Reflecting on our time as Editors-in-Chief

By KELSEY KO and MORGAN OME | May 2, 2019

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NEHA SANGANA / PHOTOGRAPHY STAFF Ome and Ko celebrate the time they’ve spent working on The News-Letter

It’s not often that you get to lead with your best friend. The summer before this year — our senior year — we road-tripped up to the Jersey shore and stood on the beach with no idea of the year that was ahead of us as Editors-in-Chief. We had been close for a long time, but this was the year that we became inseparable. Twenty-plus-hour News-Letter work weeks, bookended by weekends full of laughter, reflection and nights in Baltimore and Brody. And now, with only a few weeks until graduation, we can’t help but look back on this whirlwind year and marvel at how it’s all coming to a close so soon.

We’ve both spent four years with The News-Letter, but we’ve never seen students mobilize and stand up for their beliefs as they have this year. Week after week, students have demonstrated their commitment to speaking out against issues close to their hearts — whether that has been the University’s contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, our school’s handling of sexual assault or the creation of a private police force on campus.

And week after week, we have had the honor of being on the ground with students, reporting on these stories so that they can be preserved in the University’s archives for decades to come. We hope their work lives on in these historical records, long past their time at Hopkins

If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s been the value of compassion in all that we do. We’ve tried hard to cultivate a culture of empathy within our staff and also toward ourselves — to hold ourselves to high standards as Hopkins students do but also to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and our limitations. To remember we are full-time students doing our best to report on the oftentimes unpredictable and exciting events happening on this campus.

And of course, we tried our best to extend compassion and empathy toward our sources and in our reporting. We’ve worked to think of ways in which we can amplify the voices of people who aren’t at the table. This year, we conducted and published our first diversity survey and created the role of Public Editor to ensure that our paper continues to serve as a voice for the communities of which we are a part. We also know the negative ways in which the media and news outlets have portrayed Baltimore, and we have tried to show the beauty and resilience of this city in sections like News, Your Weekend and Arts.

Projects and goals aside, we would be nothing without our incredible editorial staff, who dedicate hours each week to writing, editing and laying out the 24 pages of our newspaper. We’re grateful to our business team for making sure our paper can stay financially and editorially independent, and to our design-minded staff members who take photos and create beautiful graphics that contribute to our visual storytelling. They’ve made the hard parts of this job worthwhile, and we’re immensely grateful to each person who has contributed to the paper this year.

It has been a great privilege to serve The News-Letter, and we’d like to thank our staff for sharing their unique perspectives, for making us laugh, for challenging us and for pushing us to grow as people and leaders. This job is one in which we have tried to give endlessly and has rewarded us each and every day in return. 

When we look back on this year, we’ll remember our Monday staff meetings spent snacking on pirouettes and asking each other about our weeks. We’ll remember Wednesday nights, with our endless playlists of ‘80s tunes, the Hamilton soundtrack and Shawn Mendes. We’ll remember running across North Charles Street at midnight to grab coffee at 7-Eleven. And we’ll remember all of the small moments and deep conversations from our friendships that will last us a lifetime. 

Though saying goodbye is bittersweet, we’re proud to be passing the torch to our successors, Amelia Isaacs and Sarah Y. Kim. We can’t wait to see what The News-Letter accomplishes under their leadership! 

As we type our very last words, we’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who made this last year as wild and wonderful as it has been. To the students and community members who trusted us with their stories, to the readers who have eagerly read and supported us, and to all those who have continued to hold us to a high standard: We couldn’t have done this without you. We can’t wait to occupy our new role as News-Letter alumni, and continue to support the paper — this time as readers.

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