As the academic year draws to a close, the #SaveStudentNewsrooms campaign allowed us to look back at some of our most ground-breaking stories this year. In case you’re not following us on Facebook, here’s a quick recap:
We covered events, local and national. We memorialized football coach Mike Donnelley after his passing this October. We reviewed every mainstage performance, from for colored girls… to Ubu Roi to Sunday in the Park with George. We asked DACA students what life was like in the face of deportation. We followed the student body’s involvement in the March for Our Lives movement and two students shared experiences as part of the marches. We investigated everything from a golf simulator to the ring of the College’s long-time security team. We broke the news of a robbery in Benfer Hall and this year’s tuition raise. One of our editors even ran for mayor (April fools!); another we stuck in a cardboard newspaper vending machine as a publicity stunt (it was very uncomfortable, by the way. It also, sadly, drew less foot trafic than you’d expect).
In this year alone, we’ve brought on four new editors. The size of our editorial board is now larger than the number of writers we had when our seniors started.
We even formed a new layout team, which means that for the first time in recent memory having not one, not two, but three people whose sole job is to make our paper look good. With their help, we launched a complete redesign, including a new nameplate and an overall modern look.
We filmed our first video. We now have a newsletter (if you’re not on it, subscribe!), and only last week, we made it out of Tuesday night production before 1 a.m. — it’s the accomplishment that our staff is perhaps most proud of.
But now, we say goodbye to the team that did it all.
We’ll be losing five staff members in the fall — three to the ‘real world’ and two to studies abroad. Although it may not seem like a lot, that’s one third of our editorial staff.
With a little more than 2,000 students and over 110 clubs and organizations on campus, there is no shortage of leadership positions on campus. In fact, it’s not uncommon for students in this school to fill leadership positions on more than one club. Assuming everyone is involved only in one activity guarantees at least 20 members per organization, if that. And that number doesn’t include our sports teams, theatre productions, students in honors programs or with particularly demanding studies, any students who have off-campus jobs or other obligations that make taking part in more than one organization nearly impossible. Not to mention that every four years — in most cases, every year — students graduate and leave, sometimes just as they’ve gotten the hang of it. And then you’re back to square one.
We’ve been lucky: our two most senior editors have served together for two years, and most of the staff have held their titles for more than a year, or have moved around on the masthead while still spending every Tuesday in our office. Generally speaking, this type of continuity is uncommon in student organizations, let alone college newspapers.
In other words, this is our first big turnover since our seniors started. And that’s terrifying because there’s a very real chance that this paper may not be this great ever again.
But there’s an equally real chance that it could continue to grow and thrive.
Our system is one of constantly changing parts, which means we’re continuously bringing in new ideas. Those who are a little worn out will be replaced by those with fresh perspectives — and this doesn’t include future members of our staff who haven’t even arrived on campus yet.
With all we’ve accomplished these last three years, we’re still on the upswing. We’ve got the momentum and the staff to keep covering the issues that matter to our community.
Perhaps we’ll even end next year by taking yet another victory lap.
The Muhlenberg Weekly Editorial Board, 2018-19