We had a vision for the paper we were hoping to accomplish before we even stepped into our roles.
Then the pandemic presented us with a new set of challenges, and we worried our plans would be curtailed — maybe cut short. But we stuck with them anyway.
We set out to establish new projects that could outlive us and made sure there was diversity throughout the paper. Real diversity. Not the kind constrained to only one section or a tag.
And we did it, all thanks to our dedicated staff who — amid online classes, second jobs, not to mention a pandemic — had a visible passion for what they do.
For all those times we sat through our journalism classes, learning about ledes and media ethics, one thing didn’t make the cut: how to lead a newsroom in the middle of a pandemic.
We didn’t expect to learn about it. To put it simply, no one expected a pandemic to change the course of fall 2020 — we certainly didn’t.
Not all news organizations were immune to the effects of the pandemic, let alone a college newspaper. When we made the decision to switch from a daily print publication to weekly, it discontinued a tradition that was special and unique to The Daily Evergreen.
We know editors before us fought long and hard to continue daily print production, so we made sure this discontinuance didn’t affect the quality of our content. And sure enough, it didn’t. It was also the most sound decision we could make given the circumstances and one that is not permanent.
This fall, we were fortunate to have talented individuals on our staff, who made sure a pandemic didn’t stop them from doing their job.
Roots launched Cultivating Roots, a podcast that highlights student leaders in the multicultural community, as well as the journey they’ve been through and continue to go through.
Mint also launched a series called Culture Brew, which is dedicated to showcasing personal stories that make people who they are, whether they’re an Evergreen writer or member of the community.
Opinion ran pieces that mattered locally, like supporting Native students at WSU, and nationally, like the impact of late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on American politics.
Sports, on the other hand, published features on current and former athletes, as well as game previews and recaps as the football and basketball season progressed. Sports editors prepped gracefully for an uncertain sports season where it was unclear if there would be anything to report on.
News, in particular, continued its coverage on the WSU and Pullman community nonstop ever since Summer Evergreen began, whether it is COVID-19-related or not. This section highlighted a multitude of topics, including how students of color were dealing with the pandemic. We even published an investigative piece regarding allegations made about a local pizza shop.
Among all the challenges we had to face this semester, doing remote production might be the biggest of them all. Loud conversations used to fill the newsroom, but now all we’d hear is the electric tea kettle when we’d occasionally make hibiscus or peppermint tea.
Almost all editors worked remotely, with one living in a different time zone. We had to communicate through Zoom and Slack with the deadline breathing down our necks. Thankfully, we managed to send our pages before our deadline, night after night.
It may sound cliché, but the wildcards we were dealt with only made us stronger, and we’re thankful to everyone who stayed with us through it all. The semester is coming to an end, which means we’ll be passing the baton to a new pair of leaders.
They, too, will thrive, and we’re excited to see what they have planned for spring.