“Is it a minion?”
“It’s two words.”
“That doesn’t make sense!”
These were the sounds of The Temple News’ last staff meeting of the academic year. We battled it out in an online Pictionary game over Zoom as a way to say goodbye and good luck to each other last night.
It was a moment of levity in an otherwise trying time for the newspaper.
Every person can think of something in their lives that drastically changed due to COVID-19. For The Temple News, our newsroom became a digital-only production in a matter of days. I decided to halt our weekly print newspaper — a decision that I never thought I would have to make this year. We moved quickly to ramp up online production as the world entered an unparalleled time.
It was anxiety-inducing, and I questioned how our newsroom would be able to pull off this switch and still meet the high expectations for our reporting.
Yet more than 130 stories about the pandemic later, we did, in fact, pull it off.
Each person came together to produce well-rounded, informative content without ever losing momentum. Our news team covered breaking news, wrote about students creating masks for frontline health care workers and moderated a Temple Student Government debate over Zoom.
Our Features team shared the stories of students asked to leave residence halls in days, created lists of emergency resources available to students and wrote about a student defending his dissertation via Zoom.
Sports brought you regular updates about how Temple’s athletics program was impacted by COVID-19. They even flew out to Texas to cover Temple men’s basketball, only to fly home when the American Athletic Conference tournament was cancelled.
Opinion and Intersection gave readers valuable insights into how the pandemic has affected student life and the city. Our visual teams, like our design, photo and multimedia editors, captured the changes to Temple’s campus and Philadelphia, showing how these places adapted during the pandemic.
The dedication I witnessed from my staff is inspiring, to say the least.
When I look back to the start of this year, I remember a newsroom of enthusiastic newbies — new to The Temple News, new to being an editor or even new to journalism.
But passion was the commonality among everyone who entered the door to our office, ready to continue our mission of being a watchdog for the Temple community since 1921.
To my staff, thank you. You have all grown so much as students, journalists and people. I am so excited to witness all that you do, and I hope your time at The Temple News has helped you.
After four years of work, I am sad to not walk through the newsroom cubicles or my office one last time and see the place where I found my passion for the truth, accountability and storytelling.
But hearing the laggy laughs and seeing the glitchy smiles of my staff last night was all I needed to end my year as Editor In Chief of The Temple News.