The O'Colly is a learning laboratory for SMSC students

At the O’Colly, every day is different than the last, and this student-run newspaper makes a big impact on the OSU campus and Stillwater community.

Stetson Payne, the editor-in-chief for the O’Colly, has been working for the O’Colly since his freshman year.

“There are no two days that are alike,” Payne said. “There are days more crazy than others; the news determines what kind of day we’ll have.”

The O’Colly is the official student-run newspaper at Oklahoma State University. Writers for the O’Colly are able to gain real-world experience in journalism by covering breaking news, meeting deadlines, creating content and interacting with their target audience through social media.

“I’ve covered so many big stories and small stories, that once I get a job, I know I’ll be able to handle whatever they throw at me,” Payne said.

To decide what stories to write about, the O’Colly uses a combination of press releases and looks at the different events on the university calendar. Half of the stories are assigned by the editors, while the other half are stories being pitched by the reporters.

“A lot of the time, they will send out a budget with a list of things they want written and times they need it done by,” Lori Covey, a reporter for the O’Colly, said.

However, the O’Colly also allows for reporters to be creative and come up with their own stories. Covey was able to write her own article about the LGBTQ community in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

“It gave me journalistic freedom because a lot of the time they give you assignments but this was fun because it was my own idea, and it was on my own time,” Covey said. “They always tell us that if you have an idea for a story, tell us and we’ll go for it, so there is a lot of flexibility there.”

At the O’Colly, there are two different types of reporters. There are beat reporters, which specialize in one specific area such as sports, crime, or entertainment. There are also general assignment workers, which are typically the new reporters, who are tasked with reporting whatever story needs to be done that day.

“We live and die by the general assignment workers,” Payne said. “If we have a lot at the start of the week, it’s usually a much easier week.”

It is easy for current students to join the O’Colly and gain some experience in journalism.

“Anyone can do it,” Covey said. “You literally need to just walk downstairs and tell them what section you want to write for.”

Working for the O’Colly can look good on resumés, especially for those who are in journalism. Writing for the O’Colly is also an important benefit to any portfolio.

“For jobs, you have to have a portfolio,” Covey said. “It’s nice to have things already published to showcase my work, and that’s why I think most students should write for the O’Colly.”

Barbara Allen, once a student editor in the late mid- 90’s, is now the the adviser for the O’Colly.

“Students can make mistakes, learn from them and grow,” Allen said. “The O'Colly is here at OSU as a learning laboratory for students.”