Meet Sydney Otis, Editor-in-Chief of FSU’s The Eggplant

The Name: Sydney Otis

Age: 21

Year: Junior

Major: Political Science

Hometown: Sarasota, Florida

 

Meet Sydney Otis, Editor in Chief of Florida State’s satirical publication called The Eggplant. The Eggplant was created four years ago and continues to provide witty commentary to national and FSU news to this day.

 

Her Campus (HC): How did you first hear about The Eggplant? Had you been involved with anything like The Eggplant before?

Sydney Otis (SO): When I was in high school, two people who had already graduated from my high school were already working at Eggplant, so they would share articles on Facebook, so that’s how I heard about it. I had never been involved with anything like that; like, I had never done any organized comedy before, and I had never been a part of any journalism publications before. So it was totally different than anything I had ever done.

HC: How did you get involved with The Eggplant? How long have you been involved with The Eggplant?

SO: I applied my first semester of my freshman year and got in as a staff writer. So I have been involved for 3 years.

HC: What was your favorite article you’ve written, and what is your favorite article that you have read from the Eggplant?

SO: My favorite thing I have ever written for The Eggplant is definitely not the best thing I have ever written for The Eggplant. Sometimes I just can’t really come up with pitches, and one of the throwaway pitches was like this headline that said, “FSU hottest alumni is…” and when you open the article, the entire article just said your mom. So that’s my favorite article just because it was just ridiculous that it actually got published. I think the article I am most proud of is the first one I pitched to them and it got published. It was about Thrasher making students wear chain wallets to stop losing their IDs at the Strip, and I was always afraid to go back and read it just because it was my first article so I thought it would be bad. But after going back and reading it, I feel like I did a good job for my first article.

HC: What is the biggest difference being a staff writer and EIC to you? Which one do you prefer and why?

SO: When you are a staff writer, the only time you have to be thinking about The Eggplant is when you have a story going out, and Sunday 1-3 p.m. when we have our meetings. But as Editor, I always have The Eggplant on my mind 24/7. I am always checking this, checking that, like working on something for it, so that’s the biggest difference. But I definitely prefer being Editor, even though it is a lot more responsibility. I wanted that responsibility because I wanted to help keep it going. So, I like being Editor so I can see new directions we are going and what new projects we can do.

HC: How do you guys choose your topics at The Eggplant?

SO: So we meet on Sundays for like two hours and go over administrative stuff, and then we pitch headlines. We are constantly changing how we do it but there is always a Google Doc, and everyone pitches at least two headlines/ideas, and then we go around and share them all. It is really me and my assistant editor Mallorie List who have the final say, but we do try to go around to all the writers and ask them what they are really passionate about. So it naturally sets itself up for the week based on what’s funny and what’s important, what the writers like and what the editors like.

Courtesy: Sydney Otis

HC: I know you are a Political Science major. How does your work with The Eggplant work with your major?

SO: The Eggplant definitely has a lot of Writing majors, but it also has a lot of Social Science majors, and even a single S.T.E.M major, but I do think those are the two (English and Social Science) majors that are naturally drawn to a satire publication. Satire and politics can go hand in hand, so I think it relates because of my major because I tend to be ‘in-tuned’ and aware of what's going on in the world, so I think my desire to share that with other people and my interest in comedy makes The Eggplant super fun for me.

HC: Have you done any comedy events?

SO: We do our Birthday Party every year, which is a stand-up show. So my freshman year I did stand-up, which was a goal of mine to do in college so it was really cool. Ever since, I have done stand-up at every Birthday Party, showcases at the Club Downunder, and one time not on campus at Take No More Fest,  which raised money for a few different charities.

HC: What is one of your favorite The Eggplant memories?

SO: One of them would definitely be the first Birthday Party, just because it was my first time doing stand-up and I got to see these people that I really admired. They were just so good and made me want to get better and more confident. It was a really big bonding experience for me too because they helped me. So that’s pretty up there, but the funniest memory I have from The Eggplant is my first meeting. I didn’t really know what to expect, and we were told to bring in two pitches. So everyone brought their computers because it's 2015 and that’s what they used during the meetings. But I didn’t get the memo, so I typed up mine and printed them off and put them into a folder and just brought the folder, not my computer, to the meeting. And they were like, “Okay let’s get started,” and everyone pulled out their laptops, and I just had this folder. I thought no one noticed, and I blocked it out of my memory for so long until recently when I just remembered it. I was like, “Omg I have to tell the other writers about it,” but before I could one of them was like, "Do you remember when you brought a folder to a meeting?" and I was like, “I thought no one noticed!” So, like that was just a funny awkward memory from freshman year when I didn’t know what I was doing.

 

Now more than ever, Otis knows what she is doing. Not only is she EIC of The Eggplant this year, she is also graduating this semester. When asked what her plans are for after college, she says, “I want to work with non-profit groups, so I am interning at the Girls Scouts in D.C. this summer. I will probably try to work a couple of years before figuring out what I want to go to grad school for.” Good luck with your post-FSU endeavors, Sydney!