Pleiad Staff Writer
Position Title: Pleiad Staff Writer (Full-time, Half-time, or Volunteer)
Department: The Albion College Pleiad
Position Duration: 2023-24 Academic Year
The Albion College Pleiad is the award-winning student-run news publication that has served Albion students, faculty, staff, alumni, families and community members since 1883. Today, the Pleiad publishes news, features, sports, opinions, arts/culture and community stories online every Monday, Wednesday and Friday of the regular semester, as well as publishes a print edition typically three times per semester and a podcast (The Brit) weekly on Mondays. The Pleiad staff also manages several branded social media platforms and a weekly digest newsletter (via MailChimp).
The Pleiad invites applications for Staff Writers, who will contribute stories on a weekly (full-time) or biweekly (half-time) basis. Prior experience with student media is preferred but NOT required. Successful candidates will be strong writers who are curious and want to share information and student viewpoints with all members of our Albion College community, while building skills particularly relevant to careers and internships in media, journalism and public relations.
The Pleiad is committed to maintaining a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and bias-free workplace that demonstrates the character, integrity, and accountability of a professional newsroom. Any members of the student body who can uphold the values of the College and the publication are encouraged to apply. This position can accommodate virtual-only student employees during the Spring 2021 semester.
REQUIRED EXPECTATIONS & SKILLS:
● Reliability with email communication and meeting attendance
● Strong writing skills, including clarity, focus, organization and basic grammatical correctness
● Self-motivation to meet deadlines with limited oversight
● Proactive and collaborative approach to resolving potential challenges
● Friendliness and ability to contact and interview strangers, including students, faculty, staff, administration, alumni and Albion-area community members
● Ability to receive and apply feedback from student leadership
● Curiosity and willingness to ask hard questions about important topics
PREFERRED EXPERIENCE: ** Applicants without the following are still encouraged to apply. **
● Writing for a journalism publication — professional or student-run; may include news, features and/or opinions
● Writing in AP Style
● Photography, radio or podcast production, and/or videography
● Layout and page design
● Multimedia project management, including planning, shooting, editing and/or distributing
● Marketing — social media, email, print, other
● Research — including interviews or digital and library resources
PLEIAD GENERAL DUTIES
● Attend weekly staff meetings (typically 8 p.m. on Wednesdays)
● Meet or exceed weekly assignment deadlines
● Respond to editors’ feedback on drafted content in a timely and professional manner
● Prepare content on Google Docs and WordPress, as well as support social media publicity
● Participate in print-edition distribution and other promotional needs of the publication
● Collaborate effectively with diverse members of the student leadership team and staff
● Read and promote the Pleiad
● Represent the Pleiad responsibly and effectively while upholding the ethical and professional standards of a student news publication
● Editing with exceptional attention to detail
STAFF WRITER DUTIES (on a WEEKLY basis for Full-time, BIWEEKLY basis for Half-time)
● Pitch story ideas and accept stories assigned by student leadership
● Research story background information using print and digital resources, as needed
● Identify, contact and conduct professional interviews with sources (on- or off-campus)
● Write journalistic articles, potentially for multiple sections of the publication
● Contribute photography or other media to accompany each story
UPPER LEVEL DUTIES:
Students who demonstrate strong journalistic principles, professional instincts and leadership potential while working for the Pleiad will be considered in subsequent semesters for promotion to advanced positions, which may include Section Editor (News, Features, Opinions, Sports, Multimedia), Copy Editor, Marketing Coordinator, Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief. These positions involve expanded publication and leadership responsibilities, including editing others’ submissions, posting to WordPress and social media and/or contributing to the long-term vision of the publication’s growth and success.
JOB-SPECIFIC LEARNING OUTCOMES Students will be able to:
● Develop local journalism stories from pitch to publication
● Produce lucid, organized writing that maintains an emphasis on the reader’s needs and interests
● Identify, contact and interview sources
● Follow common expectations for writing according to the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook
● Collaborate with diverse peers to produce a publication representative of student perspectives
CAREER READINESS COMPETENCIES AND TRANSFERABLE SKILLS According to the following NACE Career Readiness Competencies, Pleiad Staff Writers will be able to:
● Demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving by taking on story assignments that require quick self-education about any number of topics while working to find answers to open-ended questions on behalf of readers; as well as by encountering challenges and setbacks that must be resolved within the assigned deadlines and often in collaboration with fellow staff members and editors.
● Demonstrate oral/written communication skills by producing weekly (or bi-weekly) articles for publication and by communicating with sources, fellow staffers, the faculty adviser and the reading public.
● Demonstrate teamwork/collaboration by working closely with fellow staffers and student leadership to develop story ideas, resolve challenges, meet deadlines and publish quality content. Each Pleiad story is revised and edited by a team of staffers, replicating the collaborative processes common in many professional settings.
● Demonstrate digital technology skills by preparing stories for editing using Google Docs and for publication using WordPress; as well as by communicating with staff and student leadership via email, text messaging, social media and other channels.
● Demonstrate leadership by constantly seeking to uncover stories and topics of interest to the reading public; as well as by building relationships and teamwork skills to prepare for future coverage and leadership roles.
● Demonstrate professionalism/work ethic by meeting regular, firm deadlines and communicating with student leadership proactively when challenges arise. ** Writing for student media is a public responsibility, and content published by the Pleiad is subject to public scrutiny, comment and even criticism: Staff Writers must conduct themselves professionally and responsibly at all times when representing the Pleiad.
● Demonstrate career management by determining how their strengths and capabilities might best match the needs of the publication and their own goals. Many student-journalists at Albion pursue internships and other professional opportunities off-campus that are supported by their accomplishments at the Pleiad.
● Demonstrate global/intercultural fluency by engaging with a diverse reading public and collaborating with a diverse staff of peers; as well as by providing news coverage that may at times take them out of their comfort zones and require adaptive interpersonal skills.
LEARNING OUTCOMES ASSESSMENT:
● Once per semester, a student supervisor will complete a Pleiad-specific performance evaluation, which will be delivered to the Staff Writer via email from the Pleiad’s faculty adviser. The Staff Writer will confirm receipt and have an opportunity to respond, as well as to request further training, if necessary.
● At the end of the first semester of Pleiad employment, Staff Writers will be asked whether they intend to continue working for the Pleiad and whether they are interested in promotion to greater responsibility; feedback will be provided during the semester break as to the Staff Writer’s ongoing employment and development expectations.
● The application process for Staff Writers must be initiated again each Fall Semester or any time there is a gap in Pleiad employment.
General staff training is conducted by student leadership once per semester and typically consists of post-meeting discussions and/or a concentrated retreat-style weekend or evening meeting. Additionally, Staff Writers are generally expected to conduct independent review of a slide deck and/or a series of instructional videos distributed in advance. This training typically requires 3 to 6 hours of attention and should be repeated at least once per academic year.
Questions or concerns, please contact faculty adviser Krista Quesenberry at PleiadJobs@albion.edu.
Please note, once you are offered a position you must first go to the Albion College Career and Internship Center website
https://www.albion.edu/academics/career-and-internship-center/student-employment/forms to print off the necessary forms for employment.
Student employees must complete tax forms (W-4 Withholding Allowance Certificates) and proof of work eligibility (I-9) before beginning work as an Albion College Student Employee.
Once you have been offered, HR will email you about the required forms and your next steps. You will be expected to sign up for an orientation time.