Who was there to hear?

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If someone had told me on my first day of college in August of 2020 that I would be the editor of the school paper, I would’ve said, “Who are you and why are you just predicting my random life achievements?” When former news editor, Sophie Sarnitsky, suggested via Zoom that I should write for the paper, I reluctantly agreed; thinking that this could be something to get me out of the COVID bubble I’d been in for almost a full year. Four years and over 50 articles later, I can say that I made the right decision by saying “yes” to Sophie’s offer. The Weekly has provided me with opportunities and community that would not have been available to me otherwise. As a commuter student (lol yes I’m bringing this up in the senior op-ed), it can be hard to develop a core group of people you connect with. The Weekly is the ultimate connector. After all, if you don’t become close with the people you pull all-nighters with editing the paper, then what are you doing?

Now for the thank-yous, and there are many, so prepare yourself. My mom is a journalist (way better than me) and the picture of hard-work and resilience. When she was laid off in 2022, she turned this disappointment, hurt and confusion into opportunity, taking on freelance roles at several publications and establishing annual “best-of” stories that will continue long after she retires. My two best friends from home, Katie and Court, are my foundation and support system. Katie, who I’ve known for my entire life, reignites childhood bliss. Court’s seen me at my lowest and still voices their love for me; they let me retell the same story over and over and never once tell me to stop. I couldn’t have gotten through college without them. And now on to my Weekly family. My FYS OG bestie, Johnny, never fails to make me laugh to the point of “peeing my pants.” Sarah oozes genuine kindness; I’ve never seen someone sparkle more than her when someone brings up rom-coms. Ally is our former news editor, a close friend and author of the ‘Berg New Works production “-in-chief.” Ally, no one has mastered prose quite like you. The world you built in “-in-chief” left me awe-struck, inspired and incredibly grateful. I can’t wait to be sitting in the audience when one of your plays makes it to Broadway. Cydney, The Weekly’s former editor-in-chief, with a three-year tenure, is truly one of the most remarkable human beings I have ever met. I can only hope to have emulated a fraction of her intelligence, tenacity and curiosity. I mail her a copy of every issue, and I always look forward to slipping the letter through the mail slot, knowing that she’ll get to read our work. Sara Vigneri has been an incredibly supportive mentor and advisor. Navigating this year has not been easy, and she has provided us with invaluable advice and support. She perfectly balances caring about her students with letting them make decisions independent from institutional approval. 

Readers, next semester, you are in for an incredible editorial board, ready to provide you with important student-led journalism. Keanna Peña, your future editor-in-chief, is equipped with a strong sense of self, a social justice-oriented mentality and an insatiable desire to unveil the truth. You are all so very lucky to have her leading this organization. Shinam Hussain will be your managing editor along with Matthew Baresh. I could not think of a more level-headed and articulate pair to take on these roles. Harry Glicklin will remain your stead-fast copy editor. He never fails to keep us all grounded and catch a pesky Oxford comma. This group along with all of our other editors are going to make a great team, and I’m so excited to see what they do. 

Before I say my final goodbye I want to emphasize one of the key lessons that my time at The Weekly has taught me. No institution is perfect and this includes Muhlenberg. Just in this year alone, the College has forcefully put a tenured professor on leave, with no explanation. This kind of unchecked administrative action is frightening, and brings about a troubling question: How far can our institutions go before experiencing enough pushback to stop? This was also visible when the College allowed radical Republican politician Dave McCormick to film his campaign commercial for Senate in Memorial Hall. This lack of transparency is exactly why we need student journalists. Journalism can’t happen without questioning the systems that you are a part of. 

Throughout my time at Muhlenberg, I’ve fielded many questions and complaints about the work The Weekly does. “No one reads The Weekly” or “We have a school paper?” are phrases I’ve heard many times from my peers. This is where the title of my piece comes into play. “Who was there to hear?” is a lyric from Joni Mitchell’s “Same Situation.” In this song, she details crying out to higher power, feeling as if no one is listening to her. Sometimes, leading this organization makes me feel like Joni in this song; crying out, wondering who’s even reading and appreciating the work we create. However, knowing that our organization is part of a greater, century-plus long legacy makes our efforts to provide our campus with vital information all the more meaningful. All I can hope is that my year as editor made some sort of mark on our campus community, regardless of how small.

Katie is a Media & Communication and Political Science double major in the class of 2024. When she's not working on the paper you can find her blasting Taylor Swift, reading Jane Austen, or crying over Little Women (2019).

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