Behind the scenes of Carpe Diem

Anna Downing, DEC crew

Each of Decatur’s different student groups draws a certain type of student depending on his or her interests. Most of these activities take place after school, but some are classes that meet every day.  One class meets every Monday through Wednesday and Friday during third period. This class, taught be Jon Reese, is called journalism, but its members call it “Scribbler.”


The Scribbler staff produces a school magazine five times a year called “Carpe Diem.” Sophomore Claire Weitnauer says that every time she get the new freshly polished magazine, the first thing she does is turn to the cover story. The cover picture on the magazine catches her attention, and she wants to know more about the picture.


The Scribbler staff consists of sophomores through seniors.  Every person on the staff has a certain role in producing the magazine.  There are …

1. First years, who brainstorm ideas and produce stories.

2. Second years, who brainstorm, produce stories and manage first years.

3. Third years, who do everything first and second years do, but also manage the staff.

4. Sports editors, who report on sports news and information.

5. Graphics editors, who oversee the cohesive visual look of the magazine.


At the beginning of a cycle, the whole staff is given a story idea sheet, and it’s their job to find interesting story topics.  After that, the staff gets together and votes for the stories to go into the magazine. Then the editors finalize the staff’s decision, and everyone starts working on his or her own story.


“I find ideas everywhere, from sources in and outside school, and at home. I do research on the internet, especially news sites and ‘trending topics’ and from neighborhood emails. Ideas really come from anywhere.” Lucy Phipps-Kaye, a second year staff member, said.


Each staff member has to know how to set up interviews, the basics of producing a magazine, and, of course, how to write well. “I have loved reading and writing ever since i was little” first year Swani Vinton said.


As the sports editors, senior Jake Rogers and junior Sam Levy get the latest on sports teams, talk to coaches about their teams and even about opposing coaches, and get their opinions on competition. That’s not all Rodgers and Levy do; they also help the editors with anything they can.


A story is never truly finished. “A first draft is never good. The best-case scenario would be that everything is pretty solid, but maybe it’s not long enough or doesn’t answer all the questions, [and you need to] add more, to go more into depth,” senior and second-year Hannah Reiss said.


It usually takes each person on the staff three or four drafts before a story is ready to be sent off to press.  It takes a week before it is shipped to the school then distributed to the whole student body.


“Even if i don”t have a story in it, I love the feeling of knowing it was a group effort and success,” Lucy Phipps-Kaye said. “We work so incredibly hard and deserve every moment of glory when it comes back from press. I love knowing I helped with the process, and seeing your own story is incredible. Knowing those are your words on glossy new paper is incredible. It’s an accomplishment you have to feel yourself.”


On average, many of the staff members feel they spend about seven hours a week on their story.  Sophomore Mawal Sidi says it all depends on what needs to get done. One day you could spend an hour interviewing someone who is helping you get information on your story. Coming before and after school sometimes is the way to go, because the whole staff can hang out and get their work done.


The Scribbler staff also knows how to have fun. They go on convention trips where they learn about journalism techniques, and they get to bond very closely as a staff. “Our trips are the best. Not only are we learning things about producing magazines, but we’re hanging out all together and just having fun.” Swani Vinton said.


The hard work the Scribbler staff does pays off in a notable product. “The Carpe Diem is a prestigious magazine that can be read by anyone of any walk of life,” sophomore Charlie Fisher said.