End of Year Editor Roundtable

What’s gotten our editors through this pandemic publication year?

Geraldine Yaris // Illustrator

Stories in Silence

Alisha Samnani // Managing Editor, News Editor

When I think of what this academic year brought the Capilano Courier, I think of the countless articles containing “due to COVID-19…” or “…postponed indefinitely.” I think of the months of anguish everyone has gone through—our masthead included.

As an editor, this is nothing new: part of my job as a journalist is to absorb the pain of those suffering. While it’s an immense privilege being entrusted with these stories, it can be physically and mentally draining. I spend my time “listening” to people’s voices—in interviews, in emails, in informal discussions… So it shouldn’t be surprising that the sudden silence is crippling.

During my time at the Courier, I’ve spent so much time endlessly cultivating and uplifting underrepresented voices that I’ve neglected my own. I’ve spent much of this year feeling frustrated and mourning the numerous lives that have been irreparably changed. 

As many of my friends would tell you, I’m not one to open up easily—so how do I release all my stress? I sing. Whether it’s something I’ve heard on the radio or lyrics I’ve scribbled down in haste, creating music sends me to a place where I’m at peace with myself and the world, however temporary.

While physically collecting people’s stories is still out of reach, I’ve come to terms with the transient silence. While it seems like nothing, I can still hear plenty—whether that’s the whisper of the wind or the myriad of raindrops cascading upon my window as I write this. Much like the stories I’m so used to hearing, the music of the world fills my ears with hope—no matter how long it lasts.

Ode to the Word Processor

Megan Amato // Opinions Editor

I don’t consider myself particularly good at many things. I can’t hold a note to save my life—or read a note to play an instrument. There is not an ounce of rhythm in this pathetically fragile-for-my-age body to dance. I have no artistic skill, unless you count the doodles of eyes and flowers in the margins of all my written work, and I can’t manage to get past a grade school level of math. The one talent—if you can call it that—I do have is a decent grasp of the English written word, whether it be through writing or editing. Not only am I good at editing, I also love it.

Despite my self-proclaimed proficiency, I must admit that word processors have helped streamline my job as an editor working on multiple projects across different platforms—from Microsoft Word and Google Docs to organizational and creative programs like Scrivener and add-ons like Grammarly that offer more comprehensive suggestions. Each of these programs offers functions that have helped me organize projects, provide editorial advice, copy edits and proofreading while creating avenues to work collaboratively.

Despite being an essential editorial tool, word processors aren’t perfect. Sometimes they create problems, don’t understand the context in which something is written and can enforce colonial or ableist language or want to edit out the voice of a manuscript or article. Word processors are to be used and appreciated—but they can never replace an editor.

Lost Some Friends, Gained a Sister

Bridget Stringer-Holden // Associate News Editor

I write this on the anniversary of lockdown, as I grab more coffee and sit down at my desk to stare blankly at my laptop screen—basically my life for the past year.

I never really realized how much of a social person I am until it was all taken away. Suddenly, there were no more late night library sessions with my friends. Within a month, I’d exhausted every variation of “Hey, what have you been up to?”

Luckily for me, I started as the Associate News Editor at the Capilano Courier in August. Alisha Samnani, the News and Managing Editor helped train me and always made time for calls to help me edit my first few pieces, but I had no idea that those few calls would turn into hundreds more, not only to edit pieces, but also to play games and chat about life.

Alisha and I met for the first time last summer, but she’s someone I feel like I’ve known my whole life. Someone who is always there for me—day or night, rain or shine. Not to be unappreciative of the supportive friends and family that I do have, but it’s been a tough year for everyone and I’ve definitely fallen out of touch with many friends.

Our phone calls and our socially-distanced walks around Lafarge Lake—where we joke about ducks liking peas—have been one of the highlights of the past year. I couldn’t have asked for a better News Editor or a better friend.

I’ve lost some friends, but what I’ve gained is something much more valuable, I’ve gained a big sister. I mean, she’s always wanted a little sister—I just hope I’m not as annoying as the job description typically requires.

Creating Bad Art

Claire Brnjac // Arts and Culture Editor

Editors everywhere can attest to that point in the editing process where words start blending into each other—where you make an edit and then delete it because you’re not totally sure you’re right. Usually these moments happen in the dead of night, and since I’ve started this job last August, I’ve realized there’s only one thing that’ll clear my brain long enough to start working again.

I create something badly. 

I have made terrible macarons that are both lumpy and bad-tasting. I have made many middling-to-terrible attempts at oat milk, and have eaten many undercooked Pillsbury sugar cookies in my year as an Arts and Culture editor. I have started many projects, most of which languish in my arts and crafts basket under my bed. I’ve written so many frustrated poems I could fill a novel, and while most of them will never see the light of day, I enjoy creating them. 

There is something freeing in giving yourself the freedom to mess something up. While editing, you want an article or a piece to work so badly that you tweak it forever trying to find the best version of it—but sometimes that perfect state can’t be reached. In order to clear my mind and see a piece as it really stands, I create something else and let it sit on its own. Not everything has to be perfect. Some things just have to be done, and then you can start again. 

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