It’s crazy how much changes in a year. Last April in a Zoom breakout room, we found out that we would be leading The News-Letter through its next chapter. After over a year of pandemic life, things were looking up — businesses were re-opening, masking restrictions were loosening and we were #vaxxed and ready.
Of course, things did not just return entirely to “normal.” New variants meant evolving guidelines and adapting to changing situations, in the world at large as well as in our paper. As we planned for the school year, always concerned of the possibility of once again being sent home, our greatest certainty was that The News-Letter would continue publishing.
The last time we were in the Gatehouse, Laura was a Science and Technology Editor and Leela was a contributing writer. We returned as Chiefs to a different campus — one full of masked faces, virtual classes and frequent spitting in tubes. Lockdown had pressed pause on countless traditions, not least of which was our print production. We knew just how important our physical presence on campus was, but we also knew that we were still in the thick of a pandemic. A hybrid school year meant a hybrid newspaper, and we did our best to navigate the unique challenges of our new world.
Reflecting back on this year, we realize that the normal we knew back in March 2020 isn’t the goal anymore. Though it seems we might never achieve that standard of “normal” ever again, we’re doing our best to focus on the new, exciting developments that set this year apart from any standards of the past.
We’re so proud of our staff for tackling the challenges of hybrid production and rising above them. While we all did our best to maintain beloved traditions of The News-Letter from years past (shoutout to anyone who was fooled by our April Fools coverage), we also reintroduced print magazines this year and recently launched the pilot episode of The News-Letter’s debut podcast (watch out, Michael Barbaro).
In the dynamic world of news media and college papers, we know that trying to adhere to the old, pre-pandemic standards will only hold back the paper. We’re so excited about the developments The News-Letter has gone through over the past year and cannot wait to see what directions next year’s staff will take. We are confident that our successors, Molly Gahagen and Michelle Limpe, will accomplish great things as they lead The News-Letter through its next chapter.
Of course, we couldn’t do any of it without our dedicated readers, and we would be remiss not to thank you all as we look back on this year. Thank you for engaging with us, whether it be voicing your criticisms, voting for your Superbowl picks, giving a reporter your thoughts or flipping through a magazine as you study on campus. We take your engagement seriously and are a better paper as a result.
So, readers, staff and everyone in between, thank you for a great year despite the unpredictability of it all. Good luck on finals and have a happy Spring Fair! We can’t wait to see you all around campus.
Laura Wadsten is a senior from Brainerd, Minn. studying Medicine, Science and the Humanities. She is a former Editor-in-Chief, Opinions Editor and Science & Technology Editor for The News-Letter.
Leela Geebo is a junior from Brooklyn, N.Y. studying Sociology and Writing Seminars. She is a former Editor-in-Chief and News & Features Editor for The News-Letter.