While the first semester is almost coming to an end, The Argus has also published the June issue, which is the very last issue of this semester. Through what process is The Argus created? The Argus is now going to show how each monthly issue is written, edited and finally published.
How much do you know about The Argus?
The Argus is the only English magazine of HUFS since 1954 and all the reporters are the students from both the Seoul and Global Campuses. The issue is published once a month, four times a semester. The Argus has five positions?cub reporter, staff reporter, associate editor, editor, and editor-in-chief?and the seniors who served in all the positions help other junior reporters by working as editorial consultants.
The Argus has three sections: campus, national, and culture. The Campus Section reports about campus issues and interviews HUFSans. The National Section reports about the college community or social issues. Last, the Culture Section covers cultural issues.
The Argus cub reporters do not automatically become staff reporters and cover issues of various sections. They have a training period, which is a mandatory process for The Argus reporters. During these training sessions, all reporters learn and practice how to interview people and form an article. Not only does The Argus have this practice, but the team also visits actual media outlets such as The Korea Herald or The Korea Joongang Daily and meets with The Argus alumni to ask how real reporters work and to get advice. Only the ones who pass all these hard training sessions finally earn their places as official reporters in The Argus.
How is the monthly issue produced?
Cover material meeting:
For the first two weeks of the month, all the reporters meet and discuss the material to be covered for the month. In advance of this meeting, the reporters should prepare their presentation. While preparing, they do preliminary investigation with three criteria: timeliness, appropriateness, and originality. They organize all the information they found in advance on the handout distributed at the planning meetings.
The third week of the month is when the complete first drafts of articles are turned in to the editor-in-chief. After the editor-in-chief reviews them all, professors who are English native speakers proofread the articles as the reporters may have made grammatical errors or used awkward expressions.
After all the articles are ready, having implemented the changes suggested by the professors’ edits and comments, the reporters visit a design company. Under the supervision of the company’s staff, the reporters make a layout design. Not only do they plan where to put the photos, but they also choose the colors or font styles, as well as fix typos.
During the meeting of The Argus
As mentioned before, all the reporters of The Argus attend the monthly meeting about the issues to be covered. While preparing for the meeting, reporters research certain topics. The topics are not chosen with only the interest of a reporter but with timeliness, originality and appropriateness in mind. Then at the meeting, they introduce the items they found, and all reporters discuss each item. While presenting the items that a reporter hopes to write about in a meeting room captured with tension, they need to persuade fellow reporters by explaining why they want to cover it, why it is necessary to feature it in The Argus, and what message the reporter wants to deliver to the readers.
Park Ji-yong, a cub reporter, said, “It was my first time attending the meeting, and I realized that preparation is very important when trying to cover certain issues.”
During this discussion, it becomes more persuasive if the reporter prepares with interviews of relevant people. “The hardest one was when I was preparing for an article about ‘snack culture.’ I contacted a professor to ask some questions about the cause of the popularity of snack culture. As I am not a student who studies technologies, I thought the professor might help me with a thorough explanation on this topic. Unlike what I expected, he did not help me but scolded me for my lack of understanding on the topic. It was a moment when tears filled my eyes,” said Lee Sei-yon, looking back on her days as a staff reporter.
As all of the items are discussed, the editor-in-chief decides which ones are actually going to be covered. The editor-in-chief also participates in the meeting by asking some questions or discussing the topic. However, more importantly, the editor-in-chief listens to every reporter’s ideas and opinions and makes the final decision. Even though the person who decides is the editor-in-chief, because all the reporters join together, it can be said that everyone decides together.
“I sometimes get confused about whether or not I made a good decision. However, I always believed in my decision because it was made ready by the reporter’s sincere preparation and discussion,” said the current head editor Lee Je-won. “Also, I think this process is very meaningful in that with various opinions we make a single article.”
During the proofreading and editing progress
As none of the reporters in The Argus are native speakers of English, international professors in HUFS support the reporters by proofreading the articles. Thankfully, the professors catch our misuses of grammar and expressions so that the articles can become more coherent. During this process, the reporters are able to reflect on their writing and learn more varied expressions they can use in future articles.
When starting the editing progress, all reporters visit the design company located in Seongsu. Before they visit, reporters have to prepare layout designs, photos, caption and copyrights. When these are all ready, reporters have a one on one session with designers. At this session, we find designs that are the finest and most appropriate. There are four of these sessions each month, during which we not only rearrange the designs but also look for typos or anything that goes against the stylebook. “At first, I did not know it was this complicated of a process, but as I have experienced, this process takes considerable time and effort. I did not even imagine this process existed before I joined The Argus,” Ryu Soo-yeon, one of the cub reporters said. “I cannot wait to be a staff reporter and do all these processes, but at the same time I am a little nervous since it is another big responsibility along with the writing,” she added.
Until now, the readers experienced second-hand from A to Z how The Argus is made every month. Although it is a monthly magazine, it takes a full month to make, and sometimes the reporters hurry and feel pressure and sometimes wish there was more time for us to make a more perfect magazine. Nevertheless, having started in 1954, The Argus has never stopped and has kept on working as a school press for numerous generations. Why has The Argus continued even though it is so time-consuming and hard to make? The reporter expects it is because all of us think of it as a worthwhile and special experience that no one would ever get to experience elsewhere. Now, would you like to feel this same feeling? It is your turn to join.
By Byeon Hee-jin Editorial Consultant