Midnight Hour: How did you first become involved?
Gillian Brassil: I read The Indy late nights at Jo's, drunkenly doing the puzzles (which is why I'm such a strong proponent of Megaporn to this day. I thought some articles were obnoxious but that the design and illustrations were incredible. I sent a piece I'd written in high school to lit, and I sent a crazy essay about effigies to the general email. I never heard back about either, and basically thought The Indy was staffed by rude, self-involved snobs.<!--more-->
My academic advisor was Doug Brown, the head of the Writing Fellows program. Late in the first semester of my freshman year, I was complaining about boredom/not knowing cool people/any number of other things, and he told me to get in touch with Dayna about getting involved with The Indy. Despite my frustration with them, it just so happened that it was editor-application season, so I applied. They thought I was out of my mind (in part because of the effigy piece) but let me on anyway, and the rest is history. The effigy piece ended up getting published in spring of my freshman year.
Midnight Hour: What are the paper's biggest limitations?
Gillian Brassil: The fact that we're students. This means a) that it's harder to get interviews, b) that we don't always have time to report stories as thoroughly as we should, c) there's no fact-checking apparatus, and d) it's just fucking hard to do news stories about places other than Providence since travel is mostly out of the question. But -- as I tell the current MEs all the time -- you just have to come to terms with this stuff. We're never going to be able to publish 20 pages of perfect content for 10 weeks in a row, but we still run a lot of great shit and give writers a lot of opportunities, and DAMN it looks good.
Midnight Hour: What have your highest points and lowest points been in your history with The Indy?
Gillian Brassil: I'm out to pasture now as a senior editor, so it's hard not to get all misty-eyed talking about The Indy. It really has taught me a ton about writing and reporting (and I'm looking forward to doing both again this semester); churning out a page of content every week is more challenging and rewarding than any class at Brown. Also, almost of my friends are either people I met through The Indy or people I swindled into joining. It's just a great community of people.
My low point was probably my semester as ME. I spent a lot of time stressing, when I'd been dreaming of ME-ship as bonding with people and eating a lot of candy. I guess I did a sufficient amount of the latter, but I still think the experience should have been a lot more fun.
Midnight Hour: What is The Indy's future?
Gillian Brassil: Despite all the babble -- and your job, sorry! -- I think The Indy's true home is in print. The weekly format makes sense for students, since blogging requires much more frequent writing and a lot less first-hand reporting. I'm glad that we have a real internet presence now, though, and dream of the day when students realize we're not a bunch of hipster assholes and actually write some pretty solid, interesting, accessible articles. But realistically, The Indy's future will probably be the same as its past: we're all here to party, duh.