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Where the Magic Happens: Behind the Scenes of the Cavalcade

Fingers race across the keyboard, frantically scouring for inspiration as the clock winds down to the inevitable deadline. A herd of students anxiously gather around the printer and with a mad dash, submit the work with seconds to spare.

Have you ever wondered how the Cavalcade is made? How do a clump of ideas become a new edition? Read to learn about the journey to publishing the newspaper and each staff member’s unique role in the process. 

It all starts with brainstorming. At the start of each month, every student searches for ideas and comes up with five for each section: news, editorials, Cav Culture, feature and sports. In class, staffers share their best ideas. From the journey of an egg to the history of a rock, brainstorming is filled with interesting story pitches.

After all the story ideas have been compiled, the staff votes on the feature stories for the month. The rest of the sections stories are selected by the section editors.

Next up: Story Signups. To make this step as fair as possible, the adviser uses a SIS-generated random list to call on students to pick their story for the month. Then, the guessing game begins: who’s going to write a movie review? Will Becca (Rebecca Heimbrock) choose a social justice piece?

Then, each journalist writes the first draft of their story. The rough draft is read by the section editors and the adviser, who make suggestions on the stories. Let’s use this story for instance. What you’re reading right now started off looking way different. For example, instead of a graphic, there was supposed to be a poll (that turned out being rather unsuccessful). After the writer has updated their story and resubmits it as a final draft. It is read for the last time by the adviser. Finally, the piece is perfected and ready for publishing.

Once the stories are complete, the section editors begin their work. They create the spreads for the publication during what we call “Crunch Week”. Like the writers, editors also produce rough and final drafts which are checked by the adviser. Finally, the Editors in Chief will examine the full edition for a final time then publish the paper.

Cartoon by Ariana Tackett.

Cavalcade Spotlights

  • Staff Writers are responsible for producing a story every month
  • Cartoonists and Photographers create most of the photos, graphics, cartoons and games in the Cavalcade
  • Section Editors choose what stories appear in the paper and make layouts for their sections
  • Editors in Chief create schedules, publish the newspaper and work with the adviser to oversee the publication
  • The adviser and the Copy Editor reads and reviews every story and layout before it is published
  • The adviser trains the rising staff (J1)

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Where the Magic Happens: Behind the Scenes of the Cavalcade