By Alex Kopish, Editor in Chief
Shelby Larson’s strong passion for writing has made her the editor-in-chief of not one, but two newspapers.
“Mr. Beltmann asked me if I ever thought about being a writer. I had thought about trying it but I never thought I was good until he told me I was,” Larson said, remembering her 10th-grade English teacher.
Larson, an East graduate, is the new editor-in-chief for The Fourth Estate, the student newspaper at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. However, it is not the first time Larson has been editor of a newspaper. She was first the editor-in-chief of The West Bend Current.
Larson was the editor of The Current her senior year, before graduating in June of 2012. She started working as editor of The Fourth Estate this past September for the 2014-2015 school year. In May of 2015, she will have to renew her contract in order to continue being editor in the 2015-2016 school year. Larson is able to work as editor until she graduates from UW-Green Bay in 2016.
“I started with a personal profile of someone in my grade and after that I fell in love,” Larson said about her start working for her high school newspaper, which was advised by her East English teacher Eric Beltmann. “I knew at this point that I wanted to be a journalist, at least for a pastime.”
Larson said that by the time she was a high school senior, she was absolutely ready for the opportunity to become editor of The Current.
“I wanted to do it because I wanted to see it thrive,” Larson said. “I knew I wanted to do something with journalism in college and what better way to prove myself to a college paper.”
To become the editor-in-chief for The Current, Larson was up against one other student. “I was extremely nervous when I was being asked all the questions because I wanted it so badly,” Larson said about her interview for the position. “Finally, I stopped worrying about what they wanted to hear and just spoke from the heart,” said Larson, who strongly shows her passion for writing.
Larson had a tough job as the editor of The Current. Back when she was editor, in 2011-2012, The Current was still a printed paper. “Basically, whatever needed getting done I had to make happen so the paper could come out on time,” Larson said.
To become editor-in-chief for The Fourth Estate at UW-Green Bay, Larson had to go through a familiar process. “I presented in front of a class and then again in front of a board of people who voted,” Larson said. “I was against one other person again, and again I was extremely nervous.”
Larson is her own biggest critic when it comes to her writing and leadership skills. “I will be honest,” Larson said. “I don’t think I would have applied unless the adviser pulled me aside and told me to apply because she could see I would be good at it.”
“I started with a personal profile of someone in my grade and after that I fell in love with journalism.”
– Shelby Larson
“We have the same layout program at The Fourth Estate that we used at The Current, so that was an easy transition,” Larson said. However, Larson found that she had more responsibilities with The Fourth Estate. “I handle the hiring and, unfortunately, the firing of writers and editors,” Larson said. “I have more professional responsibilities here, whereas at The Current, Beltmann would handle most of the behind the scenes work.”
“When she was editor, I could always count on Shelby to race around the school checking facts, taking photos, and getting extra quotes for articles. She was a true go-getter, and I couldn’t be prouder that she’s now leading the Green Bay paper,” said Beltmann.
Larson was admitted into the education program at UW-Green Bay. “I want to be a high school English teacher,” said Larson, “but if for some reason the teacher thing doesn’t work out, I could also work at a paper. I’m okay with that because I love writing.” When asked if she were going to continue journalism, Larson said, “ I might if my job takes me there.”
“I loved the writing part the most and I miss the fact that I don’t really write anymore,” Larson said. Now that Larson is the editor-in-chief, she takes pride in different aspects of journalism. “The part I enjoy the most is seeing a finished product come out after I know I worked my butt off to make it happen,” she said.
Larson has a lot of advice to give to The Current staff, including, “Work hard and put all you have into it because in the end it has your name on it.” Larson knows that feeling firsthand. “The satisfaction of seeing my name in the corner and seeing people read it on campus, always puts a smile on my face.”
The Fourth Estate has six sections: News, Sports, Opinion, Entertainment, Life (which includes campus events and programs hosted by organizations), and 4Play (a section for reviews of restaurants, movies, TV shows, books, etc.). The Fourth Estate highlights campus events as much as possible. One thousand copies of the 12-page paper are printed each week and distributed around the UW-Green Bay campus. There are reserve copies printed and sent out to people on a mailing list and the paper can also be viewed online.
(Top image and Fourth Estate logo courtesy of Shelby Larson.)