Interview with The Technique's Taylor Gray and Janat Batra

"Despite the paper's open-door policy for all Tech students to get involved; I found that I was repeatedly in conversations with LMC majors who worked for or contributed to the Technique. It makes sense that without a journalism major at Georgia Tech, budding journalists would populate the School of Literature, Media, and Communication. But after Zoie Konneker (LMC) graduated this past spring (she was the Editor in Chief) and Taylor Gray (LMC) was named the next (current) Editor in Chief; I thought, this is a fun and relevant LMC student story. Not only do our majors write for the Technique but they are in leadership roles too. A major bonus was discovering that Taylor's roommate and fellow LMCer, Janat Batra, is also the Managing Editor. I assigned Nethra Rammohan, an LMC major not currently affiliated with the Technique, to interview them and share their story with us. The Technique was established in 1911, long before our School existed. In fact, our first degree program was not established until the early 90s. Therefore, it feels special for our LMC students to have become this relevant in Tech's history and culture."

-Jillann Hertel (Faculty & CoLab Director)

Visual PDF of Interview

Author & Interviewer: Nethra Rammohan

Introduction

I transferred into Georgia Tech’s LMC program a little over a year ago, and to this day, am immensely proud that I did. LMC has an incredibly unique and flexible curriculum; our program boasts six areas of concentration ranging in subjects anywhere from literature to social justice, or communications to design. The icing on the cake, for me, is the plethora of ways in which we can reinforce our understanding of what we learn in classes, through on-campus organizations and extracurriculars. In some special cases, those resources can help forge a roadmap to a potential career, and even spark a meaningful friendship. 

The following story is one of those special cases. 

Taylor Gray and Janat Batra are third year LMC majors, members of our student newspaper — The Technique, and roommates! I recently spoke to them about their experiences together at Georgia Tech. 

Interview

NR: How did you hear about the Technique? 

TG: I actually knew about the Technique before coming to Georgia Tech. My stepdad went here, and he knew that I wanted to get involved with a newspaper in college. He picked up a copy of the Technique for me when we went to Ivan Allen shadow day. It was actually the “Techlique”, which is our April Fools edition. 

JB: So, in high school I was getting into the idea of journalism, but we didn’t have a newspaper or any sort of publication there, besides our yearbook. I knew coming into college, I really wanted to try working for one of the publications. At FASET, on the second day of orientation, they had an org-fair out on Tech Green, and I stopped by the Technique table. 

NR: Has majoring in LMC impacted your work at the Technique? 

JB: I took an LMC class during the spring semester of my freshman year, and it was taught by Hallie Lieberman — she does a lot of freelance work, and journalism! I never thought I would get to learn from an actual journalist at Tech. Her class was about scientific and technology journalism, and we had to write several pieces for it. That class made me a better journalist, because I learned how to ask questions, create drafts, work with others, and tell stories. 

TG: A lot of the work I do in LMC classes overlaps with skills I need for the Technique. Something I learned from my LMC professors is to never take anything for what it looks like at face value. Learning how to think critically and knowing how to ask questions to get the real story, be it for an article or a class reading, is so important. 

NR: What impact has COVID had on your operations, and how do you stay motivated? 

TG: I had only been the news editor for two weeks before COVID-19 hit. 

A big motivating factor for me, and the rest of the staff right now, is that we’re currently documenting history for the Institute with every article we write. Every issue we publish this year can serve as a window into our student life during this pandemic. While our first objective is to keep the current community informed, it’s also fun knowing that thirty, forty years from now, someone could be looking back at a story we wrote, just trying to make sense of what campus was like at this moment. That’s something I’ve tried to get across to our photographers this semester as well — there are so many visual changes [occurring] on campus this year (with the student center construction and all the social distancing measures), and it’s so important to document all of them to the best of our abilities. 

JB: It’s been tricky figuring out who can come into the [Technique] office when, making sure there aren’t other people there as well, while also getting things done by the deadline. We still try to check in with each other as often as possible, make sure everyone’s okay*, and provide help to anyone that needs it. Overall, it hasn’t been too bad, but there’s just less manpower to deal with things. 

NR: How did you both meet and become friends? Does living together affect the way you collaborate on projects? 

TG: We actually met in the summer of 2017** during the Governor’s Honor Program (GHP). We both attended as Communicative Arts majors and we were also both in the Journalism minor, which is where we saw and worked with each other the most. Janat and I kindled our friendship during our first fall semester at Tech in our MATH 1711 class. We ended up sitting next to each other and our friendship just kind of blossomed. We became best friends, and then decided to move in together. This is our second year living together and it’s been great. It’s comforting knowing that your close friend and work partner is literally ten feet away from you in the next room. 

JB: Living together has made things better. We’ve worked on class group projects before, so we knew that we made a good team — we both get our work done in time, and we can rely on each other. It’s been great so far! Her room is right next to mine, so if I get a question from the staff, I can just walk in and ask for help. If we’re talking about the paper, or what to do that week, we’ll just walk to each other’s rooms, which is super convenient. We’ll go into the office together, and we can drive each other there and back, so it’s a team effort. Overall, living together has made it easier to communicate [with each other and the staff] and ensure that sure we’re on the same page. 

NR: What advice would you give to incoming freshman or LMC majors with an interest in journalism? 

JB: If you’re interested in something, go for it. If you have the slightest bit of interest in any [extracurricular], regardless of what it is, go to a meeting, or reach out [to the clubs/orgs] on social media and DM their accounts. Organizations at Tech are very accessible, and the people are welcoming and friendly. You only have 4 or so years at college, so try whatever you want, carefully pick the few you want to stick with, and then give them your all. 

TG: In terms of networking, don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors, who are amazing resources. Also, come join us at the Technique! Regardless of how much experience you have, we’re here to help you and provide you with the opportunities to be the best journalist you can be. Also, it’s always extremely rewarding to see your name in print!

Other Current Technique Contributors in the School of LMC

Leadership

 


*given that a lot of the work is now being done online
**the summer before both of their senior years of high school
 

A big thank you to Taylor Gray- Editor in Chief, and Janat Batra- Managing Editor of the Technique. For further information, please contact editor@nique.net, or visit https://nique.net/.

This story was written by third year LMC major, Nethra Rammohan and the visual PDF was designed by fourth year CM major, Selena Do for Jillann Hertel’s special topics course, Media for Community Building. 

For further inquiries, please contact Senior Academic Professional Jillann Hertel.