Friar Trier: Two English teachers and a Design guru try their hands at lighting the Friar’s Lantern

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Kathryn Wolstenholme

Deep in the recesses of Duffy, two English teachers, and our Marketing and Communications Project Manager dive into moderating a student newspaper madhouse as a new school year dawns.

When we agreed to advise the Friar’s Lantern, we were told it was a lot of work.  We were told it was a huge commitment. We were told we would have to be a little crazy.  Why not we thought? It’s not as if we don’t each already teach a course overload or have tight project deadlines, why not add an all-consuming, soul-crushing amount of work?  

The answer is obvious, we did it for the money.  Up to this point, we’d calculate the stipend to roughly run about $1.50 an hour (and it’s only October…).

Jumping into advising the Friar’s Lantern has been a bit like taking a blindfolded leap into the deep end of a public pool not knowing exactly what awaits below. Is there water down there?  Or horror, is it mostly pee and sweat? Or “Oh joy, is it a cool, refreshing, buoyant splash that will lift one’s soul and offer a renewed sense of faith in the world?”

We’re leaning a bit into both. There is plenty of sweat (mostly pouring off Alex Haylock’s fevered brow as he hustles around the newspaper office), there is also plenty of refreshing buoyancy watching bright young men take pride in their work, collaborate, and create something where there was nothing.  

The staff meets twice a week to pitch ideas, write stories, and organize interviews. As new moderators of The Friar’s Lantern, we didn’t quite understand the meaning of “organized chaos” until that fateful first day of school. It felt as if we had been transported out of the Duffy computer lab and onto the trading floors of the NY Stock Exchange. We officially entered into the unknown odyssey of the Friar’s Lantern.

Old buddies chatted and laughed. Editors yelled out pitches as someone updated the spreadsheet projected on the whiteboard at the front of the room. New reporters were assigned stories as old reporters agreed to mentor them. The conversations flip-flopped between introductions and pitches, to class schedules and summer break.  And the moderators, well the moderators, sat back and watched. Impressive indeed, it seemed as if they were the experts.

After our first production weekend together, new moderators, with a fresh set of Editors-in-Chief, were able to get a better handle on what to expect and the students also gained a better perspective on the responsibility and leadership required.

At the expense of mixing our metaphors here- we jumped on this crazy train that had long ago left the station. We hopped on and are holding on with a mix of terror and enthusiasm (see previous metaphor- pee and refreshment).

The team is an embarrassment of riches and we are truly blessed to work with some of the most talented and motivated students on campus.  We are dedicated to bringing important news to our readers, honing students’ writing and reporting skills, relying on student leadership, and genuinely enjoying witnessing a product come to life.