The All-Encompassing Guide to Writing Your First Spectator Article

How to ace the school newspaper—all 13 departments!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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By Ori Mermelstein

You saw the posters, you went to recruitments, and you listened to the Sports Department talk about how they’re “the real front page of The Spectator” while everyone else dozed off. You wasted away at applications that suspiciously made you sign away your intellectual property rights, but it was all worth it because you finally got the e-mail: “Congratulations! We have accepted your application to write for The Spectator.

So, what’s next? How do you impress your sleep-deprived editors with the best article ever written about High School Musical: The Musical: The Series? How do you submit an art request so creative that it will prompt the next generation of Rembrandts? Do you even know who Rembrandt is, and why does he look like Robert de Niro as a chimney sweep? Did you catch so many mistakes on the Layout application that the whole paper was covered in red marks? How do you wow the Editors-in-Chief so much that they promote you to CEO of The Spectator? Don’t worry, all the answers are here. This is how to ace all 13 departments of the school newspaper!


The key to writing a good News article is to NOT read the news. Form your own opinion, and be absolutely subjective. “Facts” are just a funny way of saying plagiarism. If you are completely lost about current events, The Onion is a reliable source of information to familiarize you with the basics.


Absolutely SPAM the Facebook groups begging for someone, anyone, to respond to your prompt: “Are Bert and Ernie dating, or are they sworn enemies?” You’d be surprised by how many people have a strong stance on this.


A successful humor article boils down to a specific equation: three jokes about freshmen, one about sophomores, four about juniors, two about seniors, and one about Mr. Moran. Don’t forget five mentions of sleep deprivation, two separate uses of the word “rizz,” and maybe even a meta-reference to the Humor Department itself.

Defend your music opinions to death, even if they ruin you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a good take or not; all that matters is that you are sure that you are unequivocally right. Country will always be the best genre. Machine Gun Kelly is the only good rapper. Taylor Swift is actually a stack of turtles in a glittery bodysuit.


George Washington once said, “Dude, an opinion is only good if nobody asked for it. Rock on or whatever. I’m the guy on the money.” Be sure to write about the most random topics. You’ll definitely capture everyone’s attention. 


RAHH! SCHOOL SPIRIT! A good reporter always tries to play devil’s advocate. Boo our team. Sabotage the playing field. Reveal all our athletic secret weapons to Brooklyn Tech. Don’t root for us, are you crazy? 


Little known fact: STEM is really underrepresented at this school! You’re breaking boundaries and that’s super cool, so just keep doing what you’re doing.


You and the two other people in the department are doing really well. Proud of you guys <3


Writing’s not that easy. That’s why Grammarly can help. Or whatever it is that you guys do. 


If you truly wish to do layout work, work your way up to editor first—the members are simply members in name. In the meantime, be sure to practice pulling all-nighters, because that’s what you’ll be doing as an editor. But hey, being the Stuy student that you are, I bet you already have tons of experience with that.  


Put your heart and soul into photography. Carry around your cool expensive camera everywhere. Obsess over every little detail. Color-grade your work to perfection. Know that it will be printed in grayscale and weirdly blurry. Relish it. 


I have nothing to say except please drink water. Not coffee, not Monster Energy, not your own tears, but water. 

And that is your one-step guide to working your way up to the top of The Spectator food chain! Follow the directions to a tee and you will no doubt become the best member this school has ever seen. And if you didn’t get into Spec, count yourself lucky and try again next time.