Inside A Phoenix EdBoard Meeting

This week’s column will offer readers a glimpse into the rarefied world of a Phoenix Editorial Board Meeting. In retrospect, the first clue that the meeting would not be an ordinary one came several hours before it began, in an e-mail from Editor-in-Chief Marcus Mello ’13. “You guys, we should really drink together some time,” wrote Mello. “I really think it would be a great bonding experience — maybe we could go to Pub Nite after the meeting?”

The subject was quickly forgotten, and by 8 p.m., the office was filled with the usual complement of layout editors, photographers and writers who aren’t quite sure what their job is but are pretty sure that this isn’t the Daily Gazette office.

A few minutes later, the doors burst open, and Mello catapulted into the room, a rosy smile on his face and a handle of Svedka clutched in his arms.

“We’re making some big changes around here,” said Mello, as he sat down on Managing Editor Menghan Jin ’13’s lap.  As Jin glared uncomfortably at the floor, the Editor-in-Chief outlined a plan to revamp the weekly newspaper, including a yearly swimsuit issue featuring Phoenix staff, a secret investigation into Rebecca Chopp’s love life and a fallback plan to outsource all writing to the New York Times.

Around 9 p.m., events took a turn for the worse when Mello proposed a drinking game in which editors took a shot for each grammatical mistake in their section. Pride seems to have come before the fall. Dozens of comma splices and misused semicolons spelled certain hangover on Friday morning.

Soon afterwards, Living & Arts Assistant Editor Alli Shultes was seen standing atop the conference table extolling the virtues of a columnist whom she described as “possibly the greatest living writer of our generation,” further declaring that “he’s not a writer, he’s an artist.”

“Do you know if he’s single?” added a visibly intoxicated Shultes.

The theme of awkward power dynamics reached its peak for the evening when Opinions Editor Preston Cooper proposed a game that creatively combined strip poker and his love of crossword puzzles, the full details of which cannot be printed here.

As the situation continued to deteriorate, Mello donned a newspaper hat hastily folded from a century-old framed copy of the Phoenix’s inaugural issue. “The Daily Gazette has stolen one story too many,” declared an exuberant Mello. “I hereby declare war!”

“May your columnists always fail to meet deadlines,” shouted Mello as he faced the empty Gazette office.

The festive atmosphere of the evening was broken only once, when News Editor Koby Levin ’14 insisted on placing a call to a former writer. Despite the discouragement of his peers, Levin proceeded to leave a 15-minute voicemail in which he described the “pain of writing without you” and mentioned that “[my] heart beats more quickly when I see your name in print.”

Meanwhile, Layout editor Parker Murray ’15 alone remained focused on the task at hand. “Man, am I good at layout, or am I the best,” he mumbled to himself as he spent the next ten minutes staring carefully at the border of a text-wrapped illustration.

At press time, Shultes and Mello had ordered pizza and had begun to wonder why they had assigned writers to cover such innovative topics as “Sharples Granola Theft” and “Which Professor is hottest?”

Please turn to page 21 for an Editorial on underage drinking.

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