Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 20, 2024


Reflecting on their year as Chiefs, Limpe and Gahagen discuss ongoing traditions and new changes.

This academic year felt like the real beginning of the “new normal” after many false starts. During the pandemic, the paper shifted from a primarily print publication to operating online. As restrictions lessened, elements of old traditions returned. Last year’s Editors-in-Chief Leela Gebo and Laura Wadsten initiated the process of returning the paper to its normal operating status, as they brought back print magazines and welcomed masked staff back into the Gatehouse.

From this foundation, we were able to hit the ground running. As soon as we were elected as Editors-in-Chief, we already had plans to revive the rich tradition of print newspapers on campus. Despite this, we acknowledged that returning to pre-pandemic operations was not feasible, and we adapted the paper in accordance with the times.

Just over a month into last semester, the first print edition since March 2020 was released on campus. Doing this was not a simple task and required training staff on how to design and lay out a newspaper, creating new workflows and planning out a distribution route that reflected physical changes on campus following the pandemic. 

Restarting print was not always easy; there have been many late nights spent designing pages and stress-eating pizza. However, we are proud of what we have collectively accomplished. Every editor, writer and contributor who has shared their work with us this year has been an integral part of this project, and we cannot thank our staff enough for rising to the challenge and exemplifying their commitment to journalism. 

Reporting has changed since the pandemic, and seeing a return to in-person events and face-to-face interviews has allowed us to expand the scope of our coverage. Our staff covered critical topics — including advocacy for an Africana Studies department, the unionization of graduate students and continued debate around the development of the Johns Hopkins Police Department. They also kept our readers updated on the latest findings from the James Webb Space Telescope, showcased the achievements of Hopkins sports and explored the arts scene at Homewood, Peabody and around Baltimore.

As the campus regained its footing with the first fully in-person year after COVID-19, we aimed to set new practices while reestablishing beloved traditions. We continued our podcast project from the end of last school year — courtesy of our Managing Editor Paige Maultsby, who assembled and led the team. We reconnected with our alumni and organized the Journalism Speaker Series to provide professional training for our staff, and we welcomed our writers back to the Gatehouse.

Going into the school year with high ambitions, we knew that accomplishing our goals would be challenging. Though working on these projects while maintaining our daily production was stressful and consumed the majority of our time, we would not have spent the past year any other way.

From the moment we both tested positive for COVID-19 during our first week as Editors-in-Chief, we knew we were in for a ride. Being Editors-in-Chief has truly been one of the most fulfilling experiences in our college career — a sentiment that we have reiterated to each other on several occasions. We believe The News-Letter is more than a student organization; it serves as a local news outlet, and we are proud to have had the honor of setting the vision of the paper, leading the staff and contributing to the paper’s legacy at Hopkins and in the broader community.

We are so thankful for the support from our readers, fellow editors and writers, design team, business team and podcast staff. Without you, there is no newspaper, and we are truly invested in your success in all of your future endeavors. We especially wanted to extend our deepest appreciation for Maultsby, who has been our biggest supporter throughout print nights and always remained calm and collected, even when faced with the challenge of filling a two-person role on her own. 

Thank you to Allison Avolio, our University advisor, who always ensured that we had the resources to maintain and expand our production and offered advice throughout the process. To Jacob Took, Alyssa Wooden and Kelsey Ko, alumni of The News-Letter, we are grateful to you for taking the lead on rebuilding our alumni network this year. We also want to extend our sincerest appreciation to the alumni who spoke at our Journalism Speaker Series: Sam Fossum, Ben Schwartz, Sarah Y. Kim and Morgan Ome.

As our time as Editors-in-Chief comes to a close, we can’t help but reminisce over our weekly Sunday bagel runs in between meetings, delirious late-night laughter and golf-cart runs to distribute the paper. We’ll miss the many hours spent on the worn-out couches of the Gatehouse discussing official business, catching up and even collaborating on a few articles — from reviewing a Taylor Swift dance party to commenting on choosing reliable sources.  

We are excited to see how the next Editors-in-Chief, Yana Mulani and Abbie Tuschman, will expand the paper and continue fulfilling its mission of informing the Hopkins and Baltimore communities! We know that the next staff will continue to uphold our traditions and do their part in recording our University’s history. 

Chiefs 2022–2023 signing off! We wish all of our readers the best of luck with finals, and we hope that this year’s magazine and future print editions continue to find you around campus!

Molly Gahagen is a junior from Key Largo, Fla. majoring in International Studies and Political Science. She is a former Editor-in-Chief and News & Features Editor for The News-Letter.

Michelle Limpe is a senior from the Philippines studying Chemistry and Public Health. She is a former Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor and News & Features Editor for The News-Letter.

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