Twelve cherubs published photos or articles in local news outlets during their stay at Medill.
Elliot Wailoo wrote one of four articles selected for The Daily Northwestern’s website. After talking to his instructor, the two determined the news peg in his feature story was worthy of a bigger audience.
Wailoo said The Daily’s fact-checking process was more intense than he was used to.
“Every single fact was examined,” Wailoo said. “For every proper noun, I had to bracket two links to websites where it could be checked. It was a long, tiring process, but important because you don’t want any mistakes.”
Along with Wailoo, Emma Mitnick had success publishing with The Daily after submitting her color story on the Evanston Fourth of July Parade.
“My instructor pitched it to the editors of The Daily Northwestern,” Mitnick said. “They had to call me for accuracy, and they needed the email of a source. I’ve never had an experience with that kind of fact checking, so that was fun. It really gave me an inside look at an editor’s world.”
The Daily summer editor Khadrice Rollins said the newspaper typically only runs cherub stories covering the annual Fourth of July parade.
“After I make a decision on whether or not the writing is good enough, I look to see if there’s actual news behind the story,” Rollins said. “We already have a base of freelancers to draw from who are going to be offering up publishable content on any given day, so we don’t normally run a bunch of cherub stories.”
Marissa Martinez, Erin Edwards and Leah Graham reached out to alternative organizations with a collaborative piece on an Evanston Black Lives Matter rally. Edwards and Martinez worked together on the writing while Graham supplied the photos.
After a night full of phone calls and emails to different publications, the article was accepted by Evanston Now, a local online publication.
Bill Smith, founder and publisher of Evanston Now, said his process was simple: an editor read through the story, and after doing some rounds for photos and information on the reporters, the article was published.
“They pitched a story I had kind of wanted to cover but hadn’t been able to get to,” Smith said. “Since they got to me reasonably soon after the event, I figured we should get something done on that.”
Martinez said she and Edwards were up until 2 a.m. writing on the day of the rally in order to crank out the story while it was still relevant.
“With high school newspapers you have three, maybe four weeks to write stories, with extra time to edit and talk to new people if possible,” Martinez said. “Only having one day gave us a lot of adrenaline.”
Martinez added that the teamwork aspect helped her through the time crunch. Though the experience was somewhat stressful, she said that the overall results were worth it.
“We were all working equally hard together, and that level of community is something I’ll definitely take away from cherubs in the future,” Martinez said. “The fact that we were able to collaborate on something so equally and effectively, and then get it published within 24 hours was really cool.”