Meet Xenna Smith, a fourth-year studying communication who, for the past three years, has been the editor-in-chief of NC State’s premier literary and arts magazine, Windhover.
As editor-in-chief, Smith spends a great portion of her time communicating with the Windhover staff, overseeing the completion of tasks and organizing various workloads. Smith also overlooks Windhover’s social media.
“I'm responding to people's comments, posting things, hearing stories, making sure that we're engaging with the right audiences, following people in publications that matter,” Smith said.
Smith spends time collaborating with people, through emails and meetings, citing a potential partnership with the Gregg Museum of Art and Design, as well as an additional project alongside Windhover’s yearly publication.
Smith first got involved with Windhover during her first year at NC State. After exploring different options in Student Media, Smith decided to apply as an audio editor for Windhover. Due to Smith’s previous experience running a radio show during high school as well as her love for music, Smith was hired on the spot during an interview with the previous editor-in-chief.
During the second semester of Smith’s first year, the then editor-in-chief of Windhover started looking for potential applicants for a successor. Smith had been interested and knew that despite her lack of previous literary and art magazine experience, she could incorporate her love for media and art into the position.
When Smith was selected as editor-in-chief that spring, she immediately dove into changing the magazine for the better. She noticed that the publication had become stagnant in the years prior. Smith felt she had to do something to get people more excited about Windhover and its contents.
“My first year as editor-in-chief, we introduced the video submission to Windhover,” Smith said. “We started accepting any sort of videography from people to post on our Vimeo page. That was kind of a hit. I really loved that. Then soon after that, I started the feature section on our website called Subvolo, where we kind of get an inside scoop on artists in the area and kind of learn about their process and what inspires them. Increasing our social media presence was also really important to me, so I kind of just revamped all of the social media as well.”
Looking back at Windhover’s history, Smith thinks that Windhover needed a big change.
“Windhover really needed the consistency of someone to really establish a culture and process the way we do things and start some new fun stuff,” Smith said.
Windhover is a powerhouse of creativity. Each year, the publication has multiple committees selectively reviewing submissions, making sure that each piece is filled to the brim with artistic or literary talent, and ensuring that Windhover’s yearly print publication remains timeless.
After speaking with Smith, it’s clear that her passion for Windhover has only grown over the years and is shown in her own career prospects. Windhover’s transformation throughout NC State’s history shows sentiment to the creativity of its editor-in-chief, and the innovation Smith has fostered.