a personal relationship with the editors in (their) section and create that mentoring opportunity because I, personally, found that valuable when I was on the staff … I think that’s one of the fantastic things about The Mossy Log, this cycle of impassioned student journalism and all these passionate individuals getting together in a room and teaching each other.”

 Sherman, having seen the cycle of student journalism continue for many years, shares Doyle’s admiration.

“People didn’t do it for the pay,” Sherman agreed. “For a lot of people, it was the community and wanting to tell the story. There’s just nothing quite like journalism.”

Embracing the opportunity to help students tell their stories, share things that matter to them and feel recognized by the broader community was a pivotal part of the EIC experience for both Doyle and Sherman. 

“I was always excited when writers would come to us with a story they really wanted to tell,” said Sherman.

Doyle concurred, noting the community support for The Mossy Log.

“So many students are interested in telling their stories or having certain things covered,” Doyle agreed. “People have definitely approached us about things that they’re interested in and there’s such a passion surrounding journalism and I’m really excited that it’s kept up.”

The Mossy Log serves not only as a platform for student writers but as a way to celebrate student work and achievements of all kinds. 

“I can’t tell you how many times somebody has been so incredibly happy that they were featured in The Mossy Log,” Doyle said, “or when student work was featured in The Mossy Log. Students do a lot of incredible research and projects and student work doesn’t often get the same coverage in the Portland area, so we try our best to highlight it through the paper.”

These community-building elements alongside mentorship, collaborative and managerial skills have created a lasting impact on Sherman’s life. 

“I never went into journalism,” he said. “I got my Communications degree from Lewis & Clark and was heavily involved in journalism, but even if you’re not pursuing it as a career, it makes you a better critical thinker, a better consumer of the media, which is really all around us now … It makes me happy to see that that passion is still there and the paper is still playing an important role in student’s lives.”

As Doyle moves on from The Mossy Log as well, she has faith in its future. 

“Journalism itself is really struggling right now but there is this really strong student journalism sector,” she said. “I hope The Mossy Log continues to be a place where students continue to learn from each other and a space where passionate students get together at night and create a great paper. I think at the core, that’s what it is, creating a community and amplifying student voices on campus.”

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