A certain wall-crawling superhero once said something about power and responsibility. It could be argued whether the power I had as editor-in-chief of the “Erie Square Gazette” was great, but I could feel the responsibility every day I showed up at the office.
On my first day as EIC, I sat down in my desk, and said aloud, “okay, smart guy. You got yourself this job. Now what?”
I knew that I had less than two weeks to put an issue of the newspaper together. I also knew there was more at stake than myself. The actions I would take would reflect on not only the other members of the “Gazette,” but the history of the paper.
I did what anybody would do: I went for a walk. Partly, I was trying to get article ideas for the first issue. But mostly I was giving myself time to think. “Now what?” The paper was around for almost 80 years before I came along. I felt responsible for making sure it survived one more.
Over the next year I would grow to meet a cast of characters unlike any other I had ever met. I was blessed to have an enthusiastic and skilled group of fellow editors, all who were amazing at their jobs. From different ages and backgrounds, we were somewhere between “The Breakfast Club” and “The Magnificent Seven.”
Whenever we’d try to rest on our laurels, we’d have a new crisis-du-jour. This person didn’t get an article in on time. We forgot to run an ad for that company. An article went to print with incorrect information.
When the stress of putting the paper together started getting to me, we did what anyone would do: we played board games.
But the paper wasn’t only about the editors, and I hope it never will be. The paper is about everyone who has ever written, photographed or otherwise contributed to it. Each staff writer is a potential editor. Each visitor is a potential writer.
But most importantly, the “Erie Square Gazette” is about you, the reader. Without your eyes on the paper, there’s no reason for us to keep doing what we do. Admittedly, some of us are probably crazy enough that we’d continue regardless, but the point stands.
The “Gazette” was – and still is – many things to me. It was a classroom, a workplace, a social club, a dining room, and a second home. Sometimes the paper was the high point of my day. Occasionally, it was the bane of my existence. On certain days, it could be both in the span of an hour.