November 16, 2013, by Eve
Associate Editors: The Hottest Show on TV
Last Wednesday, Impact held elections for associate editor positions for various sections – including Arts. So, at four o’clock I toddled along to the office feeling excited, expectant and a little nervous.
The elections weren’t so much elections but rather intense interviews; the candidates came in one by one and did a little speech then were asked a couple of questions by the editors (all of whom sat in an imposing semi-circle facing the candidates). Each candidate was extremely nervous and I kept racking my brains for something I could do which would make them less uncomfortable: maybe I could suddenly fall off my chair or throw my bottle of water all over myself or even burst out into some kind of ‘welcome to the office’ song – pretty much anything which would make me look like a total idiot and take the focus off them.
The nervousness, the questions, the emotive spiels all had the feel of a TV talent competition. I half expected a quick montage sequence to proceed each candidate before they entered the room: ’19 year old Emma has travelled all the way from Lenton Boulevard today in order to prove to the editors that she has what it takes to be the next associate editor. “I’ve always enjoyed editing. At home I’ll edit my sister’s homework… school essays, shopping lists, Glamour magazine … whatever I can get my hands on really.” Will Emma’s dreams come true? Or will her hopes be burnt to cinders by the editors’ fiery questioning?!’
We had three candidates running for the arts associate position. After the debates over news, features and videos I was please when it was our time to shine – time to show off our candidates to the group. I hope I didn’t put our candidates off too much. I sat there grinning away, nodding and grinning and nodding – I was trying to be encouraging but I might have ended up looking like a controlling mum at a fantastical, faked-tanned under 13’s talent contest.
The arts is a serious section which means it was necessary to ask our candidates questions like ‘how would you prompt the section to non-arty students?’ and ‘who would you ideal fictional crush be?’
The scariest thing about the whole process was the fact that the section editors had to go and tell their candidates who had been voted in. On the one hand, this sounded like a pretty cool idea – finally I got the chance to the a host on my very own (imaginary) talent show.
But which host-personality to channel? Did I want to be a Bake-Off host? ‘Today, it’s my sad job to tell you who has baked their last bun and will be leaving the bake off tent forever’. Or maybe do a Strictly judge style? ‘You were all fabulous, darlings! You put the It into Edit! Your speech was like a beautiful, rousing beast – soft and fury on the outside but feisty and furious on the inside!’ (General flowering nonsense with a dash of camp.) Or do a Graham Norton (I’m thinking of Graham when he was the host of those musical talent contests a while ago) ‘I am sorry to say that – for one of you- your dreams will be shattered. Your lives will end. And your world will crumble.’
But, as it happened, when we got outside and were faced with three nervous faces I wanted to blurt out the winner as quickly as possible – to put them out of their misery. I tried not to look at anyone for too long, especially the person who’d won. TV editing always gives away who’s won (or who hasn’t won) because they will always film the face of someone who hasn’t won as the hosts are announcing it – so they can switch over to the winners face for dramatic effect!
‘Ok. So – Emma is associate editor!’ I rushed out and gave a couple of pointless ‘you all did really well’s and ‘don’t worry’s. But I know no amount of ‘don’t be too upset’ will ever stop someone being upset.
Despite the day’s bizarre associations with tacky TV, the elections really reminded me what a privilege it is to be involved in Impact. Becoming an associate might not be a life-changing moment but it does open to doors to the long, late-night, copy-deadlined, wine-drinking path that journalism promises to be.
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