Student Journalist Spotlight: Nicole Alvarado, The Battalion

In the photo below, Nicole Alvarado appears to be holding a plastic Star Wars-inspired lightsaber.  The image is fitting given how little time The Battalion student newspaper editor in chief actually sees sunlight.



Nicole Alvarado, The Battalion


A journalism professor lightheartedly warned Alvarado two years ago about her work on The Battalion: “You will spend all your time in the newsroom. I don’t care what you say now-if you keep a job there, you will forget what sunlight looks like.”  In a recent state-of-the-newspaper address to readers, Alvarado happily admitted the prof’s words had proven prescient:


I find myself locked away in the basement of the Memorial Student Center five nights a week, eyes glued to a computer screen, watching the time with bated breath. Deadlines, stories, copy editing, AP Style…industry terms rush through my head as quickly as the second hand on the clock. The adrenaline rush and positive stress of working for the paper is what really gets my blood pumping. I can’t imagine myself being this happy with any other job.


While in a perfect world, Alvarado admits she would rather be attending Hogwarts with Harry Potter and the gang, the communication/journalism major from Houston is leaving her mark on Texas A&M one Battalion at a time.


Below is a brief Q&A exploring Alvarado’s student press adventures:


Write a six-word memoir of your Battalion experience so far. 


Can I make it six-words . . . or less? “Spread the word, ya heard?” Hahaha . . . but seriously, I think that’s what I would say.


To all the student newspaper and campus media haters out there: Why does The Battalion matter?


The Battalion does its duty to serve the entire student body. Not just the conservatives, not just the liberals, not just the undergraduates–but everybody. We are striving to maintain journalistic integrity while at the same time keeping the content informative and interesting.


What is the coolest part about being top editor of The Battalion?


All the free stuff–ESPECIALLY the backpack full of free condoms Trojan just sent us  :)   Just kidding. Being able to interact with every single one of my employees, probably. Our newsroom has more than 70 people in it, but I can honestly say that I know everyone on a personal level. They’re more than just my coworkers or my friends; they’re my family. Also, being the one to accept our very first Pacemaker (for overall newspaper) in Kansas City a few weekends ago was really cool.


What is one thing people don’t understand about the job?


I really do have to do all the dirty work that nobody else wants to do. Hate mail, nasty phone calls, pitches about irrelevant student website after website, etc. I clean house pretty much every day. Oh, and firing your friends is never fun either. Sometimes I feel like the mama bear of the newsroom and they’re all my baby cubs. I love them but I have to discipline them, and that’s not always fun.


Funny newsroom moment.


Every day is an adventure, but the most recent I can recall is probably when we had an impromptu, 10-minute Dance Dance Revolution tournament. Either that or when we would play musical computers, though that was probably a liberal mix between funny and disruptive.


What is one question we should all be asking much more often about the current state or future of journalism?


What all should I be able to be proficient in? I’ve heard from every single speaker that the industry isn’t looking for experts or “one-trick ponies” anymore. Everyone has to be able to do everything: photo, report, new media, page design, web layout–everything.


You wake up in ten years. Where are you and what are you doing?


Hopefully lying in my bed in my exotic bungalow, my pet koala by my side, staring up at my Pulitzer.


Check out the full Q&A here

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