Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Letter FROM the (new) editor: I can't wait to be back

2021-22 EIC Karly Graham introduces herself to the alumni crowd

June 2, 2021
Photo by Alyte Katilius | The State News

Hi! I'm Karly, and I'm going to be serving as the editor-in-chief for The State News this upcoming school year. While I've heard it multiple times from my predecessors, if there's anything I've learned in my first month, it's that nothing prepares you for this role.

In my time at The State News, I’ve had the honor and opportunity to serve as the campus desk editor; I spent a summer in the audience engagement editor role: and I covered anything going on in the university from the dismissal of a tenured professor to what I thought the best dating apps was. 

My time at The State News has proven that we would never limit a reporter in what they might want to do. We push reporters to explore topics that interest them. We offer the opportunity for people to try their hands at podcasting, video editing, photography — whatever it is they may be interested in developing skills in. 

Between covering the university administration and academic colleges, I would write a column about a new movie I saw, or I would host a podcast about my all-time favorite singer. I kept up with new TV shows and movies throughout quarantine, so recorded-via-Zoom podcasts became my bread and butter. 

As a freshman I came into The State News thinking we would be the leading source of news for our students. I realized how much more work we have to do to get more clicks on our site and more papers picked up off the stands. 

I want to push our reporters to not only report on the news but to dig deeper into stories. We shouldn't be reiterating the breaking news story someone else beat us to; we should do more. Beyond that, I want to be able to connect with our audience.

Not all students care about petitions or the administration's decisions the way that we think they should. 

Student journalists aren’t always taken seriously or given a fair seat at the table, so sometimes we overcompensate. We stick to hard-hitting journalism — which is good, sometimes — but to really connect with our audience, we might need to lighten up a bit.

From drama surrounding Olivia Rodrigo and her he-who-will-not-be-named ex-boyfriend to the world of K-Pop, there is an endless amount of fun stories we can write about things students care about. It’s important that these stories are just supplemental to our serious stories, allowing the opportunity for students to share their opinions about things they’re passionate about is a really great way to increase engagement and readership. 

This year, I will be working with the audience and engagement team to create an arts and entertainment-based e-newsletter. For this, I envision a weekly greeting where we can share new music that’s being released, editor’s picks for TV shows and movies, and upcoming movies, concerts, and more. I don’t want us to just compile this information with no original content to go with it, so relevant articles and podcasts will be included as well.

Being back in an in-person environment this fall is giving me endless hope for the success of this next year. While it was nice just rolling over and grabbing my laptop on snowy days, I can't wait for the minor slips and falls December can bring and just feel like a student again.

I feel for the S'Newsers who graduated without their wall-kissing ceremony. I feel for the ones who haven't been to an intern potluck yet, despite having worked for multiple semesters. They've lost the best parts about The State News. They've had the same stress — maybe more — and little to no camaraderie. We did what we could with wellness Wednesday Zooms, but trips to Peanut Barrel after closing the paper are hard to compete with.

The State News is a place where we grow as journalists — that's true. But within the newsroom, we grow as people. We learn how to network. How to be good friends. How to collaborate. Working at The State News this last year was good, but in a virtual environment, it's hard to be great.

We did what we could for the pandemic, but now that we're getting vaccinated and things are starting to look safe again, I really can't wait to be back.

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