On endurance thorough unexpected stories

The Editor-in-Chief signs off after leading the paper through a year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I don’t remember exactly when this year began.

Sometimes it feels like the beginning of last May, when I first became Editor-in-Chief and received one of my last emails from my late professor Bryan Monroe when I got the job: “Congratulations, Madison! Very proud of you!!! … ‘When in charge, BE in charge.’” 

Sometimes it feels like the start of the summer, just a couple months into the pandemic after the academic year ended and last year’s staff were still helping cover Black Lives Matter protests, city curfews, Immigration and Customs Enforcement guidelines and canceled sporting events.

Other times the start feels like when I walked into The Temple News newsroom last August for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Everything was a frozen time capsule from March of that year: staff notebooks and hoodies still scattered and “Story ideas: What is COVID-19?” written on the news team’s whiteboard. At that point, the question felt like a punch in the chest after it already upended all of our lives.

Whenever it started, each of those moments affirmed that this year wasn’t going to be like any before. This year, The Temple News’ 99th year of printing, was the year we had to prepare for just about any pandemic scenario to happen and cover it, too. It was our responsibility. 

But first, we had to start printing again.

After the COVID-19 pandemic stopped The Temple News from printing last spring and closed Temple’s campus, I made the decision to return it to campus this fall printing biweekly. Getting ready for this fall meant a summer of planning remote and in-person newsroom protocol while continuing to cover the pandemic as it was happening. Approaching the first issue, I didn’t even know if we’d be able to have a second, dependent on the fluctuating conditions.

But we did. We had a second, third and fourth issue and kept daily online coverage, too. Even when all of our efforts to produce print and online stories simultaneously in a pandemic went out the door as a snowstorm canceled our print issue one week, we kept going.

Some staff members worked from out of state, some from home and some across the street from Main Campus who I’ve still never met in person yet. We weren’t immune to the casualties of COVID-19 either, as working together this year proved we needed to be compassionate and flexible with each other through the challenges of being a student journalist — and person — —during the pandemic.

Year-round, we’ve been there in print and online and for each expected and unexpected event the year brought: the 2020 election, the search for President Richard Englert’s successor, Ari Goldstein’s sentencing and its Victim Impact Statement, the university reopening, the university moving classes online again, every COVID-19 case on and off campus, each canceled or rescheduled sports game, John Chaney’s death, The Temple News’ first Small Business Guide, the Capitol insurrection, the Temple community getting vaccinated and all the Among Us games along the way. 

To every staff member who’s made up our Zoom grid every Sunday, thank you for your dedication to The Temple News’ coverage in one of the most essential times and for working with me through our obstacles along the way. 

To each person who’s shared with us this year, thank you for trusting The Temple News with your story during such a historic time.

To my advisors and mentors along the way, your encouragement and check-ins meant everything.

Seeing the commitment, care and communication that carried us through the year invigorates me as I pass The Temple News on for its hundredth year. 

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