|by Jim Amidon • April 18, 2003|
These young men have drive, talent, work ethic, and are committed to improving their written communications skills.
Over the last six or seven years, the quality of The Bachelor, Wabash’s weekly newspaper, has steadily improved, along with the number of student contributors. This year about 25 young men contribute to the paper, which has served as the student voice of Wabash since 1908.
The students who gather weekly for assignment meetings, then again six days later to crank out another 16-, 20-, or 24-page issue, do it because they love it. They don’t earn credit for their work, and minor stipends are paid only at the end of the semester and tend to be based on how much advertising revenue has been generated.
Board of Publications advisors Steve Charles and Jim Amidon work with students twice weekly to debrief and plan, to share ideas and search for stories across the campus landscape.
Over the last two years, The Bachelor has garnered more than 20 awards for journalistic excellence. Despite not having a formal journalism program at the College, The Bachelor has placed second among Division III newspapers two years in a row in competition in the Indiana Collegiate Press Association.
The Bachelor Editor Jacob Pactor says it best: "For our newspaper to place second against schools with journalism programs and paid faculty advisors, is great."
Pactor’s not happy to rest on his laurels, though. "We improve and learn on the job, and finishing second in back-to-back years only reminds us we still have room for improvement."
And these men are eager to improve. Each week students producing The Bachelor and the yearbook, The Wabash, meet informally and formally with each other and their advisors. The student journalists work constantly, week in and week out, to gain experience and improve as writers, photographers, and storytellers.
This year, Todd Vogel won for the yearbook five photography awards—an unprecedented achievement at Wabash.
Wabash encourages and nurtures good student writing through workshops and visiting lecturers. This year student journalists participated in workshops conducted by Howard Hewitt (Indianapolis Star), Brian Boyce (Peru Tribune), Allen Santy (Journal Review), Denis Ryan Kelly (award-winning freelance photographer), the NCAA (sports photography workshop), and Anthony DePalma (New York Times).
Additionally, students Tood Vogel, Adam Christensen, Jacob Pactor, and Mark Shreve are members of the Wabash Magazine Editorial Advisory Board.
True enough, few Wabash graduates enter the field of journalism or professional writing upon graduation. Those that do tend to make the most of their liberal arts educations. There’s Tim Padgett ’84, who is Miami and Latin American bureau chief for TIME magazine; Dean Reynolds ’70 of ABC News; Brandon Mitchener ’87, who is editor of the European edition of The Wall Street Journal; and Evan West ’99, who is associate editor of Indianapolis Monthly, just to name a few.
Will there be more Wabash grads entering the field in future years? It sure looks that way.
Ryan Smith ’03 has been accepted to study in the Columbia University School of Journalism next fall.
Fellow senior Kyle Nickel won a Silver Medal in a national competition among more than 100 professional writers for college magazines, a Circle of Excellence Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). His essay and photography, "Unlikely Haven," was published in Wabash Magazine.
In addition to the better-known publications, Wabash students also produce a first rate literary journal, The Wabash Review, a Pre-Law Society journal, a humor magazine, and four other publications representing various academic divisions and the Malcolm X Institute.
A hallmark of a good liberal arts college is the level to which students can express themselves, whether it’s a straight news story of a campus event or a personal narrative about a life-changing experience.
Long after they’ve graduated and forgotten much of what they learned as undergraduates, good writing will carry Wabash men a long way.
2003 Indiana Collegiate Press Association—Student Newspaper Awards
Indiana Collegiate Press Association—Student Yearbook Awards
Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) 2003 Circle of Excellence Awards for College Magazines
Other Significant Highlights