artefact team in newsroom

The Artefact team at work in the newsroom. Image © SUARTS

Third-year BA (Hons) Journalism student Paula Wik reflects on her experience as Managing Editor on Artefact magazine.

Behind the scenes, blood, sweat and tears are shed as we try to pull it all together. We are in the newsroom Monday to Wednesday 10am-5pm and the process is similar to that of a ‘real’ publication.

That’s because we are a real publication. Over the two terms we have worked on Artefact, over 600 articles have been published, many over 1,000 words.

We have secured interviews with big shots such as news anchor Jon Snow, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and celebrated photographer and UAL alumnus Rankin, as well as many less famous individuals who we find inspiring and/or interesting.

We’ve done original research and created some pretty darn exciting pieces – our piece on whaling in the Faroe Islands has drawn over 3,600 unique viewers alone!

faroe islands piece

Artefact recently investigated whaling in the Faroe Islands.

Each article is painstakingly processed through the workflow from its beginnings as a ‘pitch’ (a suggestion of a story to be written – either from writers or editors), to ‘in progress’ (when writers write the story), to ‘draft submitted’ (when editors edit the piece), to ‘pending subbing’ (when sub-editors correct flow, spelling and grammar), to ‘editor’s check’ (when senior editors give the piece a once over).

Finally, the article reaches the tutors who approve the piece before publishing.

Along the way it can be sent back and forth between the writer and the editors many times for polishing and improvements – maybe another quote is needed for balance, maybe there’s a legal issue, maybe the whole piece doesn’t make sense.

Our turnaround for our print publication is very time-limited. We’re only in the newsroom three days a week and one printed edition has to be created in four weeks – from pitch to being sent off to the printer.

liberty cover

The magazine explored the idea of freedom in the Liberty issue.

Everything has to be considered – content (of course), layout, design. Will this appeal to our readers? Will our front cover make our readers want to pick it up? The balance of the articles: harder stories mixed with softer; images versus illustrations.

Does the content mirror our issue theme – this year we’ve looked at Metamorphosis, Greed, Liberty and Therapy. Does the content relate to the theme in too much of an obvious, literal or ‘samey’ way?

We work with a designer who guides us with the layout of the printed editions. We often clash, but always try to reach a compromise.

green issue cover

The Natural Capital issue was released to coincide with LCC Green Week 2015.

As the managing editor for the last two issues I have been massively privileged. Being in the middle of it all means that I have been able, and required, to learn at least a little of what all the different roles demand.

There have been many flaws in our system; some roles are only needed for a few hours per day, while my job has turned into a full-time, seven days a week position.

A big difference between Artefact and a publication out in the real world is that we are students and have not been employed – instead, we’re paying to produce the content.

We all bring varying levels of dedication, talent and experience, which has been the biggest challenge of the module. For those students who have taken ownership of Artefact, it’s enriched our experience of BA (Hons) Journalism.

liberty piece

Spread from the Liberty issue of Artefact.

I know there will be changes made for the future Artefact team, by which time we will hopefully be employed after having wowed the industry folks out there with our incredibly impressive publication.

Our baby, created from nothing, has grown up to be the talk of the town. Maybe not quite, but we’ve had amazing feedback.

I am grateful for this module and being able to leave three years of university with four brilliant editions of Artefact in my hand – knowing that the hard work we have poured into it has, to at least an extent, made up for the masses of money we have poured into our education. And did I learn…

Visit the Artefact website

Read more about BA (Hons) Journalism

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