Photo courtesy of Kyle Adams. Production during fall 2019, prior to social distancing requirements.

The Gazelle: Behind the Scenes

From pitch to production, read about the various stages that each article goes through before being published on The Gazelle’s website.

Jan 31, 2021

Living on campus during a pandemic has made us hold on tighter to the elements of NYU Abu Dhabi life that never seem to change. For the past seven years, The Gazelle has worked to be a constant source of reputable journalism that the student body can expect to receive on any given Sunday. This is no small feat considering the countless hours of planning, drafting, illustrating and editing that go into our unique production process. Each issue is a celebration of the hard work of more than 90 staff members across four editorial desks, a communication desk and full teams of data scientists, copy editors, web developers, staff writers, illustrators and photographers.
Every article on The Gazelle was once just a short title and description on our weekly pitch document. Every Saturday at 4:00 p.m., The Gazelle hosts a pitch meeting — the Zoom link for which can be found on the publication’s social media — which is open to all students to take stock of the week's events, both on campus and off, and propose articles that they would like to publish or see published by others. Pitches can range from a personal essay on experiences with fatphobia, reviews of new restaurants in the city, spotlights on interesting students or faculty on campus and even a critique of institutional racism at NYUAD. At this stage, any idea can be put onto the pitch document.
Depending on whether your pitch falls under the category of Features, News or Opinion, if you choose to write an article, a Senior Desk Editor will reach out to provide more information on writing guidelines, points of contact and deadlines. Typically, News articles tend to be short, factual reports of current events whereas Features are more investigative in nature and Opinion pieces wholly argumentative. For writers looking for more exposure to journalism, news pieces can be a great place to start perfecting your writing and fact checking skills.
From Sunday to Wednesday, writers are expected to schedule interviews with any members of administration, faculty or the student body who they want to quote in their articles. Authors must record and transcribe these interviews to protect against misquoting. Preliminary drafts or detailed outlines must be submitted before 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, in anticipation of our weekly budget meeting. As the name suggests, the budget meeting is our way of keeping track of the likelihood that each article will make it to publication on Sunday. Ascribing a level of doubt to each article at this stage reduces the risk that our illustrators and editors will waste energy on articles that are destined to be cancelled during production.
Copy Flow Document
Once articles have gone through preliminary rounds of one-on-one feedback with Desk Editors, all writers submit their final drafts and await Gazelle Saturday — or production day — when the bulk of the refining is done. From this point on, each individual article will go through five different stages of editing where each new editor attempts to remove grammatical errors and evaluate structure, bias and logical validity. The status of the article can be tracked through the copy flow. At any moment, an editor is able to glance at the copy flow document and see what hands have touched an article and what they need to do with the piece going forward.
Photo courtesy of Kyle Adams. Production during fall 2019, prior to social distancing requirements.
Gazelle production day has been and continues to be a tradition and bonding experience that makes working for the publication so unique. Before Covid-19, the entire editorial staff — more than 25 people — worked alongside one another in a classroom in A4. Each week, a new volunteer trotted down to the East Dining Hall to buy an absurd amount of pizza. During Covid-19, we’ve had to get creative. Members of each desk continue to meet in small, socially distanced groups. With staff now scattered all around the world, pizza and snacks are shared over Zoom with friends abroad.
Producing quality and informative journalism is hard under normal circumstances, but as a 100 percent student led organization, with no funding in the middle of a pandemic, there is something special about the way the NYUAD community continues to stand behind The Gazelle through it all. This publication would be nothing without its detailed production process and the time that was volunteered by all of our staff members and writers week after week.
Dylan Palladino is Managing Editor. Email him at
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