Well, the insanity of training to run (we call it “compet”) for Photography Editor has given way to a new kind of insanity.
This past Saturday, March 1, I was elected Photography Editor for the 126th Editorial Board of The Cornell Daily Sun. It was such a crazy experience as I lost a ton of sleep preparing for the elections and then a ton more because I was so nervous! Not to mention, the former photo editor went into the hospital to have surgery the day of elections, leaving me kind of spun in a circle with a blindfold on and the left to sort my way out.
</a>No more than 4 hours after I was elected, I needed to lead our team of photographers into battle. Yes, battle. You see, March 1st was also one of the biggest days in the history of Cornell athletics. Not only did we have our biggest hockey game of the season, the beloved Cornell vs. Harvard game, but at the same exact time, our Men’s Basketball team was competing against Harvard for the Ivy Title and a bid for some sort of NCAA tournament (I’m still working on understanding all of these sports!). It was HUGE. Really, really huge.
So I took to locating all of our press passes which were scattered among photographers, roommates, boyfriends, and some in the hospital with the former photo editor. We needed to get everything – people, cameras, passes, and sanity to the games in under 3 hours. We definitely got our money’s worth out of our cell phones that night. Luck was on our side and we managed to get everything in order and take some absolutely spectacular photos in the process. I’m still in awe at some of the moments the photogs were able to capture. Sports Illustrated would be in awe. On the sports end of things, hockey lost and basketball won (thus getting the Ivy title) and then the real fun began.
At this point I’d been up for over 16 hours and had only eaten a miniature slice of pizza, a granola bar, and 3 spoonfuls of ice cream that Margot bought me as a congratulatory treat (Breyer’s Caramel Pretzel will change your life), and had one of the most emotionally draining days I’ve ever had. But, the night wasn’t over. As a post-elections celebration, we had a bar tab at The Nines. I had to at least make a quick appearance. Matt and I gathered up all of our technology, dropped it off in my apartment, ran to the bar for about an hour, grabbed food on the way back in, and started editing. It’s now 11PM. Combined, I think we’d taken well over 1500 photos that needed to be processed. We had big plans for them and needed to get the majority of the work out of the way before Sunday. Needless to say it took HOURS. At about 2:30AM, we’d reached the end of our sorting and Matt headed home to catch a few Z’s. I had a few more things to take care of, and ended up crashing in bed around 3AM.
Enter Sunday. After sleeping in until about 11, cleaning my room, and taking care of various administrative things, 4:30 rolled around rather quickly and I was in my car on my way back down to the Sun office. The energy in the office was insane. Everyone was cleaning out their workspaces of the clutter left by their predecessors and frantically trying to organize things between departments so we could start out on the right foot.
It hadn’t really hit me yet that I’d been elected and was now the Photo Editor. It still hasn’t really hit me completely. I realize it, but I still doesn’t seem real. Sure, I was “in charge” on Saturday, but it really just felt like every other Saturday shooting sports with a tiny bit more responsibility. The first “wow” moment was when I started to caption my hockey photos down at the office. Until Sunday, when I captioned I was “Jennifer Vargas / Sun Senior Photographer”. Now I was “Sun Photo Editor”. Woah. It still shocks me to think about it!
Sundays are crazy to begin with in the photo department. We have to upload and caption photos from at least 10 different sporting events, edit the ones we’re going to put in the paper, prepare them for web, etc. That’s not TOO bad, but combine that with the huge events we had this weekend and the extra photos everyone took of the celebration after the basketball game and our need to make a huge deal of it in the paper, we had a lot of extra work. Then there was slideshow that we had planned for our hockey photos. Add to it the phone calls from the photo eds. at other Ivy papers requesting some photos from the basketball game and the hundreds of emails I had to sort through once I got access to the photography editor email account, I think to describe it as intense would be an understatement. So much was going on. It was a night like no other. It was amazing.
In one single night, we managed to do everything we set out to do – we created multimedia content for the web, we showcased our photos in new and amazing ways in the print edition, and had a great time in the process. The excitement in the office was palpable and even though we finished up our photo work before midnight, one of the other senior photographers and I ended up sticking around until 3AM (like I said, I had hundreds of emails to sort through). I had more to do once I got home and crashed in bed at 5AM. Up at 8AM for work and class. Boy was that fun.
It’s only been two full days since my election and I have to say they’ve been two of the most fun days ever. I’ve enjoyed learning the ropes and finally having the ability to make the changes I’ve wanted to implement for so long now. I feel like there’s so much we can do and we have the talent and drive to do it. Things are moving forward in the photo department. I can’t wait to see how far we’ll go! It’s going to be great!