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The Daily Cal Dictionary

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MAY 15, 2019

At The Daily Californian, we have our own definitions for things. Words such as “slug,” “inches,” “budget,” “dummy” and “crops” get thrown around the office constantly, but they would probably sound confusing to someone who doesn’t work here.

“Slug” isn’t a slimy creature that you might find on your front lawn; it’s one or two words that describe or summarize a story. We use them to reference stories quickly, and they show up in the print layout when a story jumps to another page. “The reporter is currently contacting people to interview for ‘Commencement,’ ” you might hear a news editor say.

We still use inches as a unit of measurement, but they refer to how long a story is. An inch is roughly 30 words. This column is about 35 inches.

“Budget” doesn’t refer to finances, but instead to the spreadsheet where we keep our list of stories for that day’s paper. Each department has their own tab on budget, and they write in all the relevant information for each piece — the slug, writer, editor, inch count and visual. Editors might tell the managing editor, “I filled out budget for Thursday’s issue!”

A dummy is what I felt like sometimes when I realized I woke up late and didn’t have time to grab coffee before my first meeting. Just kidding! It’s a mock-up of our newspaper that shows ad placement, the number of pages and which pages will be in color for each paper. “I’m waiting for the dummy to be sent out so I can start designing,” you might hear a layout designer say.

Crops are the dimensions of each photo that goes into the paper. Layout designers create their layouts with empty placeholder frames instead of actual photos, and when they’re done, they give their crops to the photo editors, so they can crop each photo accordingly. Design editors might tell each other, “Photo is mad at me for giving them crops late again.”

But beyond these technical terms, the Daily Cal has taught me new meanings for my job title, “creative director,” and for words such as “friendship,” “success” and “grateful.”

“Creative director”: In our employee handbook, the job description says that “the creative director oversees all visuals of the Daily Cal and must verify that visual projects from all departments adhere to Daily Cal style before publishing.” But this position is so much more than that. It’s getting to know editors and staffers from every department and learning their life stories. It’s making bad puns in meetings and feeling proud when everyone cringes. It’s walking into the office every day, seeing everyone hustling to get the paper done and appreciating how lucky I am to work with so many dedicated and talented individuals.

Friendship is taking a Gig car to Ikea with Ketki and Olivia after production, getting slushies and talking about relationships. It’s resolving crises with Shannon and trying to find the bright side to every situation. It’s making funny faces with Shayann when we’ve given up on editing the editorial.

It’s going on coffee runs with Chantelle between back-to-back meetings even when we know we don’t have the time, taking too long to decide where we should get dinner each night (spoiler: It’s usually Jasmine Thai) and dancing to the Jonas Brothers together in the office at 1 a.m. when we can’t focus on our work. It’s laughing so hard I almost cry and then looking up and seeing Rina laughing at how hard I’m laughing; it’s finding solidarity in how we’re both always late to meetings. It’s Chantelle, Rina and I making memes of each other, venting until we get tired of ourselves talking and reminding each other how awesome we are when we’re having bad days.  

Success is finding what I love to do and finding the people I love to work with. I might not be graduating, but as I leave the Daily Cal and UC Berkeley, I know my experiences working here have prepared me to take on anything. I have a vision for where I want to end up, and Daily Cal has set my bar so high that I know I won’t settle for anything less. Success is scoffing at the people who say “print is dead,” because I know there will always be a place for print somewhere in the world, and wherever that is, I’ll be there, hunched over InDesign on my laptop and working my ass off.

Grateful is how I felt when the Senior Editorial Board took a chance on me — a first-semester layout designer — and hired me as design editor. And it’s how I felt again when I was hired as creative director after only working here for two semesters.

I’m grateful for Salem, the office dog, for brightening up the room as he trots around wagging his tail. I’m grateful for that moment at our semesterly retreat when I almost cried because I saw everyone gathered together and thought, “This is family.” I’m grateful for all the friends I’ve made here, who I know I’ll keep in touch with no matter how far apart we’ll be in a couple months.

I’m grateful I got to see the design department flourish under the editors after me, and I’m grateful for all the times I went by the design desk to give edits and ended up staying just to catch up with everyone. I’m grateful that I met my boyfriend here last spring when I was design editor and he was photo editor — and that he forgave me for all the times I gave him crops past deadline — and I’m grateful for all the support he’s given me (happy one year and almost two months, Joshua).

I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned from my coworkers — both about the publishing process and about life — and finally, I’m grateful for the memories.

Feeling grateful is what motivated me to work hard to be the best creative director, coworker and friend I could be (and I hope I did it justice). Even though my time at the Daily Cal is almost up, I know I’ll always carry this feeling with me.

Victoria Do was the creative director for summer 2018, fall 2018 and spring 2019. She joined The Daily Californian as a layout designer in fall 2017, becoming design editor in spring 2018.

MAY 16, 2019