By Erin Reilly ’20, Editor in Chief
If you’ve been here before, welcome back. If you’re a new reader, welcome to the Cardinal Courier, St. John Fisher College’s sole student-run news outlet on campus.
The Courier faced a lot of firsts this semester. It was the first time that news releases were completely digital. It was the first semester that the Courier ran entirely through a global pandemic, a feat that, while impressive and newsworthy, hopefully won’t be achieved again. It was also the first (and last) semester that I served as the editor-in-chief. I’ve learned so much more than I could have imagined, and I’m writing today to share some of those valuable lessons with you.
First, I’ve learned that nothing is certain. It’s a token phrase that we’ve heard at an ever-increasing volume for the past eight months as we’re living through trying times. To be a college student during a global pandemic is a rarity in itself. To be a news organization that gets to cover the daily lives and breaking stories that go along with the pandemic, however, is an honor.
When no answers were to be found among students in these confusing few months, the Courier persevered, found those answers, and served as a reliable source for students when everything else was up in the air. Our writers wrote pieces that no other semester provided the opportunity for: details of a mask mandate, a breaking rise in cases on campus, an unexpected campus shut-down, and so much more. The spirit of journalism was brought back to life within the Courier and stories were found in unlikely subjects.
I came to the Cardinal Courier with pretty minimal journalistic experience. My passion for creating and writing was what drove me to explore this style of storytelling, and it led me to many discoveries about the art of news gathering and the demands that come with it. It also led me to a newfound love for this style of writing, and a fascination for the fast-paced nature of it.
The beauty of being a college news organization run mostly by students is that our writers are part of the population that the news is affecting. They knew what stories to cover because they were the ones hearing the conversations and the questions among students on campus. It was incredible to watch, listen to, and participate in for the past 14 weeks.
The most thrilling part about our storytelling, however, was the unexpected — the breaking stories and events that we only had hours or minutes to pull together. Those were the pieces of news that taught us the most about telling stories efficiently and thoroughly. We learned, together, that being accurate in a time of urgency is what makes our storytelling newsworthy and important. When Fisher went completely remote, for example, our writers found and confirmed the correct information about the school and got it out there, before most of the local news outlets could get their hands on the story. We’re in a position to tell stories that are so unique and crucial to our student body, and we will continue to do so.
With the end of the semester quickly approaching and another one looming in the distance, I leave the Courier with so much hope for the future.
I hope that the Courier will continue to be a voice for those who are typically silenced. I hope that its writers will keep shining a light on issues that might otherwise remain hidden, and keep talking to students about their experiences with racial inequity, gender biases, mental health, and so much more. I know that the Courier will continue to be a safe and reliable source of information for students as our world seems to hang in the balance.
I am proud of the passion for real, pressing, important storytelling that I see in all of our writers. I am proud of the urge to start and continue difficult and sensitive conversations. I am proud of the perseverance that we’ve shown during such a challenging time, and of the excitement that we’ve shown to cover it. The Courier may be small, but we are mighty, and I have faith that the might will continue to shine through.
I’ve found that there’s truly nothing better than compelling, urgent and creative storytelling, and I’m proud to have been a part of it.
Erin Reilly, Editor in Chief