Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Volunteer Experience: Sarah Goad

The Quidditch Post has decided to sit down with various members of its staff in an attempt to examine more closely the reasons why members of our community choose to volunteer. In this installment, we sit down with Sarah Goad, one of the founding members of the site, co-Director of Editing, and co-South Regional Editor.

Quidditch Post: You were one of the founders of QP. Why?
Sarah Goad: When USQ made the decision to downsize its editorial department at the end of summer 2014, I knew it was important to me personally to continue volunteering for the sport. However, as my strengths have always lain in writing, editing, and the creative and editorial aspects of sports journalism, I knew there wasn’t much of a future for myself in a USQ that lacked a robust editorial department.
Sarah Goad [12:23 PM] When USQ made the decision to downsize its editorial department at the end of summer 2014,  I knew it was important to me personally to continue volunteering for the sport. However, my strengths have always lain in writing, editing, and the creative and editorial aspects of sports journalism, so I knew there wasn't much of a future for myself with USQ without an editorial department
When the idea to start something new arose between Andy Marmer, Lindsay Garten, Kristin Backert, and me, it seemed like a natural evolution. We had all been volunteering for quite some time – collectively something like ten years – and we all had a very distinct vision of well-edited, ambitious, and worldwide coverage provided by a single site. It wasn’t ever really a question for me.

QP: You’ve been here since the beginning. What has been the most jarring part of your experience?
Goad: Ahh. Well, it’s definitely got to be the abrupt speed with which the organization expanded after USQ World Cup 8 (WC8). Those first few months were really hard. I know we had about ten people on staff the first seven months or so, but that was only ten people, and we were desperately attempting to provide preview news coverage for WC8; in retrospect, we were taking on far too much work for such a small staff. However, we managed to make it happen, and we made it work; instead of the organization crumbling after, we exploded into something ten times as big.

Goad with fellow South Regional Editor Karissa Kirsch. | Credit: Karissa Kirsch.
QP: So what do you think of the current state of QP?
Goad: I think QP staff is unfaltering in its drive. We’re consistently producing content in new and exciting ways – like quidditch comics and interactive content such as contests – and I feel more excited now about volunteering than I ever have been before after nearly four years of involvement. That said, we obviously always want to encourage even more people to join. Quidditch coverage can only get better if people are invested in making it so, and it takes more than a few dozen extremely dedicated souls to improve quidditch journalism and regional representation significantly.

QP: So, your involvement with QP has a bit of an elephant in the room as well. Care to talk about that?
Goad: I wouldn’t really call my relationship an elephant in the room. Just after WC8, we brought on two COOs to help run day-to-day operations of the site Austin Wallace from Canada and Jack Lennard from the UK. Jack and I became good friends pretty quickly, and he ended up coming to stay with me in Charleston, South Carolina in September for a few weeks while he worked on his dissertation for university. We’ve been dating ever since.
I’d like to say, however, that volunteering has done more for me than just bring me together with Jack. I’ve made friends as far away as Argentina and the UK and as nearby as Tennessee and Maryland. Pursuing my commitment to this volunteer position and this organization has ultimately made my involvement with the community more satisfying than it ever would have been without it. I don’t think I would have enjoyed quidditch as much without volunteering. I appreciate having an integral, insider’s role in the sport’s coverage, as it allows me the opportunity to give a voice to my own concerns, my friends’ concerns, and my region’s concerns.

QP: As Editing Director, you play a crucial role in QP. Can you describe your responsibilities a bit, as I’m sure most of our readers are curious about what you do and the role copy plays in the process of creating content for QP?
Goad: Well, I’m actually one of two Editing Directors; the other is Paulina Pascual, and she is my rock! The editing department is primarily responsible for finalizing completed articles and getting them ready for publication. While it may seem obvious, the job of a copy editor is to copy edit articles, ensure they are grammatically correct, and fact-check thoroughly before the articles are reviewed once more by editorial leadership and published. It’s exhaustive, exhausting, and we don’t get any glory, but if you’re the right kind of person, copy can be so, so satisfying.
QP: What sort of satisfaction do you get from QP?

Goad cheesin’ for the camera...or something. | Credit: Jack Lennard.
Goad: It comes in various forms. I get satisfaction from knowing I’m one of a group of people actively working to encourage the growth of a sport that is an extremely important part of my life. Month after month of watching QP grow from a group of four dumb kids brainstorming over blog names into a site with almost 300,000 page views has given me nothing but satisfaction. And y’know, if you want me to continue being mushy, I could go on again for ages about the friends I’ve made in the last year – dozens and dozens of people that I never would have met, nevermind befriended [if it weren’t for QP]. I’ll always be extremely grateful that QP and my other quidditch volunteer work has helped me to build such a strong network of friends and loved ones.

QP: Thanks, SG. Basically we worship the ground you walk on so I don’t know how we’d survive without you yo (Editor’s Note: Behold the power of copy editors).

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