The Journalists: Isha Prakash & Rhea Rao, méLAWnge at GLC Mumbai

The Journalists: Isha Prakash & Rhea Rao, méLAWnge at GLC Mumbai

The Journalists is a deeper look at the journals published by law schools around the country. In this edition, Campus Ambassador Anushka Mehta interviews the Chief Student Editors of méLAWnge, the annual magazine at GLC Mumbai, Isha Prakash & Rhea Rao.

What categories of articles published in méLAWnge?

méLAWnge has always been extremely multi-faceted from its very inception. It entails pieces on a large variety of topics ranging from satirical quips to legal articles, comics to poems, op-eds on contemporary topics to fictional essays and more. Each year, the Chief Student Editors also introduce new theme sections which inject contemporary and novel topics into the publication.

What drew you towards journalism and why did you accept the designation of Chief Student Editor?

Right from the beginning we personally found immense joy in the process of curating a magazine; which is probably what prompted us to join the Committee in the first place. We enjoyed everything from planning and designing different sections of the magazine, to the formulation of interesting topics for the writing competitions we organise, to organising our annual flagship event, Knock-Out! and finally, approaching and interacting with inspiring luminaries and professionals amongst others.

We had also always been inspired by méLAWnge‘s 89-year-old legacy. The idea of contributing to something with such a rich history was beyond enticing to us and that further drew us closer to the magazine.

Something we always discuss with our members is that méLAWnge is not purely a legal journal, it is also a capsule of the year that has passed by and acts like an annual diary in a way. There are sections that help students reminisce over their time at college and that is something that will hopefully last years after graduating as well.

What was the process for selection as Chief Student Editor?

As first-year students, we are given the option to join several committees that interest us, to get an idea of the work that they each do. The Magazine Committee was one of those for us and we ended up loving it through and through. We were then selected to be a part of the Core Committee of the Magazine, the next year.

Thus, in the two years of working for méLAWnge, we observed the entire process and preparation that goes into creating the magazine; this eventually led up to us being offered the positions of Chief Student Editors, which we more than happily took up. Somehow, we were very clear about taking up these positions from the very start, and there was very little hesitance from our end, when it actually came to be!

What were your roles as Chief Student Editors? How did the two of you divide responsibilities between yourselves?

As Chief Student Editors, we were involved with all activities that are directly reflected in the magazine, such as those we’ve mentioned above. However, apart from those activities, for the first time, we found ourselves involved in a great amount of administrative work. This ranged from conducting regular meetings with our team, coordinating with our professors, following up with contributors and keeping a track on our finances amongst other things.

We are fortunate to have worked with each other on several projects, spanning over the 3 years that we have spent at college. These experiences made us extremely familiar with each other’s interests and strong suits. Thus, the distribution of work came almost naturally to us! This also contributed to the fact that we never set any firm rules or divisions in the functioning of the editorial board of méLAWnge, and we were flexible and compatible with one another.

How did the lockdown imposed due to COVID-19 affect the publication of méLAWnge this year? How did you overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic?

The months of February and March are extremely crucial for méLAWnge, as that is the time when a great portion of the magazine is finalised or completed. As the fear of this pandemic grew greater and greater, we had to further keep delaying the publication for more reasons than one.

For starters, our team was scattered across the country as everyone had to go back to their hometowns. Those in town were hesitant to step out given the fear of the pandemic, and naturally so. As a result of this, we were also unable to meet at college and have our weekly meetings. Designing, which forms a large part of our Magazine, became almost impossible to carry out as even the design studio that assists us each year, was shut.

Further, it also became more and more difficult to contact and coordinate with several professionals, professors and students, due to the uncertainty and chaos that everyone was facing in their personal lives.

There were massive delays but we are glad that our team persevered and continued to make it work, one small step at a time until we made it to the end. It took us a while to get there but the 90th edition of méLAWnge was finally published!

What are some essential skills that you’ve learned over the course of your tenures as Chief Student Editors?

Being involved with méLAWnge comes with a gamut of responsibilities, making this particular role even more demanding. Our biggest learning was how to balance not only different aspects of editing and organising the publication of the magazine, but also the magazine in itself with all our other interests.

We learnt the importance of being flexible and organised whilst working with different people; be it our own team or even other individuals with whom we were in contact with. We were faced with several hurdles due to the uncertainty of 2020, but in retrospect they taught us how to maintain our calm, take quick decisions in crucial situations and always look towards finding solutions.

The benefits from this experience are profound, and we have been realising this ever since, as we are still discovering skills or traits that we were not even aware we picked up from our three memorable years with this wonderful publication!

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