You can volunteer for us. Today. Yes, you.
The Ubyssey is made entirely by UBC students. And while there are 10 full-time editors around to help run the paper, volunteers produce the vast majority of our content. Whether you want to write one article a semester or an article a day, there’s a place for you at The Ubyssey — this paper has survived and thrived since 1918 because it has truly been a student paper, open to any student who wants to take part.
The easiest way to get started is to sign up for our pitch lists, which is where section editors send out stories they need written, photos they need taken, illustrations they need drawn, etc., and the first person to email back saying they're interested gets to do it. If that sounds scary, don't worry — your editor will walk you through exactly what to do and answer any questions you might have throughout the process.
So, what are you waiting for?
1. How do I get started?
If you have a specific question about how to get involved that we don’t answer here, or just want to say hi, come to a staff meeting, drop by the office, or email the coordinating editor at email@example.com.
If there’s a specific section that you know you’re interested in being a part of, email one of our lovely editors. They’ll get back to you about how to get involved, and may even offer you an assignment on the spot!
2. Where is the office?
Our editorial office, aside from being the place where we create The Ubyssey, is also one of the coolest students spaces at UBC. At the very least, it’s a better place to spend lunch time than the NEST Cafeteria. Head up to the second floor of the NEST, then follow the signs to room 2208.
Our physical office is closed to the public over the summer unless an editor is in, but please join our virtual office on Discord to get information on events, opportunities and more!
3. Do I need experience?
Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nyet. In a word, none. Aside from being the official campus newspaper, we’re also the place on campus for students to learn how to do journalism. Our editors teach you the basics of the craft, and we frequently hold seminars with journalists from The Real World to improve our skills.
4. What’s the time commitment?
However much you want. If you want to write one story a semester, we’re cool with that. If you want to spend twenty hours a week in our office and see your name in the paper almost every issue, we’re especially cool with that. We also understand that school comes first, so we totally understand if you stop showing up in late November and March because of term papers.
5. When are meetings?
Meetings are off for the summer. This is where we discuss administrative issues, plan parties and shoot the shit. But you can drop by anytime! We love it when people drop by, especially if they want to help produce the physical paper on Mondays. It’s here where we choose what stories go where in the paper, design and proofread each page, and eventually send out our final product to the printers.
6. I want to help out, but I don’t know what I want to write about… Is that a problem?
Not at all. While we encourage people to propose story ideas to us, we put all volunteers on our “pitch lists,” where editors send out the majority of the stories that they want to see in their section in the coming weeks. If any of them interest you, and you’re the first one to reply, you get the assignment!
7. How can I get a job with The Ubyssey?
We elect new full-time and part-time editors every April for the new school year. These positions typically go to the most enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers from the previous year, so the earlier you start contributing and showing up around our office, the better!
8. Are there other opportunities for advancement?
Even without being an editor, there are plenty of ways to be part of the decision-making process at The Ubyssey. Students who contribute three times in a semester can become staff members, which give you an official Ubyssey email address and a vote at our weekly staff meetings.
9. Are there any specific skills you’re looking for?
Most people think a newspaper is all about writing stories and taking pictures, and if you like taking photos or telling a story, there’s definitely a place for you here. But there are other jobs that need to be done to keep The Ubyssey running which we’re always extra-gracious to get volunteers for. These include:
Illustrators: Like drawing cartoons and caricatures? Ever wanted your drawings to be seen by the entire campus? We always need people with a passion for the quill (or tablet).
Graphic designers: We like a newspaper that looks pretty. To do that, we need people with experience with the Adobe Suite. Specifically, if you have experience with InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator, we’d love to see you come by.
Web developers: While we’ve just redeveloped ubyssey.ca, our Webmaster is always looking for more people to make new templates, beautify articles and generally help run the site.