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Scotlight

A weekly inside look at the unique faces and personalities that make up The College of Wooster community.

Tristan Lopus ’18 and Meg Itoh ’18, the Editors
in Chief of the Voice for the 2017-2018 school

What are you most proud of having done or accomplished in your time with the Voice?

M: I’d say what I’m most proud of this year in terms of being EiC of the Voice is that we’ve really improved the diversity of the content that we show. I think our content is a lot more representative of what students are doing on this campus.

T: Me too. But for the sake of having another opinion, I will say that I’m also proud of some of the changes we’ve made to the Voice’s workflow. Like using Slack as a messenger and using Trello to organize our stories. I think it’s improved the way the Voice can operate as a sort of machine with every person taking up the proper amount of responsibility — reducing the number of headaches and garbage can fires that we have to put out.

As far as I’m aware, this must have been the first time in the history of the Voice that neither EiC has been a cisgender white person. What does that mean to you? Has it influenced your work?

M: That’s a loaded question. What it means to me is that in some small facet, things are changing for the better.

It’s definitely impacted my work. Like, we were talking about diversity — it’s definitely changed the way in which I view things, right? Like, the perspectives that I value when we’re writing stories and even in the workspace when we’re communicating with other people on staff. It’s definitely made me more aware of who’s in what space and what ideas we hear in those spaces. Tristan and I both bring things to the table in terms of our perspectives and the way in which we frame content and community — in a way that we haven’t been able to do before.

T: It’s been an honor that I could be a queer person trusted with this responsibility of informing the community in an “objective” way. That’s one of the things that I long for and that I think queer people long for in general: to be able to be queer and proudly and enthusiastically queer in society without being seen as just that, as just queer. If that was true of the way that queer people are seen on this campus, then I wouldn’t have been trusted to represent the news in a proper, non-biased way. Just the fact that I can be openly and proudly queer without that being my only identifier on campus… was an honor.

What is the Voice’s biggest weakness to address in the coming years?

M: I think we’ve improved diversity. I don’t think we’ve improved it enough. Yeah, I’m an international student who’s EiC, but I don’t think that our staff has enough voices from different groups, right? I think there’s a lot of discussion related to things that we published that could be avoided if we had more outside perspectives on the staff. Our staff still fails to represent the student body on campus, and that’s a weakness. So that’s something I hope the next generation of leaders will continue to work on.

T: I second that. That needs to be the Voice’s biggest priority. Secondly, our website?

M: Yeah, it’s a shitty-ass website.

T: And I think that, in general, our treatment of digital content and social media is a weakness. I think that the Voice is not yet a publication for the 21st century.

Describe the difficulty that accompanies your role and the dedication it requires. What makes it worth it for you?

M: Beyond the obvious of time management, right — because it’s a stressful-ass job — and all the responsibilities that come with it, in terms of what makes it difficult has been navigating a role in which I’m forced to look at the big picture every single day. Not just the big picture in terms of whatever content we publish, but in terms of people. We have to look beyond just us; we have to look at how our paper represents the school and, more importantly, the people of the school. We need to be mindful and aware. Always being conscious has been a big challenge.

T: A lot of things make it worth it. One is getting to work with such an amazing staff. One thing about the Voice that I think is unique among student organizations is that, as the leader, you don’t have to do everything. You can be proud of and take ownership of work that you didn’t directly do because we have such an amazing staff that manages itself, that takes ownership of and responsibility of not only the work that they’re doing but that the whole organization is doing.

And the other thing is just all the people you get to interact with on campus — administrators, staff, faculty and really just all the students. I can walk around campus and name like, everyone.

What’s an aspect of the Voice that brings you joy?

T: The Voice staff just never fails to bring me joy. Layout is exhausting, mentally and emotionally, but I always walk away from it energized. The staff — we just have such a camaraderie and so much trust. And we’re always in communication with each other. It’s not like we see each other twice a week; we get to talk constantly. On Slack. [Laughs.] And around campus too, and it’s so rewarding.

M: The Voice office culture brings me so much joy, because people talk about so many things and talk openly about a lot of other ideas that are presented by other people, by themselves. It’s never an attack on individuals, but it’s a heated attack on ideas and on these concepts. The Voice staff comes together to discuss things in a way that they learn from and that leaves them closer together than they were before. I really appreciate that.

What is one thing that you admire about each other?

T: The amount of empathy that Meg has for other people and the way that allows her to be aware of, like, every possible perspective that a situation can be viewed from. Meg’s always the first to point out, what voice isn’t being heard here? Who are we not reaching? That is something that I think is so rare and really valuable.

M: I mean, beyond Tristan’s impeccable knowledge of like, technology, and journalism, and all that they manage to know — and their passion for air traffic control — is that they are always so incredibly… I’m struggling to find the word for it, right, because they don’t have an arrogance that comes with the position that they’re in. I think out of everyone in the staff, Tristan is genuinely the most caring about everyone and considerate and just cares about people. And that really facilitates a lot of the working relationships that we have, because people know that Tristan cares about them.

There are ways to care about someone arrogantly: like, “I’m in a position where I should be caring about you and the work that you do.” But Tristan cares about people. And I think that’s a quality that I admire and really respect.

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