Lessons in raspberry puff pastries and journalism

By Gopika Nair, Editor-in-Chief

Alongside an Everest of newspapers sits a magenta booklet on my parents’ coffee table back home. The booklet is a compilation of articles my dad wrote for his weekly column “Puff Pastry” when he was a 30-something, mustache-sporting journalist with a Walkman.

The booklet emerges only when my parents are in the middle of a spring cleaning extravaganza. Perhaps to abate my cleaning-induced griping, my mom would hand me the collection of articles when I was younger, often accompanied by the words, “Your father writes about you in many of his stories.”

Either I was too young to understand my dad’s words or too trapped in a solipsistic teenage bubble to appreciate it, because I don’t remember the stories having an impact on me until recently.

As my mom was heading to bed a little after midnight on New Year’s, she found the booklet in a box she’d unpacked. “You can get inspired,” she said this time.

Indeed, poring over my dad’s words as a listless 20-year-old at 3 a.m. sparked something that wasn’t just inspiration but also a renewed fervor for journalism.

The Transcript staff expends a considerable amount of energy and time on this publication, even though we, frankly, miss the mark sometimes (actually, according to Paul Kostyu’s critiques of our print editions, we miss the mark a lot).

So, it’s pretty easy to feel drained.

Ask any editor who was a part of The Transcript in 2016 and they’ll probably tell you this paper has been their greatest source of frustration. But maybe, they’ll also tell you it’s been a great source of joy.

We’ve designed pages until 5 a.m., written stories long after our brains had turned into mush, neglected schoolwork, fallen asleep in The Transcript office and we continued to do it all over again every other week.

I’m not going to pretend our commitment to the paper was born solely out of our passion for journalism; we’ve all thought about quitting at one point or another and sometimes, the only thing that kept us in The Transcript office until the wee hours of the morning was our obligations.

But ultimately, all those sleepless nights spent working in The Transcript office proved to be rewarding. The field of journalism isn’t a platform for self-indulgent writers (barring op-eds and columns), and that’s exactly why I respect it.

We, as editors, can (and do often) grumble about the hours we spend designing pages and writing stories only to yield mediocre results in the end. But journalism supersedes us and our petty complaints. We don’t matter; what we do is about everyone else.

The Transcript, in particular, has been memorializing the Ohio Wesleyan community since 1867 through news articles that pertains to the campus.

Over the years, we’ve covered theatre and dance productions, lectures sponsored by various departments, club events, notable achievements, the student government and faculty meetings to bridge any gap that might be created by lack of transparency. We continue to devote our energy to exactly that.

The Transcript will celebrate its 150th anniversary Oct. 1, 2017. Before then, my aim is to improve the overall quality of The Transcript. I’m prepared for the all-nighters ahead of me and the gray hairs I’m inevitably going to find by the end of my term as editor-in-chief. I’m prepared for the highs of working with and learning from the new editorial staff and the lows of egregious typos we won’t catch. I’m prepared for failures and successes and more failures. I’m prepared for everything that might come The Transcript’s way because as much as this paper has been the greatest source of frustration in my life, it’s also given me the most joy.


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