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Reporting from Antioch: Soleil Sykes ’18 at The Antioch Record

 

The Record is the newspaper of choice for discerning readers in the Antioch College community. Published bi-quarterly in print and with extensive online archives, The Record is the definitive source for an unfiltered, Communications Department-free look at current campus events. Editors Soleil Sykes ’18 and Kijin Higashibaba ’16 stand at the helm of this publication.

“It is an absolute thrill,” said Sykes, a second-year Political Economy major at Antioch. “There has definitely been a learning curve, but it is fantastic to produce a quality newspaper.”

The Record’s commitment to producing quality, holistic journalism manifests in the Mission Statement, which also emphasizes The Record’s autonomy.

“We walk a fine line, as far as independence from the College is concerned,” said Sykes. “Obviously, as journalists, we strive to ensure that our reporting is fair and answers serious questions. On the other hand, my salary comes from ComCil. It’s an interesting situation.”

According to Sykes, balancing her different roles on campus is one of the most personally challenging parts of her co-op so far.

“I have started seeing everything as a potential story,” explained Sykes. “Even when I am just relaxing with friends, someone will say something and I immediately make a mental note to follow up and investigate a bit more. That curiosity, it becomes an attitude (and probably obnoxious to the people around me who just want to chatter in peace!).”

“Soleil’s a really great co-editor,” said Higashibaba. “She’s eager to learn, which I think is the best quality you can have in a leadership position.”

Sykes’ role as editor involves a variety of tasks.

“No day is ever the same,” she said.

Over the course of a week, Sykes solicits advertisements from local businesses, contacts potential contributors for art, poetry, questions, and various other letters from the community, works with staff writers on story assignments, attends campus meetings, updates The Record’s website, and answers emails.

“Long term, we are working on building a subscription service that will enable Antiochians around the world to receive The Record and help us move towards financial independence and sustainability,” stated Sykes.

Her first co-op laid some of the groundwork for Sykes’ work.

“Previous experiences on co-op and in jobs really prepared me for the outreach associated with this position,” said Sykes, “even though in many ways this feels like a departure from my last co-op. I guess I am going wide,” referring to the co-op mantra of exploring a variety of different co-op opportunities.

Sykes views this co-op as the opportunity to explore an aspect of political and civic life that she might not otherwise experience.

“At first, I didn’t think this position would have much to do with my long-term career plans,” she said. “But the press is such a critical component in a politically healthy and active society. Dealing with power hierarchies, speaking with a variety of community members, and striving to understand and analyze policies and events is as much a part of journalism as policy work.”

In the end though, Sykes just wants to publish a paper that is interesting and does not contain errors.

“We are working on final edits for the first issue of the quarter. I practically sleep with my AP Stylebook. I’m a bit paranoid about misrepresenting something or putting a comma in the wrong place. This paper means a lot to the Antioch community, so there is some pressure to make sure that it’s a good read. It’s stressful, yet so invigorating.”

Sykes’ final words to the community?

“Send stuff in! Letters, poetry, drawings, scribbles that you made on the back of your Global Seminar homework – The Record wants it all. This paper doesn’t happen without the community.”

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Soleil Sykes is Political Economy major with a French Language Focus. While at Antioch, she pursued her interests in foreign and defense policy through the co-op program. She co-oped most recently as a State Department intern with the Political Section at the U.S. Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Previously, she worked as the government relations intern at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington, DC, an intern ("Praktikanten") for the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung's Washington office, and as the co-editor of The Record, Antioch College's newspaper. She was involved in community governance reform at Antioch College, with a focus on increasing democratic engagement, and volunteered at her local parish.

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