What Brock Vergakis loves about working at a student newspaper would make just about any student jealous.
He said he's had a chance to “impact the university, meet famous actors and musicians, cover hurricanes, travel to the Middle East, cover sports in the best conference (SEC) in the country, attend leadership and political and journalism conferences in different parts of the country, interview playboy centerfolds, meet students from nearly every major university in the nation and do more in three years than most people will do in a lifetime all because I worked at the campus newspaper.”
Now a senior, Vergakis began working at the paper in his sophomore year and has been sports editor, news editor and viewpoints editor. He said that, as editor-in-chief, he has spent a good amount of time dealing with the public and being the spokesperson for the paper. He said, “Public speaking is one of the last things people think of when they think of the editor in chief position, but it's probably one of the most important skills to have.”
He's not sure what he wants to do in the future. “The one thing I don't want to do is limit myself. The skills I've attained by working at The Gamecock will do anything but limit me.”
The goal of The University of South Carolina student newspaper, The Gamcock is becoming a daily paper. With three editions weekly now, it employs 65 students but has room for about 200.
But “nobody ever has enough writers,” Vergakis, said.
One of the most helpful tools the paper has found for recruiting is listing available jobs on the Web site. They've gotten more than 100 e-mails from people expressing an interest in working there.
“The problem comes when they realize that it actually is work up here with important deadlines, and not a high school newspaper that comes out four times a year where an adviser does all the real work,” Vergakis said.
Vergakis believes the future of newspapers and the Internet seems to be more of a complimentary system than a winner takes all one. “The Internet will never replace a print edition, but it will supplement it. If we don't have space for a story in the print edition we can always put it on-line and tell people to go to it in the print edition.”
Vergakis said having a newspaper online also helps students gain exposure for jobs and internships.
“Recruiters can now get a better idea about the quality of a campus newspaper, and thus the quality of experience one gets from working on it by looking at it on-line. With the realization that professionals have access to our work every day, as well as people literally all over the world, it forces us to do a better job.”
This is Vergakis' third year actively on staff. Most of his editors have been on board for about two years and writers last about a semester before burning out, he said.
“The biggest challenge is maintaining writers who say they can't work the five hours a week it takes to write one story. The less writers my editors have, the more they have to write themselves.”