Meet Thursday’s USC Editor!

Mateo Gutierrez, a junior majoring in journalism, shares his editing process and what motivates him as an editor.

Why did you choose to become an editor?

I was MJ last year for Annenberg Media, and I really enjoyed being in the Media Center and liked having that experience of being a writer and of a professional newsroom. I am somebody who wants to be a journalist as a career. So getting experience in the official newsroom like what Annenberg has was something I really want to do, and the fact I could do it here for Annenberg Media, like a publication I already worked for and kind of know what it is, I was interested in it.

Why be a USC editor specifically?

I thought out of all the different sections, I thought [the USC desk] was my strongest suit because I knew that I also wanted to work with MJs. I was MJ so I wanted to help younger people know what to do and be a mentor in some way.

What is your favorite part of being a USC editor?

My favorite part of it is just like being in the Media Center the whole day from 8am to 5pm, and talking with all the MJs, talking with all the other editors in the Halo, seeing friends [and] getting familiar with people. Everyone I work with is super nice and fun to hang out with and be with [and the] MJs, they’re super fun too. It feels like it’s like a day outside of school where I don’t have any school, classes [or] obligations. But I have my work that I actually enjoy doing for a long time.

How do you recognize what is or is not a good article?

When it comes to pitches, me and Kennedy, the other editor, will always look at pitches and we’ll think, will people want to read this? Is it important for people to know? Whenever we give a pitch or a story to someone, we have them make sure they’re clear on the angle they want to go into.  Once we get a draft back, we’ll edit it for grammar and maybe some sentence changes like word choice. But in terms of the bigger picture, like structure of an article, if we can tell that maybe the most important information isn’t like first, or maybe there’s too much background, or you’re missing details. Then we’ll talk with the writer and be like, you should get more of this, or you get more interviews. I will say I don’t think I’ve received an article yet that’s been a bad article.

How do you edit an article without removing the original author’s voice?

I know when I was an MJ I was always worried that my articles would not be my voice. So whenever we edit, I’ll always want to not rewrite completely, but maybe restructure some of the paragraphs. If certain paragraphs need rewrites, I would just leave a comment on the paragraph and say, Hey, could you rewrite this so it says something similar to this? And I explain why. I never want to fully edit a paragraph and make it my own writing.

What are you hoping to do after school?

After I graduate, I want to go abroad to Europe for a couple months and venture around the world. I’m not somebody who’s looking to join the workforce or get a job right away. I want to explore a little bit and go to some places I haven’t seen. After that, I’d want to become a sports journalist in some way. I could see myself working for a big publication like ESPN or Bleacher Report, The Athletic or something. I’m just definitely someone who really loves sports and really loves writing.

What can Annenberg Media do to better engage the surrounding community?

Something that I do think we could work on [is] reading different types of newspapers that aren’t the LA Times, or USC publications. I think that we could do a better job at reading smaller publications like LA Taco, or about the communities around us like Exposition Park or South LA and get more stories from that area, because there’s a lot that goes on over there that we don’t really report on too much.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to become an editor?

Definitely become an editor just because it’s really fun. And it’s a really interesting experience to be an editor instead of a writer, especially if you’ve been around here for a long time. It’s cool to be on the other side of it. It opens your eyes to a lot of different styles of writing and it could help you improve your own writing.

What would you ask other USC editors?

What motivates you to wake up that early and come to the Media Center? Because I will say a lot of times I’ll wake up at seven, I’ll be in bed and I’m like, I really don’t want to get out of bed, it’s way too early. But for me, I love working here. I love coming in at eight and getting coffee from Illy. The whole routine that we have as editors in the Media Center, I love it personally.