Ever wonder how an article at The Varsity goes from an idea to a finished piece in the paper? We all have something to say and new insights to contribute, and the following process is how we bring the stories of the U of T community to light.
An article starts as a pitch idea. When subscribed to a Varsity section’s pitch mailing list, you will receive emails containing pitches: these are each concept for a relevant article, whether it be reporting about an event on campus or writing a commentary piece. Then the section editor will assign the piece to whoever responds to the pitch email. Alternatively, you may email each section’s respective email and pitch an idea directly and unprompted.
When pitches are assigned to a writer, they are given a deadline and a word count. For sections like Arts and Culture or Science, pieces can have longer turnaround times, like two weeks. For News, turnaround can be just a few days for timely stories! With every piece, a writer must submit a source sheet; this is where the writer references all facts, sources, and interview transcripts cited in their article.
There are several rounds of editing before an article is ready to be published — each article goes through at least five. Major general edits are first made by the section editor who receives the first draft. Then the Senior Copy Editor (SCE) or the Deputy Senior Copy Editor (DSCE) edits for general structure and logical soundness. After the SCE or DSCE reads the piece comes copy editing.
Copy editing is for the nitty gritty parts of the piece, not structural edits. During this stage, the article is fact checked twice against its source sheet, checked for grammar, and ensured it adheres to The Varsity’s style guide, which is its standardized grammar code. During the academic year, copy editing happens on the weekend, whereas the earlier editing stages happen over the course of the week.
The Editor-in-Chief then reads the piece to catch final errors and check for any risks of libel. Editors at all stages must also keep in mind equity concerns and legal concerns for every piece published.
Lastly, an article is consistencied. This final stage is when the SCE does one final check to make sure the article conforms to Varsity style. After consistency, it’s ready to be published.
Articles are published both online through thevarsity.ca and as a physical paper that gets distributed to all the major buildings across all three campuses. The Varsity’s design editors format all the finished articles into a proper layout and then send the layout to an external printing company. Shortly after, stacks of The Varsity newspaper can be found all over campus, hot off the printing press!