Roundabout, a quarterly magazine at NC State that advertises for local businesses and events around campus, has a new editor-in-chief, Charles Smalls. As a third-year studying communication, Smalls took up the job two months ago and has since dedicated his time to growing the publication.
Smalls began his journey in Student Media working for WKNC, NC State’s student-run radio station, when he saw the opening for the editor-in-chief position at Roundabout and decided to apply.
“When I started working at WKNC, it was an opportunity that I didn't understand how much I was going to enjoy and something that I never knew I wanted,” Smalls said. “When the opportunity presented itself, I applied for WKNC, and I loved the job. There was also this new position [at Roundabout] that I didn't know I wanted, I thought it would be a good experience as well as a fun position to hold, so I thought ‘Why not apply?’”
Like starting any new job, Smalls didn't know what to expect. Although his part-time job had given him some experience, his ability to work with people was something he looked forward to using in his new position.
“I'm not a journalist by trade. Magazines and journalistic writing are not a specialty of mine, but as a communications major, interacting with people is,” Smalls said. “Stepping into leadership positions and dealing with people, deadlines and schedules is something that I'm used to … but it was a scary idea to have this big responsibility dropped in my lap. Even though it was scary, I just had to jump in.”
Smalls’ communication skills and ability to work with others have proved to be crucial in fulfilling his responsibilities during his first couple of months. Day-to-day tasks like applications and interviews have been a part of his daily routine, even before he officially started the job.
“Since no one was on campus last year, we lost pretty much all of our staff; we have no one on staff right now other than myself,” Smalls said. “A typical day in the position right now usually entails advertising and reading through applications, as well as setting up and running interviews. Before I was even officially hired, when I was just appointed, I had to hit the ground running. I had to create job descriptions and applications, and start advertising for those positions.”
In addition to building a new staff for Roundabout, Smalls also has other plans for the future of the publication. During his time as editor-in-chief, he hopes to develop name recognition for the magazine and get people talking about it around campus.
“I'm really excited to help establish [Roundabout’s] own place as part of Student Media,” Smalls said. “Every other publication has a strong identity in what it stands for and what it represents and I don't think Roundabout has that yet. In the future that could be one of Roundabout’s greatest points to grow from.”
In his new position, Smalls has learned many things he deems valuable both in Student Media and in the real world, like the power of connections.
“Being at Roundabout has reinforced something in me that says ‘You should never underestimate how important connections are,’” Smalls said. “It’s not necessarily knowing who to talk to, but knowing how to get to the person you need to talk to. I don't know every staff member that works for NC State, but if I can talk to people who can point me in the right direction, eventually I'm going to get to the right person. The more people that I know or the more relationships that I have, the easier it's going to make my job in the future.”
Ultimately, Smalls’ learning has led to his growth, both with Roundabout and himself. His first two months of holding an editorial position have helped him learn more about himself, his interests and Student Media as a whole. The skills he is developing, as well as his work in creating a name for the publication, will surely lead to the growth of Roundabout during his time as editor-in-chief.