Editor-in-Chief speeches and platforms

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Audio of the candidates’ speeches and question periods can be found at this link. Candidates’ platforms can be read below.

Courtney Miller

My general platform consists of:

  • Having ideas for projects that I want to work on with the people who would be affected by the projects. Link to list below.
  • Working towards a more collaborative, communicative, and collective team environment.
  • Remaining impartial during disagreements between staff, but making sure to understand all sides to work towards a fair resolution
  • Being approachable, dependable, and available to everyone and giving the paper and its people anything it or they need to be successful.
    • EIC will only be as effective and useful as the EIC decides to be. It’s such a self-directed role that enthusiasm, determination, and responsibility are key.
    • There’s so much I want to work on with everyone and see which methods work better for us and which don’t, and just constantly work on improvement.
  • Keeping in mind that we write for the SFU community, not at them
  • Focusing on SFU-centric content
  • Working with the section editors to ensure new content goes up on the website at regular intervals. Each section putting up new content every 2 or 3 days, maybe 3 or 4 for features. That would allow us to post around 2 new web-only stories every day
  • Focus on the learning aspect of the job. With the new staff, I think this will be incredibly important. We’re a student newspaper and we have a commitment to journalism and integrity, but we also have a commitment to learning.
  • Nurture and encourage growth in both new and returning staff
  • Delivering feedback regularly, both in person and via email (or whatever’s preferred by the recipient).

Project ideas.

Copy of Courtney’s speech.

Jessica Pickering

My name’s Jessica Pickering, and for those of you who don’t know me I am the Chair of the Peak’s Board of Directors. I’d like to address immediately that some of you have questioned why I’m qualified to be the editor-in-chief since I’m not currently an editor like my fellow candidates. As we’ve seen with Deepak Sharma and the leader of the SFSS, having been part of the team isn’t always the best indicator of the best fit for the job. Allow me to tell you why you should elect me as your next EIC.

If you go through the EIC job description, editorial is just one of the areas the EIC is required to perform, alongside management, operations, and external relations. There is a lot that is supposed to go into being the EIC. However, nowhere does it explicitly say that a prior editor would be the best fit for this job. Under editorial, it says the EIC has to write pieces for The Peak, avoid publishing libelous content, and handling official grievances. As a contributor and someone who has become a staff writer, as well as someone who earned a Peakie award in their first semester, I feel I have the writing aspect covered. As for awareness of libel, I have thorough knowledge thanks to attending various workshops at several conferences including ACP DC and NASH in New Brunswick. As for handling grievances, my work as the Vice-President of the SFU Choir should serve as an example of my strong leadership and disciplinary ability. For a club that has over 100 members, part of my job is to handle any and all complaints a member might have, as well as to handle all the internal relations as needed.

Speaking of management, it has fallen to me to be the Human Resources for the SFU Choir, especially for interpersonal conflicts. This skill is easily transferable to what I can accomplish with The Peak. Not only that, but serving as the Chair of the Board of Directors has been especially valuable in performing a lot of the work behind the scenes with the Peak, especially on a subcommittee with Max and Maia evaluating all the job descriptions, which means I have an intimate knowledge of what the ideal expectations for every editor are. With the massive turnover coming, its important that the EIC – as part of the hiring board but also the one in who will be in charge of all these new hires – be aware of all the job expectations when looking for new editors. It is also important that the EIC knows how to train new employees. As someone who has been responsible for the training and development of staff before, I have what it takes to lead The Peak through this transition period. The EIC is also expected to attend weekly meetings (which is something I already do of my own accord) and lead these meetings (which I have experience with as the Chair of the Board). When it comes this section of requirements, I am definitely what you would call management material.

The operations section of the job description mainly focuses on the EIC assisting employees with various aspects of their jobs. As someone with an intimate understanding of distribution, promotions, and social media for the Peak, I am a great asset for those staff members. This section also states that the EIC advises the board on needed policy changes, which we need a lot of because of the updated BC Societies Act and the fact that we are literally drafting a new constitution right now. As someone who is studying to become a policy analyst, I have already used my knowledge to turn all the items passed by board since September into working policies. It doesn’t matter if I proposed them or was given the outline of what board had passed, I created all the documentation to give us the policies that allow us to function.

As far as general qualifications go, I am extremely organized, I am a leader, and I have experience liaising with groups on campus like the SFSS thanks to being the Vice-President of the SFU Choir. So now, let’s take a moment to touch again on the editing side of things. The current Arts editor has been training me as a potential replacement for about a semester now, so it isn’t like I don’t know how to edit The Peak. When I applied to be an editor at the end of the Fall semester, I was told by a member of the hiring board that the only reason I didn’t get hired was because of the lack of vacant positions. The problem wasn’t me, it was that they couldn’t find room for me. They clearly believed I would be a great editor, I just haven’t gotten a chance to prove it yet. Let me prove it to you by being your next EIC.

If elected, I would focus on better communications and better team bonding, starting with small staff retreats. I would also continue the work I started on board by creating a disciplinary policy with feedback from staff, because during my time as Chair I’ve learned that the editors want to and should be more involved with how these policies are created. I also will be creating a conflict of interest policy. As someone who has been working very hard to avoid conflicts of interest, I understand all too well the need for this policy. Using my own experiences and input from staff, I would take very real steps to avoid this, including having Nathan step down from the Board of Directors once I took over the EIC role. I would work to further our web first initiative by working with our editors to understand which stories do better on web and how to format these stories for print. We need to start pushing our stories online as soon as they are ready for print, not in a dump on Monday. We need to adapt our headlines, because some work better on mobile and some work better on paper. We need to work from the top down of getting everyone involved in going web first, instead of relying on some people to do it as part of their job. We see this with the work done by Nick and Ashley, with Nick getting content up immediately and Ashley creating online series with a targeted goal. We see this work being done with Jess and Tamara, with initiatives like New Music Friday and Tamara’s abundance of online content and a keen understanding of how to phrase things differently based on the medium. Now, we need someone to bring all these ideas together and have all our editors thinking like that, and have that inspire our contributors. It is time that The Peak goes all-in going web first, and I have a vision of how to oversee that entire shift. Now is our best chance to do this with the transition. We need to take advantage of the change.

Furthermore, I will work with these new editors and our outgoing editors to develop more cohesive training for incoming staff, including a group training session outlining general Peak knowledge and post-mort expectations. By fostering a two-way feedback system, I would allow staff to address mistakes that I may make so we can all grow together. Finally, I would work to develop section editor leadership skills by treating them as the experts of their own section, because that’s what they are. I would be more of a guiding hand to bring better collaboration in each issue of The Peak instead of micromanaging.

In conclusion, I know I am the best candidate for EIC, and I hope that I’ve convinced you of that too. Let me show you what my vision of the Peak can become, and vote me in as your next EIC. Thank you.

Best,

Jessica

Zach Siddiqui

Candidate has not submitted platform.

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