October 24, 2014

Elyria
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LCCC’s paper feels deadline pressure to cover Obama visit

ELYRIA — As Scott Mahoney planned the first issue of Lorain County Community College’s student newspaper, The Collegian, he thought there were some good stories.

One was on the entire Student Senate quitting. The other was on how deep cuts to Lorain County Transit were going to affect LCCC students, many of whom depend on public transportation to get to class. Then he got word that President Obama was coming to campus — the day before the 10-person staff had to get the bi-weekly issue to the printers.

It’s been a heady time for Mahoney, who joined The Collegian last fall as a reporter and was named editor at the end of last semester.

“I first read in The Chronicle that he was coming to Lorain County, and knew that we were a potential site,” Mahoney said. “But we didn’t know for sure until last week … definitely made this week interesting.”

The usual way The Collegian is put together had to go out the window. Instead of having a few days to edit the stories, the staff worked on a far tighter deadline — readying the pages that were written, edited and designed after the president’s visit Friday to be delivered to the printer today.

“Feels like a real newspaper,” he joked.

That made Friday a very long day for the college students.

Mahoney got up a little before 6 a.m. in order to get from his home in Spencer to the campus by 8 a.m., when he heard he had to be there. After getting there, he was turned away at the media center and told to come back around 11:30. So he spent much of the morning walking the campus, getting material for the stories.

Then there was seeing the president in person.

“It was so surreal, looking over and seeing him right there,” he said. “I still haven’t come down.”

The staff also posted to the paper’s Web site — collegian.lorainccc.edu. A few stories were expected to be online by Saturday morning, with the rest to follow.

Mahoney expected to be heading for home — and bed — not long after finishing Friday night. And then he has to start thinking about the next edition, he said.

“It’s going to be pretty hard to top this week,” he said.

Contact Melissa Hebert at 329-7129 or mhebert@chroniclet.com.