I am no fan of basketball, but once I came by a basketball joke:
"Why is Pizza Hut better than LeBron James? They deliver."
It is not pretty sight to come across people asking for extensions few hours before the deadline. Nor is it good news to hear from a third person that a colleague will be leaving soon. Still worse is the duty of having to criticize others' work that undoubtedly took substantial time to complete, too. Worst, perhaps, is the degree of bluntness, indifference, and the lack of recognition for the effort that I myself am in charge of.
First month as Editor-in-Chief has surely been demanding enough, not only in terms of the workload, but also in terms of "thoughtload". Having somehow adapted to the KAIST environment, I have recently been compelled to address issues relating to responsibility, commitment, and dedication, mine and others' alike. Am I too exacting when working with others? What justifies my high level of expectation of others' performance? Who am I to judge people's writing?
In the short span of time since the beginning of semester up to the time of writing this letter at The KAIST Herald clubroom, these thoughts have been growing indefinitely. When they could not be contained anymore, I turned my eyes to outside the process of making the newspaper, contemplated on the number of people that mindlessly pass by The KAIST Herald newspaper, or by any newspaper, for that matter, reflected on my two years' experience as staff reporter, and thought about how my other student club experiences could bring any benefits to the one that I am heading.
Then came the conclusion that it is not a matter of dealing with the staff. Rather, it is a matter of readership and engagement. I had the wrong idea of Editor-in-Chief as someone superior to the rest of the staff, chasing people in order to produce a better piece of writing, as a novelist would from a typewriter.
The job description of an editor, as I see it, should be to earn readership by means of public relations and engagement and thereby seeking to motivate writers, and not the other way around. With that said, The KAIST Herald one year from now will officially be the most sought-after newspaper on campus, in addition to its age-old, pride-inducing title of "The Official English Newspaper of KAIST"
Making a newspaper should be much more than, say, Wednesday night writing gatherings. It entails the "other end" so I would like to encourage our staff and the readers (albeit most of them potential, not current) to look each other in the eye. The newspaper will find ways to reach the student population offline (as was the tradition since its inception) as well as online, handling issues to trigger some of the most intriguing and relevant questions (see page 11 for a debate on ALS Ice Bucket Challenge), throwing some light on social issues hard to encounter in the tight setting of KAIST (see page 10 for a column on the ageing society), loosening the daily routine with a guide for those too detached from entertainment (see pages 14 and 15 for a catch-up on sci-fi movies), and last but not the least, manifesting a newspaper's very essence in reporting about notable college events (see page 12 for an interview with the ASPIRE E-Olympics organizers).
So, I ask fellow students not to encase themselves in their studies or compartmentalize their thoughts into sections isolated from the rest of the world; as St. Augustine puts it, "Pick it up, and read it."
Wan Ju Kang