Ladies and gentlemen of the Spring 2006 Staff: Love The Signal.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, The Signal would be it. The long-term benefits of The Signal have been proven by 121 years of basement dwellers, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meanderings as News Assistant, News Editor, Managing Editor and Editor in Chief.
I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the funny headlines in The Signal, like “Here a penis, there a penis, everywhere a penis, penis,” “Aurora borealis was not a bore . ealis” and “DEGRAWESOME.” Oh nevermind. You will not appreciate the funny headlines in The Signal because they are utterly ridiculous and not really that funny.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay in the 13 issues before you, and how you didn’t require as much sleep as you thought you did . you’re not as miserable as you think you are now.
Don’t worry about the Trentonian misquoting you; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to make the Chief kiss Edgar.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you when you finally get to sleep at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning – like “corrpution” in a headline.
Do one thing every day that makes you want to write.
Eat at Crystal.
Don’t be reckless with the paper, but don’t put up with people who want you to be too careful.
Play Teen Girl Squad.
Don’t waste your time reading articles in your section Wednesday. Sometimes they come out all right, sometimes they don’t end and you realize the headline is bullshit, the byline is wrong and you might be getting sued for libel. Either way, it’s already in print so there’s nothing you can do about it.
Remember the compliments you receive, make fun of the insults in The Singal. If you succeed in doing this, the administration just might steal the paper.
Keep your clips, throw away your hate mail.
Go to Starbucks.
Don’t feel guilty if you have no misgivings about beating your interns. The most interesting editors I knew didn’t have any respect for their interns in the four years they were here. Some of the most interesting professionals I know still don’t.
Kiss the hammer of opposition. You’ll miss it when you don’t have it to throw at people anymore.
Maybe you’ll work for The New York Times, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll win a Pulitzer, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll still be playing the “Hello” game at 4 a.m. from your parent’s basement in five years.Whatever you do, don’t forget The Signal too much, but don’t stay there forever – that may just drive you nuts.
Enjoy the Bad Writers Wall. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it – it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever have, and the only way you’ll ever scare the interns into doing anything.
Eat ketchup packets. It’s the only thing anyone will remember about you. Sleep on the squishy couch – even if you’re afraid of its spinelessness, it helps to pass the night.
Do NOT watch Nancy Grace. It will only make you feel dumber and more disgusted with journalism.
Be nice to your assistants. They are the best link to your past and will write atrocious ads about how you suck in your old section if you’re not.
Understand that friends come and go, but insomniacs bond forever.
Work hard to stay in touch with Signal graduates because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew at Signal to get you jobs.
Live in South 27 once, but leave before Ashley Marty moves in and never leaves. Live in The Signal office once, but leave before it infests you with silverfish.
Overdose on Advil.
Accept certain inalienable truths: interns will be bad, Bob Cole will curse in class, SFB will cut your funding and you too will eventually have to graduate, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were an editor, interns were twice as bad, Cole cursed twice as much and SFB didn’t pay you at all – but that one is probably true.
Respect the Editor in Chief and the Managing Editor. No really . stop laughing. If you hold one of these positions, don’t expect to be respected. The Signal is not a democracy, it is a dictatorship.
Maybe you’ll get to go to Seattle. Maybe you’ll get to go to Dallas or Vegas. But always reserve that conference in New York, because you never know when $70,000 might disappear.
Don’t mess too much with your computer, or by the second issue, it will hate you as much as you hate it.
Be careful while drinking in class, especially if you plan on talking.
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it in circa 8th-grade graduation-speech-style is a way of letting you know the facts of the past four years of my life, painting over the ugly parts with teal and lime green paint and recycling them for more than they’re worth.
But trust me on The Signal.