Would you like to introduce yourselves?
C: Hi, I am Chloe Burdette, a senior here — almost not a senior here! I’m a communication studies major and global media and digital studies minor.
M: Hi! I’m Maggie Dougherty. I’m a senior here, and also almost not a senior here. I major in global international studies with a concentration in economics and I have a minor in Middle Eastern and North African studies.
How long have you been working for the Voice?
C: We have a little bit of a different story. I was a Contributing Writer since the second week of my freshman year. The Sports Editor at the time, Ben Blotner ’20, would ask me every week if I could write, and I just kept doing it. There’s a possibility I might’ve written more than he did that year, honestly. But I didn’t really know how the Voice worked, so I just kept contributing and contributing. Eventually, interviews were scheduled because they needed a new staff for the next year. I then was Sports Editor my sophomore year, Managing Editor my junior year and Editor in Chief my senior year.
M: I had a slightly different trajectory than Chloe. I joined in my sophomore year. I had never written for the Voice or written for a high school paper or anything, but I decided to apply to be the News Editor and I got it, so I was the editor for that first semester, then I went abroad. Then I came back and I was Viewpoints Editor, and I was going to be Viewpoints Editor again this year, but our fall semester Editor in Chief ended up being a remote student for the spring semester, so I stepped up as Editor in Chief.
What have been some of your favorite memories from your time at the Voice? I know it’s hard to pick a few, it’s all been awesome.
M: I think Voice formal was really fun. The thing is that a lot of people in the Voice just happen to be in some other organizations. The Effective Altruism formal is one of my favorite Voice memories because so many Voice people showed up there. So, my favorites are the opportunities we get to hang out with Voice people outside the Voice, and the times we’re silly in the office and everyone is chaotic and yelling, or when we’re working on serious stories and it feels really important. Those are definitely the best times.
C: Yeah, I think for me it’s the fact that the Voice is not strictly a serious atmosphere. The best part is that coming to the Voice office, although stressful, relaxes me from my day. I can give myself the chance to talk to some people I really enjoy being around. That’s the best part.
M: It’s controlled chaos. It’s chaos, but it’s fun. It’s chaos, but it’s not the pressure of your day-to-day life.
Conversely, what would you say is the hardest part of being in the Voice?
C: Honestly, it’s very difficult when people don’t honor their commitments to write. You have to put your pride aside when you’re in the Voice because you do have to annoy people. If they say they’re going to write and they don’t turn in the article, you have to send them multiple emails. It might look annoying to them, but you have to stay really insistent on getting writers to be responsible.
M: It’s annoying to us when they don’t finish their work, too.
C: I would also say that another major difficulty is that we’re student-run. Yes, we have an advisor, but the system works so they don’t have to be very hands-on. We have to train each group of staff class by class. People do it differently from year to year, so it can be chaotic. I think that if you don’t have the right leadership — sometimes that can be a little bit difficult.
M: Aside from being a huge time commitment, I would say that we’re responsible for an important part of campus, and people have really strong feelings about it. Sometimes we mess up, or don’t do something in the way that people would want. It’s frustrating when people are really critical about things they don’t necessarily understand, like when somebody complains about where something is on the page, it’s often because that’s the only place that it would fit and we were trying to give that person more words. But overall, I guess it’s the burden we shoulder.
C: Another thing is that we’re not paid! It cracks me up that my actual bosses from my actual paid job are like, “You probably work way over the hours you’re allowed to,” and I’m like, “Well, I’m not paid to work at the Voice,” and they’re like, “What?!” And I’m like, “No!” This is all because we enjoy it. So, yeah, that can also wear you down a little bit.
M: Stop critiquing our free labor. (laughing) We’re doing our best.
What is something that you’ve been the proudest of during your time here, like an article you’ve written or a direction you’ve pushed the paper in?
M: I would say two things. The first is just that, even in this really hard time, I think we’ve actually managed to preserve a good community at the Voice and maintain the atmosphere despite us moving, despite COVID-19 and all of these major changes. Honestly, I’m really excited about the staff that we have going into next year and how many people were excited about applying to the Voice. Then for me, personally, I think that it’s the Lowry article. It’s made a pretty big impact. It’s the longest single article I’ve worked on during my time at the Voice. It meant so much for the alumni who I was working with to see that finally come out after all that process. So that’s definitely the big one for me.
C: Yeah, I definitely think I can agree with the fact that it’s been really difficult trying to do the Voice justice in a pandemic with all the restrictions that we have. So, I think I’m proud of what we’ve produced in this crazy, chaotic time. I have two favorite articles I’ve written. One was when Coach Pettorini of the baseball team was retiring. Saeed Husain ’21 and I did a two-page, in-depth article on his career here, and it was really cool to get his input on it. Secondly, I did an article my sophomore year that focused on the merger of the women’s golf team and the men’s golf team under one coach. I think that was really difficult for not only the coaches, but the players. So that meant a lot to me to write — I felt like I had made a difference. It’s amazing how much the Voice has a reach and can make a difference not only on this campus, but beyond this campus as well.
M: On a lighter note, I unbiasedly feel that this year’s Vice was the funniest we’ve ever had during my time at Wooster. I was so excited because I missed it my first year when I was abroad and then my second year because of COVID-19. The Vice is always a highlight, but it was especially good this year.
What advice would you have for this upcoming year’s staff or people who are not on the staff but want to work with us?
C: Obviously, we’ve selected next year’s senior editors because we have a lot of faith in them.We are immensely proud of what they’ve done at the Voice thus far. But I think some good advice is to try not to get super frustrated. It’s very, very, very difficult when people don’t understand how much work you guys put into the Voice. I think that’s something that can be really stressful for a lot of people. Try not to get frustrated. Understand that people don’t know how much work you guys put into it day to day. Keep in mind that people don’t know the full story. Wink-wink, that was kind of funny. Stay focused on the end goal.
M: I second everything Chloe said. But also, I think the other thing is to do stories that you’re interested in. I think other people will be more engaged when you do that. If there’s something you want to write about but it’s not necessarily like news or features you can usually find, you can approach it from an angle like “this is how students feel about this thing going on,” so that you can cover something that we wouldn’t otherwise be writing about. So, if you’re passionate about something, don’t let the fact that there’s not a “story” keep you from doing that. Pursue something that’s interesting, because that’s what people will read.
C: For anyone wanting to write for The Voice: Just reach out. The number of times that we’ve needed writers for something and the number of people that have approached me and said, “I wish I came to you at some point in my career at Wooster,” or just said, “Oh, well, I kind of wanted to write about this, but I didn’t know if it would be stupid or not, so I didn’t ask.” Nine times out of ten, it’s not stupid, and we will accept. Give it a shot. When I gave it a shot my freshman year, it’s obviously taken me to this place that I’m at right now.
What is something you’re excited about after graduation?
M: A break. It’s just that we’ve been in this Wooster bubble for so long that it’ll be nice to rediscover what real life is like and have time alone, and not have all of these same commitments that we’ve been doing for a long time. My time here at Wooster is very scheduled and very habitual. Like, I have a strong routine, and I love that, but it’ll also be nice to break that and explore new things. And go into the real world and be an adult and do adult things. Like maybe having a job one day. Who knows.
C: I’m excited to — well, I’m anxious-excited — to get back into the swing of things and go into the job search. It’s the same thing as Maggie — breaking those habits that you’ve done every single day for the last four years that can kind of get a little bit mundane, especially in Nowhere, Ohio. I’m excited to go and explore places that I’ve never been since I’ve been in Ohio my whole life.
M: To add to that, I was traveling right before the pandemic. I was supposed to travel a lot in 2020, and that didn’t happen. So I hope that the world reopens and I can go to places other than Ohio and Virginia. That’d be great.
Finally, do you have anything to say to encourage people to join the Voice?
C: Do it. Just do it. Sponsored by Nike.