College fourth-year Ivy Smith, a History major, has served as The Oberlin Review’s production manager since summer 2020. Smith first began working as a production editor for the Review in the spring of 2018 and has seen the paper go through many changes. Production editors are responsible for copy editing and fact-checking content, and as production manager Smith oversaw this process and kept it running smoothly.
You’ve been on the Review for three years now. How have you seen production change with different production managers?
I think when I started as a production editor, I felt very much like there was a divide between section editors and production. I think it is nerve wracking to talk to section when you’re a little production editor. When I started, it felt like there wasn’t really a huge connection. I think last year people made a lot of efforts to change that. We started having more Review hangouts outside of the office. The previous production manager, Devyn [Malouf, OC ’20] did a really good job of bridging the gap between section and production. Then with this year too, it definitely seems much more like a community with everybody.
In terms of your time on The Review, what have you done that you were really excited about?
Obviously I think everyone wishes this year would have been different, but in the same way, we managed to find a way to have fun. The production fourth-years have had a few hangouts where we’ve watched Star Wars. And so there’s been ways that we’ve stayed friends and everything which I’m very happy about and I feel lucky.
Given the circumstances of this year, how has doing production been a different experience?
Well, it’s much more individual now. In past years, if you didn’t know the correct decision for an edit or wanted to kind of crowdsource people’s opinions about how to change something, you could. This year, you can’t, you have to really make those decisions individually. Which has been harder for a lot of people. It feels very by yourself a lot of the time.
Would you have any advice, or thoughts on doing the job of Production Manager?
Just be passionate about it. It is a time commitment and it is a big responsibility and I think as long as you really love the Review and you want to be there for the people working in production, you’ll do a good job, but be passionate about it. And then obviously know the style guide, have that open 24/7.
In terms of changing the style guide, how has that evolved over the years and have you noticed any contentious style changes or things like that?
Well I always remember Devyn hated parentheses and she would always get mad when we used parentheses. Literally anytime I write a parentheses in anything I think about Devyn. The big contentious style guide thing for me is ’COVID’ all caps versus ’Covid’ just the ’C’. That I’m still not over. But I think style guide controversies can be fun, they’re a good way for people to think about style and be passionate about it. I think at the end of the day, we always end up making the right choice.
If you were a specific Review style guide rule, what rule would you be?
The thing that I always find myself being really specific about is making sure all the apostrophes are consistent, and I don’t even think that’s even in the style guide, but sometimes they’re straight and sometimes they’re curved, and I hate it when they’re not consistent throughout a piece. I think that’s probably my thing. Yeah. They should always be curved. The straight apostrophe just looks bad. It looks unprofessional in my opinion.
Do you have any parting thoughts, anything that you want to say that will sit on the record for all of history?
I’m just really proud of what we’ve done this year. I know it’s been really hard for everyone to continue to keep this community alive, and this paper to the level that we feel it should be kept, amidst everything else going on. And I think we’ve done a really good job and it’s definitely something to be proud of. Everyone should be really proud of it.