Campus Staff Writer Spotlight: Ryan Connelly
Campus is starting a new spotlight series where we interview our very own staff members! For our first installment, we got a chance to chat with Ryan Connelly, an EHS senior who’s been writing for Campus since the eighth grade.
When did you join Campus? What drew you to it?
My first article I actually wrote in, I think, 8th grade. I had always really enjoyed reading Campus, especially the satire section. I remember checking the stands each day expectantly, and, eventually, I decided to write an article of my own. The outdoor cafeteria had just been renovated and specifically this bush in the middle was replaced by a small tree, which is there now, and I wanted to write about that.
What were your first pitch meeting and article writing experiences like?
In my first pitch meeting, everyone was really accepting of my idea. I had a lot of fun writing it, I think I styled it as like a breaking news story, “Cafeteria Bush Unexpectedly Dies” or something like that. The problem was that a few weeks after I pitched the idea George H.W. Bush died, so they didn’t publish my article out of respect. I think the first article I wrote that actually did get published was about school lunch, but I’m not sure.
I actually really started writing in earnest last year with my article on the school bond.
What do you generally cover for Campus?
Nowadays, I generally cover local stories. For example, I wrote about the abandoned European health spa on Central and the Patio.com renovation. I’m particularly proud of the Patio.com article because I reported it would get renovated before renovations actually started. Currently, I’m writing a history of Frank and Joe’s.
What is your favorite article you’ve written for Campus? Tell us about writing it.
My favorite article I’ve written is my Patio.com article. It turned out really well, and, as I said earlier, I’m happy that I got the read on renovations. But it was also really fun to write. My favorite part of writing is always research, and for that one I did a bunch. I ended up cold calling their phone to get a manager, and then I talked to them. It was really cool to do, and the response was really nice as well.
What is the best thing about Campus?
I’ve always loved the responses I get to my articles. I remember specifically after my health spa article, I had a couple teachers (some of whom I’d never had) email me to say how much they liked it. That was really nice. As I said earlier, I also really enjoy researching. It’s really amazing how much stuff you can find online. For example, for my health spa article I went onto the assessor's office website to look up property values. That probably sounds boring on paper, but at the time it felt like I was some kind of detective.
What advice do you have for new Campus writers?
Find a niche. Some people do advice columns, some interview teachers, I do local issues. If I wanted to read the national news I’d just check The New York Times. The best Campus articles are those that you can’t find anywhere else.
Why should someone join Campus?
For me, it’s the joy of being published. I don’t want to sound too vain, but having my peers and teachers say how much they liked one of my articles is always extremely gratifying. I also really enjoy the writing process itself.