A week in the life of an A&C reporter

Nate Day

Editor’s note: As part of a media transparency initiative, on May 8, 2017, the Collegian spent the last day of publishing of the year telling our readers about us. You can read more about the people behind our publication in the Editor’s Blog.  

The Rocky Mountain Collegian is not a simple organization to run. According to our latest statistics, 6,500 papers are distributed each day throughout campus and Fort Collins, and 55 percent of students read our paper regularly. That’s a lot of content for us to produce.


Over at the arts and culture desk, we produce roughly one fourth of the paper’s material, the other parts being filled by news, opinion and sports. While arts and culture doesn’t often get to report on breaking news around campus, we still work hard to bring you, our readers, closer to your community and your neighbors.

The week for us begins on Thursday when all of the arts and culture writers gather in the newsroom to discuss our article ideas. It’s our job to pitch ideas for articles to our editors Randi Mattox and Zoe Jennings. These pitches should be about events on or near campus and people in the community.

In these weekly meetings, we discuss these ideas, approve our deadlines, and then Randi and Zoe have a slew of articles for us to pick up. Usually, this is the longest part of the meeting because we’re all desperately avoiding eye contact. Eventually, someone claims all of the articles, and we set off to write them.

Generally, we spend the weekend trying to get in contact with the subjects of our articles to set up interview times.

Next, comes the interviews or the events, so you might see us either furiously scribbling in a notebook with handwriting so sloppy we’ll have a hard time reading it when we’re done, or shoving our phones in people’s faces trying to gey high-quality quotes we can use for our next step.

At this point, things are getting pretty crazy because, in addition to being reporters, we’re also students, and many of us have jobs and friends and family that we’d like to keep up with, not to mention that looming deadline.

Once we’ve gathered our information, it’s writing time. We sit down, bang out the article, pair it with a picture and a catchy headline, and we send it off to Randi and Zoe, who comb through each and every sentence looking for spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as making sure we follow the Associate Press writing style. AP style, as we call it, can be kind of odd at times. For example, there’s no Oxford comma, and there are hundreds of strange little rules that the average Joe wouldn’t think about, so it takes a special person to catch the inevitable mistakes.

Once they’ve got their articles for the day, Zoe and Randi take them to meeting with the other editors and they all work together to get the next day’s paper filled in and organized. Then, you pick up your copy the next morning.

Nate Day can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @NateMDay.