The University of Southern Indiana’s student publications committee has selected junior Shannon Hall to succeed Justin “Jimmy” Pyles as editor in chief of the student newspaper The Shield for the 2013-2014 academic year.
The daughter of Chris and Dawn Hall of Crawfordsville, Indiana, Hall is a graduate of Southmont High School. She is majoring in journalism with a minor in creative writing. As a freshman, she joined The Shield staff as a writer. She served as chief copy editor during her sophomore year and is the current editor of the Life & Culture section. Hall revised the paper’s internal style guide – a task that had not been undertaken since the mid-1990s – and established a regular review section called Music, Movies and More. She is also working with students in the one-credit Journalism Workshop course to create a database of all the student organizations on campus.
As editor in chief, Hall has even bigger plans for The Shield. This semester, the newspaper’s online content management system crashed, leaving the staff seeking an alternative digital platform for the paper’s website. The Shield’s online content is currently housed in a temporary Wordpress site. Although the publication intends to continue using Wordpress for content management, one of the challenges of Hall’s tenure will be adapting it to meet the paper’s need and retraining the staff in how to use it.
A new website will be an important milestone in Hall’s ultimate goal of creating a web-first campus news organization – publishing news online when it happens rather than holding stories for the weekly print edition. “Because we’re weekly, I feel like we don’t have daily mindsets. We need to get the writers into that way of thinking,” she said. “I write better under a tighter deadline.”
Hall and Erin Gibson, faculty adviser to The Shield, would also like to see the print publication grow from eight pages to 10. “I think it’s something we can accomplish,” Hall said. With a growing base of staff writers comes increased submissions, and, according to Hall, advertisements have been selling well. Extra space would also give editors room to publish more national content from UWIRE, the free college news subscription service. “I think we can use those to our advantage. We can take what we learn from those and then incorporate it for USI.”
In her years at The Shield, Hall has worked under three different editors and has learned from each of them what kind of leader she wants to be. Although she wants to take part in day-to-day production of the paper, she also wants to allow her staff autonomy to make important decisions. “I want to be involved, but I also want the editors to be able to do things themselves,” she said. In preparation for her leadership role, Hall will attend the Management Seminar for College News Editors at the University of Georgia in July.
In addition to her work at The Shield, Hall currently interns for Evansville Courier & Press writing for the metro desk. She completed an internship at The Journal Review in Crawfordsville in 2011, and was selected as one of 10 recipients of the highly coveted Hoosier State Press Association’s Eugene S. Pulliam internship this summer. She will complete the Pulliam internship at The Banner Graphic in Greencastle, Indiana. She is currently the treasurer and secretary for USI’s student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, which most recently arranged for a handful of journalism students to attend the Indiana Associated Press Managing Editors and Hoosier State Press Association Foundation Journalism Job Fair at Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana.
Applications for positions at The Shield are available online or in The Shield's office. To get involved, contact Hall or Pyles at 812/465-1682, or visit The Shield's office in the lower level of University Center East, room 227.
Photo Credit: USI Photography Services
Junior Shannon Hall will serve as The Shield's editor in chief for the 2013-2014 academic year.