The in medias res experience: Q&A with 2020/2021 Editor-in-Chief Ana Cristina Camacho

As we started the Fall Term, I had the chance to meet with 2020/2021 in medias res Editor-in-Chief, Ana Cristina Camacho. She kindly joined me for an interview detailing her experience working on the team and what she got out of her volunteer experience! Below is a brief Q&A between us for your reading pleasure.


Q: Can you explain what your position was on the team and then a little bit of what that entailed? 

A: Okay, so, I was the Editor-in-Chief (EIC), and what the EIC usually does is bring together the different parts that make up the editorial team, coordinate how that comes together to put together the magazine, head meetings, and see how all the different parts work together to result in a magazine that we’re all proud of. 


Q: What was your favourite part of being on the in medias res team? 

A: I felt like it gave me a point of connection to the university and just the university community in a year when everything was so distant. It was really the only activity I had that felt really grounded and it felt like we were, you know, students working together and having a good time and creating a real community. With publishing, I think what I always like is just that you work on something and really put the effort in, and then at the end, you see a final product and you feel so happy!


Q: What was one challenge that you faced during your tenure as EIC and what did you do to overcome this challenge? 

A: I guess COVID-19 was the most obvious one. The magazine was a print magazine at the start of the year and that wasn’t a possibility anymore, so we had to come up with alternatives. So, just the whole switch to online publishing and just building the infrastructure was really a challenge. Even just building the structure on St. Thomas More College’s website for that to happen and figuring things out like how to reach students online was tricky because everything had always been done in-person for the magazine in the past. Building a sense of community online was also necessary, but it was harder when we were so far apart.  


Q: What was one thing that you were proud of accomplishing with in medias res last year? 

A: I was really proud of the number of submissions we received, and I think that that had a real impact on how the issues looked, because we could afford to be more picky. The level of submissions was also just elevated and more polished. I’ve been involved with in medias res for a couple of years before the pandemic, so I really got to see the submissions dwindling and the enthusiasm around the magazine going down, so I was really excited and proud that by the end of the 2020/2021 year, there was a lot of interest in the magazine and I hope that this year, you’ll be able to build on that. 


Q: Do you have a best memory, or memories, of being on the team? 

A: A nice moment of the year for me was when I went to an online student journal conference and I didn’t even consider signing up in medias res for presenting because I didn’t feel like we were established enough. I was just going to see everyone else’s presentations, but when I got there and saw all the other magazines from across Canada and how they were doing, I realized that our magazine was going through the same struggles and cyclical lulls of interest that all the other journals go through. We were probably older than most of the journals there, so it made me realize that we actually have a magazine that we could be proud of. 


Another nice memory with the team was the day before publishing one of the two issues, when everyone was contributing edits on our chat and I was just trying to make them frantically. There was a real sense of teamwork! 


Q: After being on the team, what did you feel were some skills or benefits that you got from working with in medias res, and for those looking to apply, what would you say they would be getting out of volunteering with the magazine? 

A: I think I got to learn a lot more about publishing — even more than I was expecting to learn. It’s so hands-on because it’s a small team and a small magazine, so everyone is involved in it and you have to really get in there and do something to make sure everything happens in time. I really learned a lot about publishing and the production process, which I thought I had a pretty good handle on already! It was just really exciting to be part of a production process that depends that much on you. 


Q: Is there anything else that you wanted to add for our readers or for anyone looking to get more involved with the magazine?

A: I just really recommend it for people who have an interest in publishing or arts and culture, in general, to give getting involved with in medias res a shot. It’s a good place to learn. I love campus publications in general, and as an English student, I was very interested in writing and reading and art in general, but after seeing artwork from students and the general literary and arts community both on campus and in the city, my appreciation of the local arts and culture scene really grew — that’s something I’m trying to carry on this year beyond my involvement in the magazine, so it was a really important thing in my life. 


in medias res is currently recruiting for our 2021/2022 volunteer editorial board and visual art team. To learn more, click here. Applications are open until September 15, 2021.