Alum tells Chronicle staff about editing college paper

Lauren Rothman

After working from late afternoon to sometimes 5 a.m. from Sunday through Thursdays, Sammy Roth ’10 has been feeling a sudden increase in free time after his yearlong stint as editor-in-chief of the Columbia Daily Spectator ended last month.

Roth told Chronicle students in a visit to Weiler Hall Jan. 10 that he had started out as a deputy news editor his freshman year at college and became campus news editor and editor-in-chief during the spring semester of his junior year and fall semester of his senior year. He said he spent 40-45 hours a week working on the newspaper, which is a non-profit paper, financed by advertisements and fundraising.

“We have our own office, and we did a lot of ads and had a lot of fundraisers,” he said.

In addition to managing the finances needed to print 5000 copies a day of a newspaper that caters not only to the college but also to the neighborhoods near the campus, Roth said he was the public face of the Spectator.

“I went on coffee dates with student leaders and was at every open house, standing on the table telling people why they should join the Spectator,” Roth said.

Roth said he did not have the traditional college social life, but made most of his friends while working on the paper.

“Really wonderful relationships form when trying to figure out why your page won’t print at 4 a.m.,” he told the students.

A major in sustainable development, Roth said he made his academics second to the publication, but he plans to pursue a career in journalism, so he thought it was worthwhile.

“I want to report on national environmental policy,” he said.

But as he gets ready to go back to New York for his final semester, when he will take six classes to finish up his major, plus one core class, he says he is feeling the loss of his job.

“I still wake up and think, ‘What do I need to do for the Spectator today? It’s really weird,” Roth said.