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Covering Campus News from Afar

Erin McNemar
Erin McNemar

Student Paper Pivots to Online Publishing

Like journalists around the world, the staff members of the Keene State student newspaper, the Equinox, are hard at work getting out the campus news remotely. While students are studying online from their homes, the paper is publishing stories and videos on its website.

“Despite this uphill battle that all of us are facing, we choose to persist. The Equinox refuses to let this virus stop us from reporting on what campus needs to know. We are proud to be journalists and we’re excited to continue being the student voice of KSC, even if distance separates us.”

That’s from a letter posted by the weekly paper’s lead editors, Managing Executive Editor Erin McNemar and Administrative Executive Editor Puja Thapa, when the college announced that it would be moving to online learning in mid-March.

Erin reports that making the shift from working at the newspaper’s office in the Student Center to working remotely was easy because the Equinox already had a strong web presence and because the editors had a plan in place for publishing from a distance.

Covering campus news from scattered locations presents challenges, Erin says – without the regular in-person staff meetings, editors need to work harder to stay in touch with each other and with reporters. And instead of conducting face-to-face interviews, the journalists have to track down people by email or phone. Puja, who is an international student, is still living on campus, so she’s able to get on-site photos and keep on top of what’s happening locally.

Also on the plus side, since the paper isn’t coming out in print, staffers don’t have to spend hours laying out broadsheet pages and dealing with the printing and distribution processes.

Mostly, Erin says, the Equinox staffers miss interacting with each other. “Working from home is harder in some ways, but it’s manageable,” she says. “It’s definitely difficult to be apart from all these wonderful people, though.”

The student journalists are all proud that they are fulfilling their mission of getting the news out to the College community, especially at a time when accurate and responsible reporting is so critical. “We’re lucky that we have this amazing online presence and we can still do what we love doing,” says Erin.

A senior journalism major from Ayer, Massachusetts, Erin is weighing her post-graduation options. She’s looking at public relations jobs and also applying to grad schools. In the meantime, she’s happy sharing the helm of the Equinox, even from her family home.

“The group of us who work on the editorial board are in general pretty happy-go-lucky,” she says. “We’re all just really supportive of each other and working together and checking in on everyone. It’s really great. We’re doing really well together.”

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