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More than a newspaper

Published: Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07

Megan Ryan

The Battalion

Megan Ryan, 2010 managing editor

I never thought I'd be a desk job kind of person. I never once pictured myself at a desk in front of a computer and a keyboard every day. But here I am, typing away and having the time of my life.

When I applied to The Battalion about a year and a half ago, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I knew how to read and write, and that's about it. I applied because I love writing. Little did I know that within a year I'd learn to love detecting misplaced commas and lining up text on a page layout. It's even more surprising to me that I spend the majority of my time putting together a newspaper.

That's what I find special about working for The Battalion. We teach students how to put the paper together. I knew how to string a few sentences together when I got here, and now I'm the one who sends the pages to the pressroom in Huntsville at the end of the night.

That could be you. If you're willing to learn, we're willing to teach. If it weren't for the managing editors before me, and the editors-in-chief who believed in me, I might have quit the news business before I got to experience what it's like to have my name on the front page. To get the chance to talk to a soldier in Afghanistan. To get an e-mail after a story is published expressing gratitude for taking the time to talk to them and tell their story.

Robert D. Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, talked about some problems he sees as businesses try to recruit recent college graduates.

"What he needed to know was how to think, how to write, how to speak intelligently, how to find information and make sense out of it, how to argue coherently and how to do basic math," he said. These are things students can learn from working at The Battalion. For the most part, these are things I could not have learned in my courses, but it is part of my day-to-day life working in the newsroom.

This newsroom isn't just about putting out a paper, though. It's about learning how to talk to people — the people you're interviewing, your boss, the team you're leading. It's about learning to deal with conflict and criticism. It's about time management and diligence. It's about late nights and last minute changes. Most importantly, it's about accomplishing something. Being a part of something campus wide — writing something your peers and elders might actually read. It's about writing or taking a photograph or drawing a picture of something that is going to make the paper better.

We make mistakes. We misspell words on occasion. We don't see that there are two commas in the midst of a paragraph. We misunderstand something a professor a told us and misrepresent it in print. But we're learning, and with a newspaper, there is always tomorrow. I'd like to invite you to be a part of tomorrow's newspaper. Apply and be a part of making The Battalion.

To contact Megan Ryan, send her an e-mail at

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