Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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We Keep Newsroom Culture Alive… and Crazy

The+Parthenon+Faculty+Adviser+Charles+Bowen
Courtesy of Pamela Bowen
The Parthenon Faculty Adviser Charles Bowen

Until recently, I always said the best days of my career were 50 years ago.

It was the mid-1970s, and I was the 25-year-old city editor of Huntington’s wonderful little afternoon newspaper called “The Advertiser,” where I spent days and nights with a feisty, talented bunch of reporters and editors.

I loved those people. We shared triumphs and tragedies, partied together and, yes, argued with each other. But even the fussing was fun.

A decade later, when I left to go out on my own, I was eager to start my new life as a freelancer, but I missed the newsroom’s crazy camaraderie. I thought I’d never see it again, and I didn’t.

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Until recently. At Marshall.

After being faculty adviser of The Parthenon for the past few years, I’m happy to inform the 1970s version of myself that newsroom culture is alive and in good young hands.

As I write this, I’m watching another issue of this paper coming together. 

Editors bustle from computer to computer, looking over shoulders at stories in various states of readiness.

Deadline looms, so the communication is clipped, but the talk is important. Is this the right word? Is this the right story in the right spot for this page? 

Is this, in other words, the right use of these last precious minutes?

“Print Night” is when the weekly hard-copy edition of The Parthenon is put to bed, editors and reporters scrambling right up until the last minute.

Would you like a taste of what that is like? Imagine having an hour’s worth of work but only 20 minutes to do it, and all the while around you are people talking, laughing, cursing, growling and groaning.

“Best day of the week, Charlie!” former managing editor Conner Woodruff used to say every single Tuesday morning as he hurried past my office on his way to the newsroom to start that wild, long day.

Woodruff, like everyone else who thrives in this room, loved the feeling of beating the deadline demons again, getting in one more fact, one more bit of editing.

But it’s more than just competing against time. It’s even more than the confidence being built in the process.

“I can’t wait to see how we do this,” I used to say in my old newsroom days as we roared towards deadline with too much to do in too little time. And nowadays, I hear my young charges say versions of that same quip.

And then they do it.

When it is over, they might not put into words what they feel, but their grins tell it all: the satisfaction of being a reliable member of the team. Joy comes from learning to be so dependable.

And that little bit of magic happens every week.

Even though I’m retiring now from my young Parthenon family, I’ll still be around to read what they publish. And I know every time I see the latest issue hit those green boxes around campus, I’ll think the same thing.

Best day of the week.

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