Sara Goodie, Clarke Central High School senior, is editor-in-chief of the iliad literary art magazine, a student-run publication of art, photography, writing and design. After graduation, she hopes to attend Barnard College in New York City to study psychology and medicine.
Describe the position you hold within your publication. What are your responsibilities? What’s your favorite part of the position? What do you find the most challenging?
As editor-in-chief, I act as the face of our publication. With the collaboration of my leadership team, I am responsible for planning and leading club meetings every week, recruiting and communicating with our adviser, as well as selecting submissions to go into print. Writing and free expression has always been a passion of mine, so working with so many artists with different backgrounds and styles is exhilarating for me. Though it is difficult to coordinate the activities of the iliad—it is an after-school club, so meetings are sparse compared to regular classes—I am excited to see what wonderful pieces we will find and publish this year.
Tell us about a project you’ve worked on recently that you’re especially proud of. How did it come together? What did you learn from the experience?
Last year, I was the viewpoints editor of the Odyssey newsmagazine. During that time, I worked on an in-depth features story about synesthesia as I experience it and the other forms in which it manifests itself. For the visual component, I worked with a cartoonist who used her artistic skills to illustrate what words look like to me in accordance with my grapheme-color synesthesia. It was mystifying to watch the images in my head work themselves into the physical world. I would describe the images and she would make sketches, and we would critique and adjust each one until it was just right. The year was coming to a close so the package is not yet finished, although we plan to post it online as soon as possible. The process made me realize 1) how incredibly important artists are and 2) how long it can take to get a piece of work right. These lessons will stay with me as I work to compile a literary magazine.
How has SIPA helped you improve and evolve as a journalist or editor?
I joined the Odyssey Media Group as a freshman terrified of journalism, my fellow staffers and my own capacity for failure. But at SIPA, I felt like everyone was on a level playing field. We were all going to sessions and racing to finish TOP (Team On-Site Production) competitions and generally trying to learn and grow in our craft. I met people from across the region doing some things just like I was, and doing other things I had never imagined. There were people from broadcast and yearbook and all these facets of journalism I hadn’t experienced, and they led sessions that blew me away. SIPA sparked in me the confidence and drive I had been craving to branch out and see what I could do. I started bonding with my staff and taking risks in the projects I worked on. Since that first SIPA, I have held five different editorships. I owe a significant part of my dedication and my passion for journalism to SIPA.
What are your goals as a SIPA student officer?
It’s cheesy, but I want to provide every attendant with the wonderfully immersive experience I got from SIPA conventions. And more than that, I want to keep that opportunity going through all four years of high school, throughout the different fields of scholastic journalism represented in our region. That means introductory and advanced sessions on underrepresented areas, such as literary magazines, broadcast, multimedia, business initiatives and other topics. I plan to connect with journalism students and advisers about what they learn and what they hope to see the next year, and use real feedback to provide what knowledge our constituents can benefit from. Communication between SIPA executives and the members of the region is key to a successful convention.
What SIPA events have you attended? What are some of your favorite memories from those events?
I have been at every SIPA convention I was eligible for, starting in 2014. Each one has provided a new form of inspiration and drive in my journalistic career. As a freshman, I opened my eyes to how massive journalism was and how passionate everyone was about keeping it going. The next year, I saw the incredible projects people were working on and new and exciting ways to tell a story. But my favorite SIPA was in 2016 because of my campaign. So many students my age came to me for interviews and pictures for articles they were working on, and I realized how professional everyone was as I experienced it from the other side. They were polite and well-spoken and such models of rectitude. Beyond work, my staff and others were so supportive of my efforts, and even my opponent at the time reached out to me and calmed me down as I collected myself before my speech. I felt what a community SIPA was, and I was so excited to become a factor of that unity.
What advice would you give to other student journalists?
It is so important to find your passion within journalism and hang onto it. Being a responsible, balanced journalist can be one of the most delicately difficult tasks in the world. But if it weren’t, it wouldn’t be so rewarding. Yes, it can be frustrating and anxiety-provoking and sometimes you can be pushed to the edge of quitting. Some articles and packages don’t work out, even when you’ve poured your heart into them. On the other hand, a lot make it. Once a story is done, and you communicate so effectively with your community, and everyone listens to what you’ve shown is important? That’s when you know you’ve done your job. That’s when you know the gratification of being a journalist. Nothing in the world feels like that. So keep pushing until you feel that sense of overwhelming satisfaction, and then keep pushing until it happens again.
Tell us something personal. What’s your favorite color, song or store? What’s your go-to fun fact?
I lived in England for three months when I was 11. My dad is a professor at the University of Georgia, and he taught at Oxford University with the study abroad program. The whole family went along, and while we were there, I went to school with English kids and picked up on the accent. We traveled around the country and visited Paris and Prague, and all that exposure to culture and art is what first inspired me to appreciate the finer beauties of the world.