Editorial: Another quarter, another Easterner adjustment

Editorial: Another quarter, another Easterner adjustment

Malati Powell for The Easterner

By Drew Lawson, Sports Editor

Drew Lawson is the sports editor and co-managing editor of The Easterner. His opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Easterner, its staff or Eastern Washington University. This editorial has not been edited except for AP style.

If you had told me one year ago that I’d be co-managing the student newspaper after one quarter as the sports editor, I would’ve been shocked. 

How would you raise my shock factor? 

Possibly, you could inform me that my final quarter as co-managing editor/sports editor at The Easterner would be exclusively virtual, and I’d be writing this column from my parents’ living room. 

Why am I back home? Oh, because a global pandemic has forced everyone to stay home for the safety of themselves and others. 

Also, good luck finding sports to report on, “sports editor.” And just so you know, you’ve already taken your final in-person class of your academic career. 

You could’ve told me any of these things a year ago, and I would’ve told you to go back to wherever you came from. Which at EWU, is probably somewhere on the West Side.

But, all those things have become reality. And, just like everyone else, myself and everyone at The Easterner must adjust.

Therefore, for spring quarter, The Easterner is moving solely online. All content will be posted to our website, theeasterner.org. The presence of our social media accounts, specifically Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will become stronger. Interviews conducted by reporters will be done virtually, via phone or FaceTime. We will honor the state’s social distancing measures in an attempt to curb this virus.

One thing about The Easterner that won’t change is its commitment to serving the EWU community by informing that audience about the news it needs to know in these unprecedented times. To attempt to meet this need and continue to improve as student journalists, all of our writers have been assigned specific areas of coverage to report on. We currently have 12 reliable students on staff, and all of them have important tasks as we seek to carry out our mission. All 12 have contributed to content posted on the website since the COVID-19 crisis started affecting EWU happenings. 

News Editor Randle Kinswa is following the now-virtual ASEWU election process. You can find some preliminary information on that process here. Kinswa will be providing constant coverage during the upcoming primary and general elections this month. 

Sports Editor Drew Lawson, who is me, is tracking senior spring athletes at EWU to find out whether they’ll use their extra year of eligibility that’s been granted by the NCAA. I’ll continue to bring coverage of all things athletics and try to tell the stories that are appearing as a result of mass sporting cancellations. One of those stories was my own, of my trip to Boise for the Big Sky Championships that was cut short. Check that out here

Copy Editor Lauren Reichenbach tracked down a list of all cancelled events at EWU, and the rather slim list of events still upcoming. Co-managing Editor and Multimedia Director Malati Powell created the graphics for this story. 

News Reporter Star Dragon has tips for staying healthy and safe as the COVID-19 world continues to spin. Dragon is also responsible for digging up the majority of information found in The Easterner’s COVID-19 EWU timeline. Dragon will be working with Kinswa to be updating the timeline throughout the quarter. 

Arts and features Reporter Karlee Van De Venter discovers EWU’s plans for on-campus housing as most residents head home. Van De Venter will also be trying to bring some positivity to this largely negative climate, seeking out the “good news” that can be found amidst turmoil. 

Reporter Aaron Hutchinson discusses athletic cancellations and what EWU students can expect from fees as classes move online. Hutchinson will be following the economic impact of COVID-19 at EWU and within the Cheney community. He’ll also have weekly features on academic programs still available virtually for EWU students. 

Reporter Ben Blakney shares how clubs and organizations are impacted at EWU amongst widespread cancellations. Blakney will be doing weekly reports on the online class experience for EWU students, faculty and administration.

Reporter Emily Driskel is our newest addition. Driskel will be reporting on student life and how it’s affected by an almost entirely virtual college experience for the time being. 

Website Editor Keri Kelly describes how EWU Dining Services is affected by COVID-19. Kelly is also busy getting all of The Easterner’s print issues from earlier this year onto the website so those can be accessed by interested readers. 

Social media Editor Isaiah Gessner will continue to manage our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts and post our content on those platforms. Gessner will also facilitate virtual content that will solely be seen on our social media mediums, so stay tuned. 

Versatile Photographer Mckenzie Ford continues to take excellent images for our website. If a story has a clear and interesting photo that fits the content well, Ford probably snapped that pic. Ford will be taking photos for our web stories while following all social distance requirements. 

Finally, in an attempt to break out of the doom and gloom mentality that naturally comes with a global virus that kills thousands, all our writers will take turns doing some sort of entertainment review. That review will come weekly. Van De Venter is up to bat first. Look for her column on popular music that has recently dropped or is soon to hit the charts next week. 

I’ll be writing this column updating readers on our latest content on a weekly basis. As a staff, we also want to hear from you, the reader. What stories would you like to see from us? What does our audience need or want to hear? Let us know via social media or by completing the survey available on our website. We’d love to hear from you. 

As this crisis rages on, I’d like to reiterate our desire to continue to do our job and responsibility: informing the EWU audience of all the information they need to know. We’ll continue to work hard and improve as student journalists in an effort to serve our community.

Because, to slightly misquote Chris Hemsworth’s title character in the movie “Thor: Ragnarok,” that’s what responsible journalists do.