The news never stops and neither does the reporting from the staff of The Signal, TCNJ’s student newspaper. Emmy Liederman ’21, Jane Bowden ’20, and Camille Furst ’22, comprise the newspaper’s leadership team. The editors share how they’ve been able to cover the global health emergency while they contend with this unique situation.
TCNJ: What was the plan when you found out that everyone had to leave campus because of the coronavirus?
Jane Bowden (managing editor): We knew we’d have to pause the print edition of the paper, but we were all in agreement that we’d continue publishing stories online since everyone wants and needs to know about the virus, how it’s affecting our campus, and what steps we can take to stop its spread.
Camille Furst (managing editor): The whole staff knew we were going into an unknown territory of reporting on such a massive story without ever being able to go on campus. For all the stories that we were working on where we would need to be on campus, we would have to find different ways to go about them.
Emmy Liederman (editor-in-chief): To keep things running semi-normal, we have updated the website as much as possible by covering breaking news, publishing opinion pieces, and writing features on how different communities within our campus are coping.
TCNJ: How has the staff managed being away from the campus while still covering their respective beats?
Bowden: Now, more than ever before, we’ve all been proactive in helping each other cover every aspect of COVID-19’s effect on the campus community. We have people who usually write about arts and entertainment writing news stories about how the virus has affected grocery store workers. We have people who usually write about world news covering campus-specific stories. It’s heartwarming to see everyone on the staff give a helping hand in such a weird, chaotic time.
TCNJ: Can you talk about how the team is staying plugged into what is happening on campus?
Bowden: When it comes to TCNJ students, faculty, and staff and their perspectives, we’re reaching out to anyone we can to ensure that everyone’s voices are being heard. We’re here to report every side of the story.
Liederman: I have been in communication with Head Media Relations Officer Luke Sacks, who helped set up an interview with Dr. Foster. He has kept us updated on all TCNJ developments, whether it be the pass/fail grading system, postponing graduation, or COVID-19 cases within our community.
TCNJ: Did you have any words of support or encouragement for the staff to keep spirits up?
Liederman: As a journalist, it can be hard to keep up with breaking news without being able to process that news yourself. While I have encouraged my writers and editors to work efficiently and take advantage of such an unprecedented moment, I have also encouraged them to take a step back and relax when stories become overwhelming.
Furst: It’s just important to be able to process everything at a pace that works for you.
Bowden: Like Emmy and Camille said, you have to take the time to take a step back and breathe. Everything is all about balance, and we have a bunch of caring staff members who are willing to step up when others need a break.
— David Pavlak