The Current: More Than Just A Student Newspaper
The notification on your phone tells you The Current has posted another story, and you spend the next few minutes reading through the new article. Maybe you like this particular writer and have been following their stories for a while now, or maybe you simply enjoy reading about the happenings in your community. Regardless of the motivation, you read and connect with the familiar setting or characters, and through your reading, The Current has succeeded - we have not only provided a quality piece of news, we have helped our readers find a commonality in stories that are important to us all.
At first glance, The Current seems straightforward. It’s a student-run newspaper, based out of the University of Missouri - St. Louis, and we cover stories happening both on campus and in the surrounding St. Louis area. What readers don’t see is the creativity and collaboration that go into every story. There is a constant struggle for innovation to push our reading platform to new levels. Yes, The Current staff’s main objective is to generate new material, but the drive behind that goal goes much deeper.
Sometimes stories are pitched by outside writers, but more times than not, a story is picked up by a staff member. We watch and listen, which we all know has become difficult over the last year. Instead of writing up any story in order to produce a high amount of content, our staff has a multi-level system for how stories are pitched and selected. Wesley Baucom, Editor-in-Chief at The Current, says that our stories “are more than just the view count on our website. I like seeing things that have impact.” The Current is tiered, like any professional publication, and it is the editors’ job to go out and find stories that are meaningful to our readership. Stories that make the cut are often those we are interested in learning more about ourselves; writing pieces for The Current is often a way to explore our surroundings and meet new people.
The process in which our articles are constructed serve the writer in more ways than one. Through research, interviews, and the writing process itself, we become stronger in our writing abilities. Our team supports us every step of the way, even if we only see their faces over Zoom. Over the course of an article’s development, it goes through two workshop phases: one that occurs during our weekly staff meetings, and then one through the editing process before publication. By having so much feedback available to us, we are able to reflect on our writing and fully realize the motivation behind each story.
Beyond producing articles for our community, as members of The Current, we are also acquiring skills and laying a foundation for our future outside of the university. Through our roles with the magazine we are learning how to efficiently work with a team, practice leadership, and hone in on communicating, both verbally and through our writing. There are many different educational backgrounds among our staff, some of us studying English or writing, some studying communications and marketing, but no matter what our major may be, all of us gain valuable experience with the work we provide for The Current.
“It’s our job to write for UMSL students,” Wesley explains, “and to put content out there that makes people think and lets them know the state of things. Particularly things that are complicated.” The Current staff seeks to provide the truth. Our stories might range from features on people and places of St. Louis, to exposés on what’s happening here at UMSL, but even with the distance placed by COVID-19, The Current has remained vigilant in staying connected to the community, and has been dedicated to extending that connection to others. So if you are reading this article, whether it be your first experience with The Current, or the one hundredth story you’ve read, our hope is that you leave feeling like you know us a little better. Our purpose is not complete without the support of our readership.
If you are an UMSL student and are looking for ways to get involved with The Current, we have many opportunities available! We’re always looking for staff writers, and staying in touch will allow you to stay updated on other positions as they become available.
Even though you must be an UMSL student to work for the magazine, we always accept guest writers as well as story pitches or ideas. Have something important you feel needs to be shared? Let us know!
For more details on any of the information listed above, please reach out to Wesley at firstname.lastname@example.org