July 16, 2007

A Night at The Sun

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This article appears in the 2007 edition of The Sun’s annual Freshman Issue.

What is this 84-page mass of words and pictures that has just arrived on my doorstep? Why, it’s The Cornell Daily Sun, one of the very oldest and best college newspapers in the country, and, as of about a month from now, your window to the world from our little corner of Ithaca, N.Y.

Founded in 1880, The Sun is one of the oldest fully independent college daily newspapers in the country. A New York State for-profit corporation run by students, The Sun was Ithaca’s only morning newspaper for many years and still serves the local community as well as Cornell and Ithaca College.

Cornell has no journalism major — and we wouldn’t have it any other way: You learn best by doing. So it’s not a surprise that we like to think of ourselves as the University’s journalism education.

Watching the clock

There is no regular day at The Sun, but we have tried to outline some of our activities for you.

Morning:
Staffers read The Sun, go to class (maybe), work on that day’s stories. Business office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

5 p.m.:
Editors arrive at The Sun’s offices at 139 W. State Street, which is a 20-minute walk down the hill from Central Campus or a 5-minute drive/bus ride. Begin to layout and edit the next morning’s paper.

7 p.m. to 10 p.m.:
Editors, designers and photographers meet to discuss articles and placement of stories in the next morning’s paper. Editors read through and edit articles and send them to a copy editor for a read-through. Editors assign more stories for later in the week; other editors work on editorials and last minute stories. Photographers edit photos. Design staffers work on pages as stories are finalized. Web and multimedia editors create podcasts and work on special online content.

10 p.m.-1:30 a.m.:
Breaking news stories come in; finishing touches are made to the paper’s content and design.

1:30 a.m.:
The paper goes to bed. It is printed in Corning, N.Y. Stories, photos and other content are webbed for online readers.

If you want to learn, just show up and we’ll give you the skills you need for a career in news, sports and commentary. Graduates of The Sun include E.B. White ’21, Kurt Vonnegut ’44, Dick Schaap ’55, Oscar Mayer ’34, Frank Gannett 1898 and multiple Pulitzer Prize winners.
You will see The Sun every weekday morning in dorms, dining halls, libraries and countless other locations across campus. But few realize what it actually means to “put out the paper.” Cornell’s only daily student-run newspaper is a multi-faceted organization that only works because of its members.

Editors spend what some might consider way too much time with one another. They sacrifice sleep and studying to work on The Sun. But all agree on the irreplaceable role the paper has taken in their lives.

The news department, the paper’s largest, tracks and reports on all campus life events, local and national issues relevant to you. The staff is always perusing press releases, talking to people around campus and conducting interviews in preparation for stories.

Where there’s news, The Sun is there covering it. From President David Skorton to the mayor of Ithaca to exclusive interviews with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54 and Bill Nye ’77, “The Science Guy,” the news section has full access.

The sports section works hard each day to keep you abreast of the newest developments of the sporting world both inside and outside Big Red nation. With game stories, athlete profiles and commentary on anything and everything, you will always find action on the back page. And do not forget to look for the seasonal pullouts that help make us all better, more informed fans.

The Arts and Entertainment section, also known as Red Letter Daze, is The Sun’s cool crew. From movie and dining reviews of downtown eateries to exhibits at the Johnson Museum to local band performances, Daze gives us all the heads-up about the places to be and be seen.

Hidden behind the news you will find The Sun’s opinion and editorial section, where columnists and community members sound off about local and national issues alike.

A picture is said to be worth a thousand words, which is why our photo team is so vital to The Sun. Our photographers go to great lengths to ensure that a story is visually represented, even if this means trekking in the rain and snow all over central New York.

Creative and always inquisitive, our design staff knows style like the back of their hands. When they’re not laying out pages, our designers are helping to create special sports supplements or covers for special issues, such as the one you’re reading now.

Our newly-redesigned website, www.cornellsun.com, plays an important role in the organization. Web staffers work daily to bring stories, photos, polls, blogs, forums and other innovative features to our online readers.

Business staffers sell ads, market the newspaper around Cornell and Ithaca and handle all the day-to-day issues of running a business.

Every day during the academic year, about 15,000 students, parents, alumni, administrators and local residents read the print edition of The Sun; another 10,000 people visit cornellsun.com daily.

The Sun is and always will be 100 percent student-run.

Ready to join us?

To get involved with The Sun, e-mail Managing Editor Rebecca Shoval ’08 at managing-editor@cornellsun.com.