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Linking Young Minds Together
  Volume 6 | Issue 34 | August 26, 2012 |


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Behind the Pages

Sumaiya Ahsan Bushra
Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo

They say with age people become wiser. This year Star Campus turns six and I, being one of the last survivors, have surely grown sage and sarcastic with current work conditions, hence, my benevolent lady Boss, Elita Karim (also known as Ellie, amongst the elder citizens at the Daily Star) decided to 'bestow' this article upon me as I am royalty! During the span of this entire piece, I will be giving you (our beloved readers) a sneak peak into what makes the Star Campus team so great despite our occasional glitches which you (readers and academicians) often point out through the painful erratums.

Firstly, for anyone who has some experience or knows how the daily newspaper office runs must be thinking that we are a bunch of dedicated young people who work day and night burning millions of candles (given the current electricity situation) to prepare journalistic articles that you so fondly read every Sunday. To break the illusion, we do not work day and night as most of us are students or fresh graduates trying to make head and tail of life deciding which way we should be going from here on. Although, we have previously and at current had some great turn ups that have gone abroad to pursue higher studies, know exactly what to do in life (though they keep researching on which country to go to or how to coordinate between work and music rehearsals) a majority of us are still vague on what to do. In general, we are much like the character of Peter Pan; we never want to grow up!

Phase 1: Reading through the assignments.

Our week begins on Sundays, unless we have a workshop scheduled for Saturday where one of the editors of another section is asked to give us a feedback on our standards of writing. Apart from that, a majority of us spend our Saturdays, either writing the spotlight to be published for the next week or researching on the work assigned for that week. Additionally, much like the military regime our lenient boss asks us to attend and work on time yet by default we tend to procrastinate making the tea breaks stretch on forever.

Mondays and Tuesday are rather serious days when we wrack our brains out, fixing the horribly 'gone wrong' grammatical mistakes that the articles are so filled with. For the most of us, the process drags on forever, till our eyes are sore and brains are tired and we end up in the canteen again (probably for the third time in a single afternoon) sniffing the 'unhealthy' air and eating enormous plates of oily noodles and daal puris. And if the going gets tough, it boils down to bhaat and chicken!

Editing with the Graphics operator.
Reading articles instensly.

Our canteen is very important to us. It is the only place in the entire Daily Star, where we can truly speak our hearts out, whine, cry, make a drama out of nothing and debate over endless cups of cha and coffee while watching a heated world cup or T20 match on TV.

Speaking of being boisterous, well I would personally blame it on our boss who has gifted us with the voice of the youth. The Star Campus team is known to be the most talkative, opinionated, notorious bunch in the entire office. We never fail to disappoint the elders at work, but in our absence they mope and in an under tone express how they truly feel about us. In one such occasion, without knowing that we were already at work, our boss overheard one of the senior editors say, “Isn't the team here? Where is the heart of the Daily Star”? Yes, you heard me right- we are the veins and arteries of the Daily Star, not just through our great gender and sexuality, train commuting, medical students dilemma, working students, indoor plantation and sport stories but also by just being ourselves!

Correcting the whites (initial print-outs) filled with grammatical errors is a regular job.

My next destination is to give you a tour of the underworld. This place does have uncanny resemblances like the real underworld as everything goes here but double standards exist largely. The sixth floor is a common habitat for a number of us during the hectic Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Even though, we only work with the graphics section during these days, the entire floor knows that we are there, because our presence is spread through our beautiful voices and appearances (neither of which is deceiving). Every Tuesday our young photographer explains to the graphics designer how he wants the cover page to be but then this elaboration is often fruitless as our 'honest fellow' here (referring to the Graphics Operator) is always in fear that something might go awfully bad if he uses excessive creativity in his work! I guess it's a generational thing to be bold and brave.

As the sun descends and a new day dawns, Wednesdays come and we all just collapse into auto panic mode. Wednesdays are never optimistic- it's the day we somehow end up criticising each other regarding our write-ups, a day when we stumble upon the most unnoticeable glitches in editing, a day when we keep shifting up and down not just in our head but also physically, a day without a respite and a cha break. Even though, for years now, we have been the ones who make everyone else around us forget their pains and sorrows, this is the only day we all become existentialists. On Wednesdays we drive our 'honest fellow Graphics Operator' insane with the huge amount of graphics editing, abnormal amount of chit-chatting and irregular, impulsive breaks.

Though the tea-breaks are frequent, work is always being done!
The weekly meeting-- ultimate brainstorming session!

The week comes to a halt on a Thursday. After countless fixings on what time we should all meet for Thursday's meeting, we decide on a flexible time for all, yet, through some twist of fate, either the team members or the 'shepherd' herself fails to reach the destination on time due to traffic jam. In the meeting, after endless hours of brainstorming, we decide our own dooms along with our young photographer's fate for the coming week's assignments. Simultaneously, we also prophesise your fate and predict the number of write-ups that we expect would turn up the following week. It is also a compulsory tradition for us to write down everything in our 'office note books' (which we must bring to work that day or else all hell breaks loose).

Our modest slogan states that we practice journalism without fear or favour. It is true to some extent as this phrase has inspired me to write such a piece without bringing into consideration several criterions which a royal servant must imprint in his or her heart. What I mean to say is, Star Campus and your brand loyalty (which contributes to increase our circulation) has given me and my colleagues the nourishment and nurture that is needed to grow as an individual and enabled us to look beyond.

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