Where Pen Meets Paper - The Story of the Cavendish Chronicle

by Mara González Souto on 25 February 2016

the Cavendish ChronicleIt suddenly struck me: We work with the intangible. To create the tangible. In materializing the Cavendish Chronicle, we merged the intangible with the tangible, sculpting ideas and thoughts into a palpable product: a fresh, contemporary, “live” Lucy Cavendish experience. Along the journey, the Cavendish Chronicle has become a medium of expression and a source of information and knowledge for all members of the College.

Returning in October of 2015, the Cavendish Chronicle set itself to be a creative and informative initiative for students, fellows and staff members alike. With only one returning member in the team and little idea of where to begin, a few of us gathered to begin the steps of reinstating and shaping the college newspaper. Our first steps included the creation of a constitution and the delineation of all of the necessary positions. Still in our metaphorical diapers, we put a date on a deadline for a Michaelmas Issue. But this ambition was inevitably intertwined with doubt, fear and inexperience. For some of us, the specific roles were untrodden grounds: entirely new for our layout designer Charlotte Airey, as well as for me as editor-in-chief, with only limited experience reporting for paper and radio. Further, the endeavour was compounded with the pressure of establishing guidelines and appropriate timeframes for meeting our set deadline. Accordingly, uncertainty was palpably high.

The ultimate success in delivering our promise to the wider Lucy Cavendish College rested on two valuable assets. Firstly, the faith of students who had the courage to invest time and effort in a new initiative, as well as their confidence to share their thoughts and experiences with others. From there, the Cavendish Chronicle prospered from the continuous and dedicated hard work of the editorial team: a team always determined to produce and edit submissions, exceedingly creative in its efforts and flexible enough to respond to all range of unexpected developments. Our team has passionately sought to both live and document the realities of students at Lucy Cavendish, consistently wearing many hats at once: both creating pieces to share these views, and often encouraging and inspiring others to dare communicate them.  Jointly, these two assets have made this endeavour a reality and a source of pride for Lucy Cavendish.

Following the anticipated obstacles of the first issue, we evaluated the process and long-term mission of the Cavendish Chronicle, and set out to become more effective and efficient. Upon our return to Cambridge in January of 2016, we strengthened our commitment and, dare I share, pushed higher than before. Sub-editors Tanya Brown and Adela Ryle energized our contact with Andrew Marr and Jackie Ashley, first to repeat the previous term’s opportunity of convening Lucy Cavendish students with professional journalists, and later by engaging Andrew Marr in the creation of a Lucy Cavendish cartoon. Beyond the publication and dissemination of the Chronicle, we sought to engage our readers through a reception where students could meet our editorial team and discuss the published product, the various submissions, journalism and more. To further exceed our expectations, we were pleased to be connected with Patricia Wright, a member of the editorial team of the first Lucy Cavendish newspaper in the 1970s, (famously known as Lucely Speaking), as well as Judith Roberts, the coordinator of the college’s alumni newsletter, Nautilus. These surprising developments allowed us to forge additional connections with the College staff. Further, these new relations ultimately enabled us to invite them to participate in our events, as well as coordinate to see and share the College’s archival records of all of the Lucy Cavendish newspapers. The opportunity to tie the past with the present, in a common goal of sharing and documenting experiences and ideas, was enriching for both our editorial team and the wider Lucy Cavendish community.Journalism workshop

In two issues, the Cavendish Chronicle has engaged students in a variety of spheres: from local news and opinion, to poetry, fiction and humour. Students have raised the most challenging of questions, discussing issues at the heart of our college identity, from our general values to our sporting achievements. Beyond Lucy Cavendish, other topics covered have ranged from scientific innovations and international politics to lifestyle and culture. Creativity also found numerous forms of expression, through reviews of theatrical performances to recipes and photography. These original pieces of work truly exemplify the breadth and depth of the talent present at Lucy Cavendish.

Following the exponential growth and various achievements of these last two terms, we plan to keep the Cavendish Chronicle as a journal type of product, in order to continue encouraging students to share not only news and opinions, but also original and creative works such as travelogues, poems, and humorous pieces.  Further, we plan to continue striving for future issues in colour and small booklet-format, with a wide variety of topics. In terms of publishing, we also plan to advertise by means of sponsorships with a few businesses in Cambridge; these efforts to offset the costs of printing will enable us to increase our content and, hopefully, our reach beyond the College.

In many ways, the Cavendish Chronicle has encouraged Lucy Cavendish students and staff to pick up the pen, to dare get splattered with ink, to fasten ideas and thoughts onto paper, thereby immortalizing our presence at Lucy Cavendish. Often, these records echo the whole spectrum of experiences: from endless meals at Warburton, countless captivating talks and their associated insights, all the way down to ever-present hilarious chats, awkward moments, and a wide range of memories. We are, precisely, where pen meets paper. 

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