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Bruins in Paris

From punctuation to people, I learned so much in my time at the Daily Bruin -30-

Shreya Dodballapur stands for a portrait in front of Kerckhoff Hall. (Michael Gallagher/Photo Assistant editor)

By Shreya Dodballapur

June 10, 2024 9:10 p.m.

During my sophomore year, I applied to be a Daily Bruin Copy editor at 2:00 a.m. on the last possible date of the fall recruitment process. While other decisions I’ve made past midnight haven’t always been very fruitful, getting involved at The Bruin is one I absolutely do not regret.

In my first year as a Copy editor, I felt so intimidated by The Bruin. All the stories were so interesting, and the paper seemed to work like such a well-oiled machine – I didn’t know what I had to offer. I was overhearing conversations about journalistic integrity and production cycles, but I was struggling to just get a handle on the simplest nouns: Camayak, comma splices and print production. It was all overwhelming to me.

But I just kept showing up. Even in my novice form, maybe especially then, I liked the energy of the newsroom. Before joining the Daily Bruin, I’d never met anyone who had an opinion about punctuation, let alone someone who felt passionately about it. But in the office, I found a community that cared so deeply about words and how to present them in the most effective way possible.

The English student in me felt so nourished. At any given time, I could turn to anyone in Kerckhoff 118, and they’d be able to teach me something very niche about a topic I didn’t even realize existed. So when I got a Slack message at the end of my sophomore year asking me to apply to be a slot editor – presumably because not enough people applied – I agreed.

Serving as a slot editor taught me more than I could’ve ever anticipated. I learned Slack etiquette, that patience is a virtue with publishing software, that someone somewhere will always have an answer and that it’s OK to ask for help.

I learned the hard way that nine was the maximum number of articles I could read before my eyes went cross-eyed, that a singular letter can make a huge difference in a headline and to always eat before editing. To my dismay, I picked up enough sports jargon to understand why my older brother actually enjoys it.

Now, the Daily Bruin no longer intimidates me. Instead, I am excited and impressed by how much hard work and care goes into producing a good story.

First, newsworthy things have to happen, then clever writing and several rounds of hawk-eyed editing are essential to make the news ring true. A thoughtful slot slaps on a headline and then the designers and artists get people to actually want to read the paper. By the time someone in the general public sees any given story, it’s been looked at by several sets of sharp eyes.

I had no idea when I became an editor that production was such an involved process – and that’s when the subject matter is easy.

At times, especially complicated ones, editing can be a frustrating job. But it is also so rewarding. I’m grateful to be leaving with the ability to take stories for what they are and help them say what they want effectively. I feel very lucky to have played a role in publishing so many articles and to have worked with so many inspiring, brave and strong student journalists.

Above all, people are at the heart of every story. So of course, people are at the heart of mine, too. The friends I made through the Daily Bruin are why I ended up loving the job I was initially so hesitant to apply for.

To my movies-of-db cofounders, my fellow 2022-23 slots who would laugh along to my silly check-ins, the editors who always encouraged me, all the talented writers who trusted me with their ideas and everyone I’ve ever worked a print shift with – thank you for being such a sweet part of my college experience. You kept me coming back to this job, even when I found it easy to complain about. I wish you all the best, and I am so proud to have worked with you.

Thank you, Daily Bruin, for giving me so many stories to read in these past few years and to tell for the rest of my life.

Shreya Dodballapur was a Copy contributor 2021-2022, slot editor 2022-2023 and Copy senior staff 2023-2024.

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