University News produces RIT News & Events, the campus newspaper, and all news specialists contribute articles to the publication. Because it is produced twice a month during the school year, we work under tight deadlines and timely stories often have to be held, or occasionally cannot run at all. Given this, staffers are often looking for creative ways to get things in under the wire.
For example, as the specialist in charge of the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, I am responsible for reporting on RIT’s Formula racing team, a 35-member student group that designs and builds a vehicle for Formula SAE, a national student design and racing competition, held annually at Michigan International Speedway and sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers.
This year’s race was held May 16-17, which was a week after our editorial deadline for the commencement issue of News & Events, easily the publication’s most widely read edition. Given this, we planned to run a small picture and caption on the team in the commencement issue and then do a story on results in the first summer edition in June, which has a decidedly smaller readership.
Luckily though, at least for the Formula team, the commencement edition needed to undergo some last minute changes right before going to press on May 18. My enterprising colleague Mike Saffran, who is deputy managing editor for News & Events, came down to my office that morning and said they could sneak Formula results into the current photo and caption story if I could get a hold of them immediately.
Now, getting in touch with students or faculty during commencement week is nearly impossible, so I still had little hope of getting the information in time. But serendipity seemed to be with me that week as Alan Nye, faculty advisor to the team, happened to be in his office and was able to give me the detailed results for the competition, which I relayed to Mike to input just in time.
I was particularly pleased to get the results in the commencement issue because the team did extraordinarily well, recording four top three placements and finishing 15th overall in the 104 team competition!
Given the jumping jacks we did have to do though I would request that SAE hold their competition a week early next year!
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