William Sanders, senior journalism major with the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media, is the editor-in-chief of The Daily Helmsman, the independent student newspaper of The University of Memphis. With an eye for detail and working knowledge of news writing, design and photography, Sanders coordinates more than a dozen student journalists in an effort to bring a balanced daily offering of news and sports to The University of Memphis.
Voices Blog: When did you become interested in journalism?
William Sanders: I went to high school at Evangelical Christian School and I believe they have one of the best English departments. All of my instructors were fantastic and it gave me a thing for writing stories, primarily fiction, with a friend of mine. We both eventually joined our school newspaper, The Eagle’s Eye, which was very fun to work on. Towards the end, I started to do a little bit of layout work and took some pictures. It’s kind of funny to look back on now, because my early photography was very simple and I had no idea how to work the settings. That gave me a general interest in things before I came to college, but I originally intended to go into chemistry because my mom is a pharmacist. I realized not too long after I got here that I didn’t want to sit in a lab my whole life and that was also around the time that the 2016 elections were happening, which made for a very interesting time in journalism. I figured that was a good time to jump in.
Voices Blog: How did you get started at The Daily Helmsman?
William Sanders: I took Candy Justice’s Survey of Mass Comm class and went to a panel with Helmsman reporters, including Jonathan Capriel, who was editor at the time. He mentioned that they needed a designer and I passed the layout test, which was surprisingly easy.
Voices Blog: A good journalist wears many hats. How has your background as a writer, photographer and page designer helped you along the way?
William Sanders: The original saying is “Jack of all trades, master of one,” while the whole “master of none” part came around much later. I spent a lot of time honing my writing skills, but definitely want to continue to learn more about new technology with digital media on the come up. I’d like to do more work with audio and video. We recently put together a video for The Helmsman about the new bridge opening on Southern Avenue, so that’s a good start.
Voices Blog: What do you believe is most important thing campus newspapers can do in 2019?
William Sanders: Probably one of our most important roles is to check on the administration. As independent journalists, we have pursued many stories that the University hasn’t been particularly big fans of, but it’s important for our reporters to approach things as professionals.
Voices Blog: What is your dream job?
William Sanders: The ideal scenario is for me to get a job as some combination of an ace reporter, James Bond and Sherlock Holmes.