After more than 100 years, The Gateway newspaper morphed into a monthly magazine with a website for breaking news and interactive features. Karen Unland, who ran the paper in 1992-93, sat down with Josh Greschner, the editor-in-chief who presided over this past year of monumental change. Greshner says the main challenge is to reinterpret The Gateway’s identity and its place on campus.
What were you most afraid of?
Honestly, I was too unaware of everything to be afraid. It was pure piss and vinegar. It was pure dumb hope. With the magazine part, it must have been the same feeling they had 100 years ago, where it’s like, “OK, let’s make it happen.” There was a lot more improvising than we thought, and there was a lot more improvising than I would have preferred.
Because you didn’t realize the extent to which making a magazine is a different rhythm than a newspaper?
Yeah, rhythm, that’s the word. What has to happen when, and who has to be organized to do what. I came into it thinking, “Oh yeah, it’s an editor job. I’m going to sit and make the content really good.” You realize that no, this role is pretty removed from content production. It’s more like direction.
In my day, we were doing two newspapers a week, so there was no way I could be hands-on with anything at that pace. The job was managing people, not dealing with words.
It’s a good learning experience. It turns you into an adult. You’d better adapt, or you’ll just get steamrolled. I had to change myself in order for [the changes] to work.
How did you change yourself?
Just being hands-off when you need to be, letting what works well run on its own. There’s a lot of stuff about your personality that you have to confront. You learn how to take criticism, too. You learn the value of having faith in your own vision.
Unlike a lot of your predecessors, you had a lot to do with the business side of the business. What did you learn from that?
I liked that more, actually. I basically learned how the [budget] would work for a publication that has this amount of staff, that has this amount to publish, that gets this amount of money at these certain times. How to file taxes, what an audit requires, a lot of that non-profit stuff. Another part of The Gateway that is overlooked a lot is the applied job skills it’ll give you, not only going into journalism. You could learn how to basically run a small business.
–with files from Matt Rea, ’13 PhD
This conversation has been edited and condensed.