UCC Mainstream Online

What is The Mainstream?

An inside look at Umpqua's student newspaper

Photographs by Dennis Wahlman / Mainstream
Left: The Mainstream staff and adviser work during production on InDesign, a page layout program used to design the newspaper. The staff create the layout while adviser Melinda Benton helps to check for errors and mistakes. Above: Managing Editor Hannah Hawkins decides which stories will be in the latest issue of The Mainstream as she blocks the board.

I have been a part of many great teams throughout my life -- the U.S. Army, UCC Women’s 2013-14 Basketball team and various academic excellence teams. However, none compare to The Mainstream.

The Mainstream is not your typical newspaper. Not even close. Many local newspapers have pages upon pages of content regarding news, sports, entertainment, current events, features, profiles and more. The Mainstream may not rival these other newspapers in any sense but it offers a different incentive: family.

Here in The Mainstream lab, the staff is more than just a group collaborating to make a newspaper, we are a community within UCC.

Currently, we are composed of nine writers/reporters, three graphic designers, one web design editor, one photographer, one office administrator, one design editor, one assistant editor and one managing editor. In the past these numbers have fluctuated as we have also had business managers, videographers and copy editors.

Many of the students become crossed trained in other areas. For example, a writer may also work on designing a page or a designer may also be asked to take photographs. This cross training makes students more employable for jobs outside The Mainstream.

The Mainstream is also a great resume builder. The time and energy put into working on the paper can be extensive at times but shows a person can meet deadlines, is a team player, responsible, creative and a hard worker.

UCC’s newspaper is a simple eight page paper produced bi-weekly but can really pack a punch when it comes to content. It takes a team effort.

The group gathers on Wednesday of prep week and shares ideas of stories they think should be covered. The managing editor then picks the stories based on a media writing system and proceeds to “block the board.” This is the process where stories, photographs and designs get placed on certain pages and assigned to specific people. Final drafts of the stories are due one week later (Wednesday of production week) and by Thursday the graphic designers are starting layout. This is where the visual ideas on the board become a workspace on the computer. Friday is considered Production Day. This is when everything must come together and be finalized by midnight. On average we stay from 12 p.m. – 9 p.m. creating a newspaper for UCC.

Although the process from start to finish can be exhausting, the final result of seeing a newspaper is very rewarding. It is the people, not necessarily the work, which makes the experience an unforgettable time. In my eight terms of being managing editor for The Mainstream, I have worked with many different people. The team is constantly changing from term to term; however, the dynamics and camaraderie tend to remain steadfast.

I have been on many remarkable teams throughout my life but I have never felt a better fit and sense of belonging as I have while working in The Mainstream.
Students interested in being a writer, designer, photographer or a form of management should contact The Mainstream adviser Melinda Benton at 541-440-4645 or visit The Mainstream lab located in the Tech. Center room 103.