The Eagle Explains: Our contributing program, explained

By: Clare Mulroy, editor-in-chief, (

When I came to American University as a freshman, I knew I wanted to get involved with student media. After attending a School of Communication welcome event, I knew that The Eagle was the organization I wanted to get involved with. But I also felt overwhelmed with beginning this new chapter in my life, and wanted to adjust to living away from home for the first time before jumping into a big commitment. 

When I found the contributing program at The Eagle, it was the perfect opportunity. I could write a few pieces without feeling obligated to work every week. I could ease into working for The Eagle the same way I was easing into college life.

Now, as editor-in-chief, I want to extend the same opportunity to every student at AU. With a staff as large as ours, my intention with the contributing program is to give students a chance to try out working for our publication so they can decide if they want to apply for full staff during the next application cycle. At the very least, it’s extending a chance for students to try something new.

Here’s how it works: Prior journalism experience is not required for contributors. Each section has weekly pitch meetings. There, you can meet the editors, pick up an assignment and get started. There is no obligation to attend every meeting. It’s a small time commitment and you can start whenever you’d like by attending a pitch meeting.

This semester, our new program allows contributors the chance to become part of staff in the spring with an expedited process for contributors who attend at least three pitch meetings and produce at least three articles throughout the fall semester. Though acceptance is not guaranteed, dedicated contributors can apply with the application our full staff uses in November. 

Being a contributor also means you have the flexibility to try out different sections until you find one you’re passionate about. While we hold contributors to the same ethical code as our staffers, including not writing for the news and opinion section, you’re welcome to try your hand at coverage of an on-campus speaker one week and an album review the next. 

While being a contributor may not be a full-time commitment like being a staffer is, you are part of The Eagle nonetheless. If you’re looking for community upon returning to school in-person or just want to get a little bit of news and writing experience, I welcome you to The Eagle

Want to get involved? Reach out to the Managing Editor of the section(s) you’re interested in contributing to for information and pitch meeting times:

El Águila: