Andrew Gillis: OU athletic’s second-most knowledgable person

Working as a college student and newspaper editor can be tricky. It can be even worse when there’s no recognition.

Meet Andrew Gillis, the Assistant Sports Editor of The Post, who’s life is devoted to class, improving his writing and the work of others.

The newsroom: not just a place to write

If you walk the opposite way down Court Street of all the people heading to bars you will come to John Calhoun Baker University Center, which inside is where The Post newsroom sits.  Going to the newsroom is not just about a place to write article but where your friends are located. Food is another factor that attracts people and  most days there is food around the room that people eat that someone else brought in.

The people of The Post

The Post has been at Ohio University for over 100 years. But with journalism being de-valued seemingly more and more by the day, it’s important to realize that it still takes a lot of work to produce content for online and a print copy.

This video talks to three students at The Post, detailing their jobs, and also what their work schedules look like each day to produce the best content they can.

My chair, my desk and my past

My chair is crooked, and the seat cushion is stained with years of ass sweat. It probably smells, but I’m so used to it I’ve become immune. My desk is empty, other than the desktop I never touch and the calendar I never flip.

Photo by Pete Nakos

On my right is a barren desk of cluttered paper, filled with previous newspapers and miscellaneous papers that should’ve been disposed of weeks ago. On my left is a bulletin board packed with engaging pictures and fascinating stories, but most of the items are old. Nothing noteworthy has happened recently.

As for the inside of my desk, it doesn’t get anymore excited. Other than the dirty mugs and South African teabags, the only tenants are charger wires, a blue pen and a handful of my business cards. Are you hiring?

This is the newsroom, and this desk and chair are supposed to be coveted by The Post Sports Editor. That’s me.

It’s a strange position. For every optimistic and promising moment on my staff, there are a dozen other stories that I’d like to forget. I’ve had good moments here — four years of hard work to improve my dream of being a professional sportswriter.

I’ve had late nights that have spilled well past early mornings. I’ve watched friends come and graduate, only for a new batch of freshman to come in and try to make an impression.

A lot of times, that sucks.

But the constant transitioning has propelled me to the top. And for better or worse, I’m midway through my second year overseeing the best sports staff of any student media outlet at Ohio University, and maybe even the state.

The thing about growth, at least in this newsroom, is the constant requirement to change and adapt. Sure, writing well is important, but what about filming and editing my own video off my phone? What about the podcast I need to produce later tonight after I write my basketball game story. Oh, and I forgot I still need to meet with the executives to find a time for plan a new radio show.

This keeps me busy. Keeping busy is nice, but sometimes it’s easy to slip behind — either in writing or in class — and suddenly feel as though I’m suffocating to survive. Three weeks in and already needing a Reading Day is hardly an indication that life is going swimmingly.

Yet I keep coming back to this chair. This desk. This stuffy newsroom with no jaded faces and no windows. I’ve grown and matured a lot the past three years. Perhaps the easiest way to see that comes from daily trips to my newsroom desk.

Daily, not much changes. Our stories still seem subpar and I still feel like I’m falling behind in class.

But the mood is changing.

I’m a few weeks away from a fresh start, where daily budget meetings to discuss indoor track and field previews disappear and pay stubs and loans start to matter.

I’m looking forward to that. My current view — my reflection on the dusty desktop screen — has long lost is lure.

The Post Newsroom: My favorite place

My favorite place in Athens isn’t a beautiful scenic view, or a place I go to with my friends, or really any of the places that makes Athens unique.

The place that I enjoy most is The Post newsroom in Baker Center, 325. It’s not flashy; it’s a room with rundown chairs and a TV that’s too old without a remote. But I think that’s why I like it so much, it’s just kind of there. It’s not too much, and it’s where I spend essentially all of my days.

When I first came to OU, I knew I wanted to join the paper and become a writer for the sports section. I was just terrified to step foot in the newsroom. I was just 17 when I came to college as an out-of-state student and I didn’t know a single person on campus. The whole process of meeting new people was pretty intimidating.

But in the spring of my freshman year, I had to edit an article with the Editor-In-Chief, Jim Ryan. I was nervous. But during my editing session, he was friendly, calm and just a genuinely good person. All of my fears melted away as I began to spend more and more time there.

Today, I’m the assistant sports editor for the paper, so being in the newsroom a lot comes with the job. I could not be happier that it does.

The newsroom was where I learned to stretch myself, where I learned how to overcome challenges, whether they related to my career or not. It’s where I spend my days doing homework, editing articles with other staff members and sometimes a late night, where I spend the majority of the night in the newsroom posting articles to the website.

When I’m not in class or sleeping, or maybe even sleeping, there’s a pretty good chance that I’m sitting at my desk in the middle of the newsroom. It can be tough, sure. But those tough moments are all worth it.

The newsroom is what I sprint out of because there’s breaking basketball news, or there’s a football practice to go to or a hockey game to broadcast. All of the memories that I’ve created at Ohio, almost eerily, relate back to the newsroom.

But I think most of all, the newsroom is where I met some of my best friends. I met some truly fascinating people in that room, some people that I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life. I get to go rant about sports on our podcast, or talk with my friends about whatever we feel like.

We spend hours together in that newsroom, for better or worse. We have meetings there, watch TV there and talk about life. Each and every day in Athens, I get to spend the day with some of my best friends.

I’m not sure how many people can say that.

Happiness and memories thrive in newsroom

What makes something your favorite place? Do you feel happy when you are there? Does it make you most comfortable? Does it help you achieve your dreams? There are so many different questions that could be asked about someone’s favorite place in Athens?

Every person takes into factor different things but for me my favorite place in Athens is John Calhoun Baker University Center Room 325. This is the location of the place that I feel happy and most comfortable.

Students work in The Post newsroom. (Photo Credit: Eric Walker)

In that room is located the newsroom for The Post, the independent student-run newspaper of Ohio University. There is not much glamour in the room as it is filled with computer and papers lying around.To me happiness is one of the most important things due to events happening in my life that had me have less value in it so know it is what I value over most things. That is why the newsroom is my favorite place as it makes me happy and if I ever am in a bad mood when I go in it will immediately change.

This is the place where I met most of my friends and helped me grow as a person along with some awesome memories. You really do get to know someone after midnight when you work together on editing the paper. One of my favorite memories in Athens happened in the newsroom after 1 a.m.It was my day to do the late night editing with a few others and OU President McDavis announced in the afternoon that he was going to leave OU after his current contract ran out. We had an idea this was going to happen but were not positive so the layout of the paper was changed greatly and meant that all the stories would come in late.

As usual everyone was late on sending in their stories so we all spent the first couple hours of the evening talking as there was nothing to do. Once midnight stories started to come in and as we all became more delirious the more important stories started to come in. Even though it was a lot of work to make sure everything was correct it was fun to edit the stories and see how each person had slightly different styles of writing that all worked.

I do not have a single memory of ever being sad when I walk into Baker 325 as even if you are not “great” friends with some of the people in the newsroom there are always things in common and everyone is in it together.

The place where my friends are and makes me happiest should be anyone’s favorite place but for me it is. Room 325 is my favorite place for many reasons and it has brought me my favorite memories.

How to have fun when you’re under 21

Curated by Elizabeth Backo and Kate Fickell

Although Ohio University has been dubbed a No. 1 party school, there is still much to do before turning 21. Athens is filled with a variety of music and art groups along with fitness centers and beautiful bikeways. Although fest season and HallOUween may seem like the ultimate party at OU, seeing a movie at the Athena Cinema or attending a football game at Peden stadium can be just as much of a buzz.

Here’s a guide for how to have fun when you’re under 21:

Performing Arts:

1. Instrumental music, located in Memorial Auditorium and the Glidden Hall (which is at the top and bottom of Jeff Hill)

Free music is abundant on campus. The School of Music hosts different events throughout the year including OctubaFest, an event dedicated to tuba playing, and the annual Jazz Festival. In addition, there are several organizations for music majors and non-majors to participate in, including symphonies and orchestras. Events and information can be found on the School of Music’s website

2. Athena, located near The Chop Shop and The Shack on Court Street

The Athena Cinema is placed among the oldest movie theaters in the nation. It has three screens and an art deco-style interior. The theater also offers popcorn and concessions. The films include documentary, independent, classics, foreign and local. Every year, the Athena Cinema hosts multiple events including Ohio University student screenings, environmental panels and the Athens International Film + Video Festival. Follow them on Instagram and Twitter to keep up with what’s happening.

3.Improv/Comedy, located at Front Room, Donkey Coffee and Baker Theatre

Black Sheep Improv, an improvisational group on campus, takes over Front Room on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. and on Thursdays in Baker Theatre at 9 p.m. The Improv troupe spends its time making jokes and trying to get the audience to crack a few smiles. Comedy groups can also be found around campus and uptown, such as the Blue Pencil Comedy stand-up group that frequently performs at Donkey Coffee and Espresso. “I think anyway of making new friends is something I would be interested in haha! I know no one.” Bethel Park High School in Pittsburgh, PA.

4. Art Barn, located down the road behind the Summit Apartments at Coates Run

The Dairy Barn Arts Center promotes artists and provides the community access to fine arts and crafts from outside the region. The program calendar that you can check out here includes international juried exhibitions, festivals, touring exhibits, programs of regional interest, live performances and activities for all ages. They have volunteer work and Kroger community awards.

5. Choirs, performing in Memorial Auditorium on College Green

The Choral Union is a large, mixed chorus of students, faculty and townspeople. The ensemble unites annually with the Ohio University Symphony to perform outstanding major choral works. Click here to check out their page and other singing and instrumental groups. “I hope to find a job and join the choir. I don’t need alcohol or partying to have fun. Yeah, those can be fun to do but also remembering things sober are much better than not remembering.” Harrison Central High School in Cadiz, OH.

Fitness:

1. Bike Path, behind South Green

When the weather is warm and sunny, the bike path located behind South Green is a go-to place for bikers, runners, skaters and walkers. The path is relatively flat with a few twists and turns. Anyone can enjoy a view of the Hocking River or witness the blooming Japanese Cherry Blossoms in the spring. It also can be used to take a trip to Wal-Mart.

2. Ping, behind Clippinger near South Green and the golf course

The Ping Center is 168,000 square feet spanning three floors with a 36 foot, double-sided climbing wall, five basketball/volleyball courts, two multipurpose gymnasiums, a four-lane indoor running track, seven racquetball courts and two fitness areas. Ping Center also provides free weights, aerobics, fitness, combative sports, dance, and meeting rooms. Follow Ping on Twitter to keep up! “I just want to take in as much as possible and find what interests me. I want to get the experience that comes with finally moving out of your parents’ house and be on your own. I love spending time in the gym.” Monroe Central High School in Woodsfield, OH.

3. Sport Fields, multiple locations described below

Peden stadium, located near the Convocation Center, has a seating capacity of 24,000 and hosts Bobcat football. Students attend football games in the fall to cheer on the Bobcats as well as collect free gear and food. The Marching 110 also plays a halftime performance that leaves the audience bouncing with excitement. The Intramural Fields are located between East Green and the Hocking River and offer individual, dual and team sports for men, women and coed teams in a variety of seasonal league and tournament formats. “I’m committed to the women’s soccer team so for fun I plan on hanging out with my future teammates.” Buckeye Valley High School in Delaware, OH.

4. Bird Arena, located near the bottom of Baker Center

Bird Arena is another outlet for people who would rather slide then run. The indoor arena provides a 190-by-85 foot surface for skaters of all ages. Bird Arena has open skate hours which can be found online and might change for the 2016-17 academic year. Skate rental fees are $3.50. Additionally, the arena offers different programs such as synchronized skating, club hockey and even beginner classes that can be taken for academic credit. You can find this icy rink at the bottom of Baker Center.

Media:

1. The Post, room 325 in Baker Center

The Post is one of several media outlets on campus. After more than 100 years of publishing, The Post is becoming a weekly tabloid with a daily digital product. The organization covers a range of topics from blog posts about pet Instagrams to political controversy on campus. The Post has several staffs that work daily to produce its product, which includes culture, sports, news, copy editing, digital, social media, design, multimedia and photography.

2. Backdrop, office located in Baker Center in room 309 or can be contacted here

Backdrop is a magazine on campus that publishes four times throughout the academic year. The magazine focuses on long-form content ranging from the history of fashion at OU to an in depth look into police officers’ K-9 sidekicks. “I also got into OSU but I chose OU over it. I am really looking forward to being involved with certain magazines on campus, especially the one dedicated to music because although I don’t play an instrument, I love all genres of music and talking about them.” Hilliard Davidson High School in Hilliard, OH.

3. The Athens News, located between Red Brick and Cats Eye on Court Street

Known for its in-depth local news reporting, The Athens News features news, entertainment and an advertising section. With Ohio University making up an important segment of the Athens County population, The Athens News newspaper is able to effectively reach both the university and community markets, according to its website. The publication has written about everything from Number Fest to the construction of uptown bars.

In case you missed it: Dads’ Weekend

Last weekend was Ohio University’s annual Dads’ Weekend.  This was probably obvious to those of you who participated, or  if you just ventured uptown to see it flooded with Levi 559s and Nike Monarchs.  For everyone who missed the excitement, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

For a pretty vanilla recap of the weekend, check out this Post article.

Did you know Alden Library put in a mini golf course for students and their dads? Check out the Athens News’ coverage here.

And finally, the pièce de resistance.  Everyone is talking about an alleged fight that occurred this Dads’ Weekend at the Overhang on Court Street that ended in a bleeding dad and a shattered window.  The Post has the scoop here.

‘Post’ issues throwback covers to celebrate Homecoming

The independent student newspaper at Ohio University has had its fair share of changes in the past 100 years.

Whether that’s been in its flag (The Post used to go by The Ohio University Post, The Green and WhiteThe Daily Yell, The College Mirror and a few others) or its staff, it’s pretty much a given that the newspaper will look vastly different every decade or so.

For those alumni that became devoted readers during their time at OU, that means returning to a newspaper Homecoming Weekend they may only recognize by name.

Page1(1943)
Photo via The Post’s archives

Knowing that, designers at The Post spent the week leading up to Homecoming crafting front pages that boasted fonts, margins and designs that were decades old (and pretty difficult to recreate.) Designers started the week with the year 1943 and worked their way up to present day. 1943’s front page was particularly challenging to mirror, as there was almost no art placed in the paper during that time.

Interestingly enough, the issue The Post used for inspiration featured a story that announced WOUB would begin broadcasting once a week on Tuesday nights, according to a Post editorial. Now, WOUB’s broadcasts can be heard in three states, and its television counterparts can be viewed in four.

The same Post editorial describes that the same front page previewed OU’s Walter Sylvester Gamertsfelder’s inaugural event, which would take   place the following week.

Monday_1943

Tuesday, The Post took its front page to the 1950s. That design allowed for more photos (and more forgiving headline space), but still managed to look out-of-place with a story about one OU student’s success with YouTube.

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For the 1970s, The Post had to travel to one of its ugliest design eras. The flag was placed just above the fold, and the text managed to wrap itself in a way so confusing the reader surely would lose track of whatever story he or she was reading and opt for another activity, instead. Luckily, The Post prevailed through that decade.

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Finally, The Post mirrored the 1990s. As one could imagine, that design isn’t too terribly different from where the paper’s at today. The reader might notice, however, that The Post employed a more modern flag in the 1990s and opted for a thinner typeface. Even so, the archives designers pulled the front page inspiration from were yellowed and worn. That front page is stiller older than some OU students.

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Bricks on Bricks: An Athens Tradition

Brick, brick, brick, brick.  -The mantra of one walking through Ohio University’s campus

Ohio University, with its brick-laden pathways and buildings, has a rich brick history. Athens is just one of hundreds of brick-faced college towns in the U.S., reflecting a bygone industry. Ohio University’s bricks have preserved this tradition.

According to Athens Ohio, The Village Years, a book written by Robert L. Daniel and found in the Athens Historical Society library, brick-building didn’t become a major industry in southeastern Ohio until the mid-1800s.

Before that time, brick-building served as a local business resource, where bricks were produced on site; it wasn’t considered a commercially viable product until the later part of the century.

That all changed when Robert Arscott built his own brickyard in the 1870s. Roughly 700,000 bricks were manufactured locally in 1850, but by 1893 that number had skyrocketed to 292 million bricks a year. These bricks were being shipped all around the world, according to a 1998 report issued by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) called The Paving Brick Industry in Ohio by Steven D. Blankenbeker.

“We don’t have seashells here in Ohio,” James Robinson, owner of Athens Block, was quoted as saying in a June 3, 2010, article from The Post. “This is almost like southeast Ohio’s version of a seashell because each brick is different.”

Southeastern Ohio became a prime location for the brick industry, based on the clay particles found underneath the hill-topped soils. In fact, the same earthen materials utilized by the coal industry – another significant trade found in Appalachia – were quite beneficial for brick production.  

Thousands of bricks were used to construct Cutler Hall, once known as College Edifice, while an estimated 8 million bricks were used to build the Ridges, home to the historic Athens Lunatic Asylum, during the 1860s-1870s.

Athens Brick Company once resided where the Athens post office sits today, on Stimson Avenue. The company churned out over 50,000 bricks a day at the height of the brick-building industry, and become a major economic force in Athens.

The first paving bricks in the state were actually produced in Malvern, Ohio, at the Canton & Malvern Fire Clay Paving Brick Company in Carroll County in 1855. These original “blocks” (short-hand for paving brick) measured only 2.5-by-4-by-8.5 inches; standard paving bricks were 9-by-4-by-4 inches, and weighed close to 10 pounds.

Unlike the 19th-century boom for bricks, brick-building isn’t considered a profitable industry in the modern era. It typically costs five-to-10 times more to pave a brick road than one with tar, according to an article published Sept. 11, 2012, in The Post.  Faced with a financial depression and the advent of asphalt roads in the late 1890s, regional brick-building facilities collapsed in the early 1900s.

Nonetheless, the brick industry remains a prominent part of southeastern Ohio history, especially in Athens County.

Ralph Bolls, known in neighboring Nelsonville as “the brick man,” takes his brick history seriously. In addition to buying, selling and trading locally manufactured bricks, Bolls is also the proprietor of the annual Nelsonville Brick Festival.

“The brick festival is largely about trading bricks and getting together with people who are interested in bricks and seeing them as not only history but a collective item,” Boll was quoted as saying in an article from AntiqueWeek.com, available at the Athens Historical Society.

The Nelsonville Brick Festival typically runs the last weekend of July, and this year was hosted on July 24 and July 25 in Nelsonville, Ohio.