Talking to the Manager

This year is full of excitement for me because, as opposed to last year’s steep learning curve, I actually know what I am doing this year. I half-expected to feel just as lost and confused reentering the staff this year as I was last year; I had never been a member of anything close to the size of Élan, nor had I ever worked on anything so important. Simple questions—what would my job entail? What does “managing” mean?—didn’t have an immediate answer. The pressure of those unknowns was unspeakable.

Having had those questions answered by the trials and tribulations of last year, I am excited to take the lead as this year’s senior managing editor. “Managing” is a deceptive title because it does not quite mean what it appears to denote at first glance. The managing editor does not hover above the other members of Élan; nor do I “puppeteer” the inner workings of the magazine. My job is much simpler (and less nefarious) than that: communication. I am responsible for making sure the machinations of the editor-in-chief are delegated to the respective members of the staff, turning the large-scale goals of the magazine’s head into small-scale, achievable tasks.

Beyond communication within the team, my role handles communication between the magazine and our contributors. When Élan opens up the submission period, I am the one who reaches out to teachers throughout the nation (and internationally) to call for submissions. Furthermore, anytime a teen writer sends a piece to the staff during the submission period, I am the one who receives the written work and files it away for our reading process down the line. With such a complicated body like Élan, it needs a bridge between our valued writers and our staff, and I seek to reinforce and streamline that connection.

Needless to say, being the managing editor is difficult. It takes a detail-centered mind to ensure everything slides into its correct placement. The filing system must remain organized. The emails must be sent and responded to. It is a lot to keep track of. However, the difficulty just means that there is still growth to be done—for myself and for Élan. I want this year to be the year in which the intricacies of the magazine are made just a little simpler. Ideally, the work I do this year will never be necessary again in the future of Élan.

It is impossible to predict exactly the difficulties of this year, but half the excitement this year will be simply figuring it out! My junior submissions editor this year is very capable, but surely the new staff members are just as lost as I was when I joined last year. I am excited to prove yet again the potential of our magazine.

Noland Blain, Senior Managing Editor