The inner workings of Journalism: deadline night

February 15, 2023 — by Neal Malhotra and Atrey Desai
Photo by Atrey Desai
We all love the newspaper, but how does it work? Here is a brief look at the program’s most important night.

Here is a not-so-familiar scene for most: 35 people sit in an abnormally large room with an absurd number of expensive iMacs lined up against the wall, half the people less than a foot away from their laptop screen, with the rest yelling at each other in a “constructive” manner. For the journalism students here, this monthly congregation is known as Thursday deadline night.

After weeks of writing and editing the stories for the issue, everything comes down to our deadline night because everything has to be finished by 6 p.m. the next day so that it can be pushed to the printer. 

Oftentimes, it’s a memorable night for us, no matter how chaotic it gets. The challenges are endless: There’s always the difficulty of trying to find the location of that one staff member who has the entire page layout on their computer (it just turned out they decided to make a boba run). Or it’s finding out that the editors-in-chief or adviser Michael Tyler has spotted a flaw (or multiple flaws) with your page, so you have to restart and revise in a major way.

But it’s not all work. There are moments where you just look at each other and just start laughing. You are surrounded by the nicest people on the planet who will splurt out the most random words, then laugh for the next three minutes because you had inhaled six cookies before. And when the process is finally over, we wait a week for the finished newspaper to be printed, when we distribute bundles of old-fashioned print newspaper to every class. Then the whole cycle repeats. While deadline nights can be tough for everyone, they are nights we all look forward to. I have so much fun and I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

To most, the school newspaper is just a stack of paper they pick up every couple of weeks from their classroom before running out for lunch and abandoning it after flipping to the colored pages. But for its creators, it is their blood, sweat and tears — an experience for us to treasure far into the future.