Editorial: The first time we’ve felt like student-journalists in a long time


Photo credit: Grace Doyle

The Oracle Editorial Board and staff reporters work independently in the Publication Lab on campus. As the 2021-2022 school year begins, we are thankful to have the opportunity to learn and connect with one another in person, as journalists everywhere felt the repercussions of the pandemic as it affected their reporting.

And, we’re back. 

As schools across the country return to in-person learning full time, middle, high school and college students alike adjust to the new safety protocols and practices that are now in place. Whether it is weekly COVID-19 testing or masking and health screenings, this return to school has brought about significant changes in the lives of students. Emotions have been fluctuating surrounding this return, ranging from joy and excitement to anxiety and fear. 

For us, however, this official return to campus truly marks the first time that we’ve felt like student journalists in a long time.

Even though we continued our reporting throughout the latter half of the 2019-2020 school year as well as the entire 2020-2021 academic year, reporting on campus as a collective staff was a feeling that we all of us sincerely missed during quarantine. The effects of remote learning restricted our ability to cover breaking news stories, as we weren’t able to approach a classmate or faculty member in the hallway but instead had to reach out via email to set up a Zoom interview. 

We had to be resourceful and use the materials around our homes to continue shooting broadcasts and photo galleries, as access to cameras, film equipment and live events was limited. One of us went so far as to record a podcast episode in the laundry room because it was the most distant room in the house, making it less susceptible to picking up other audio.

We had to be flexible within our own personal schedules to better comply with Zoom interviews, whether we completed them before class early in the morning or late at night after finishing up homework. 

These changes lengthened the typical article writing process that was so familiar to all of us prior to the pandemic. 

We missed in-person interviews.

We missed the publication lab, which felt like our second home on campus.

We missed lugging all of the film equipment up and down the stairs to the lighting studio.

We missed putting on our press passes and unzipping the front pocket of our backpacks to get our reporter’s notepad.

But most of all, we missed the spontaneity that being on campus afforded us.

It feels like a dream being able to approach sources and interview them in real time. Whether it is on the bus, in the library or in the middle of a bustling hallway, being able to connect with members of the Archer community without having to turn on our cameras or unmute our microphones is a true luxury. 

According to this EDUCAUSE Survey, “Among student respondents, 70% said they prefer mostly or completely face-to-face learning environments. The professors surveyed were even more partial to face-to-face classes, with 73 percent preferring them.”

We could not agree more. The impact face-to-face learning environments has on us as a school publication is profound, as we find ourselves excited to come to class each day, eager to report on something new. 

This change in setting most definitely affected our writing and reporting, as we are able to cover breaking news pieces in a much more lively and less robotic way, while beginning to shift our narrative away from COVID-19 related pieces. 

Although the pandemic gave us the space to become much more flexible and versatile writers and reporters, nothing has, or ever will compare to being together as a whole unit.

Now, we can confidently say that we are back like we never left. 

And for this year, we plan to take advantage of every opportunity that learning on campus provides us. So if you see us running to an interview through the hallways or lugging film equipment up the stairs, just know that we are back in full swing.