Simpson’s campus is usually flourishing with activity — CAB hosting campus-wide events, presentations or lecturesbringing students into Black Box Theatre, Simpson’s sports teams attracting crowds to Bill Buxton Stadium.
Simpson Student Media usually has plenty to cover on campus.
But most all events are now shut down at Simpson, making it harder for The Simpsonian student newspaper, ID Magazine and KSTM-FM radio to cover the campus.
Student journalists at Simpson are having to get creative to conduct interviews, cover stories and even hold staff meetings due to COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Simpsonian Editor-in-Chief Alyssa Craven says communication has been the most difficult obstacle to overcome when trying to manage the student-run newspaper.
“With COVID-19 guidelines in-person interviews are harder to do. Luckily, we can still do interviews through Zoom,” she said. “It’s also made it a lot harder to put out print editions since we can no longer meet in person. We’ve been doing our layout meetings over Zoom, which can make communication really difficult.”
Reporting on sports has become increasingly difficult with the cancellation and postponement of Simpson’s more popular sports — namely football and soccer.
“I think the hardest part of covering sports during a pandemic has been the lack thereof,” Sports Editor Jake Brend said. “Simpson is still lucky to have tennis, golf and cross country, but it’s not the same reporting without football.”
Still, Brend said he and his staff are finding other ways to generate content under the realm of athletics.
“I have been overcoming some of these challenges by looking deeper into stories below the surface,” he said. “COVID-19 and racial injustice are unfortunately bringing a lot of different angles to athletics on campus.”
Gone, at least for now, are the days where campus reporting was as simple as attending an event and grabbing a student or faculty member from the crowd for a brief interview.
Despite the difficulties, perhaps COVID-19 is challenging journalists, both student and professional, to extend their creativity and transform their skills in news-gathering. As Brend summarizes perfectly:
“Unprecedented times have brought unprecedented stories.”