Endings are often bitter-sweet. This being the last print edition of The Torch for the year is no different.
Much of this year, I’ve wondered “can we do this?” Producing news — for web or print — takes a tremendous amount of effort. Between staff turnover and student responsibilities, there were times when I doubted our ability to keep the news flowing on a weekly basis. There were also times where we struggled to keep our news content balanced and unbiased.
Luckily, we persevered and emerged on the other side stronger than before. The Torch has been fortunate to have a small group of dedicated students who work week after week, bringing stories to our campus community.
In the last several weeks, we’ve finally figured out how to function efficiently and not operate from a place of scarcity. We’ve been producing solid, well-written news stories and eye-catching imagery, edition after edition. There is always room to grow, but I couldn’t be more proud of the team we have at The Torch.
Most people never see the hard work put in by our student journalists — some people at Lane don’t even know The Torch exists. There are few places on a college campus where students have the opportunity to participate at every level of production, and come away with a tangible product to show for it. I firmly believe that this is one of the greatest leadership training grounds we have on campus.
We at The Torch have made great strides in moving the publication into the modern age. Through the addition of multimedia storytelling, a more expansive website and social media presence, we have laid the groundwork for our student news organization to stay relevant. There is more work to be done to take the publication digital-first, which includes evaluating how to best use the print edition in an increasingly digital landscape.
We have also been recognized for the work we’ve done with awards from the Associated Collegiate Press and the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association — taking home 16 awards so far.
While we’ve made great progress this year, quite a few of my plans never came to pass. Chief among them being more community engagement with the publication. My goal was to get people interacting and responding in the open, ultimately utilizing The Torch as a platform for ideas and information. While certain stories have spurred small conversations, it is not nearly the scale I was hoping for.
Amidst an ever-growing budget crisis, I worry for the future of student media at Lane. Will people see the value — and need — to keep the free press around? I certainly hope so. I trust that future staff at The Torch will continue to create meaningful and informative content to help prove our value to the college community.
Summer break is coming, and I’m sure the entire college is looking forward to the welcomed rest and relaxation. Yet even as I yearn for sleep after I finish my final projects, I know I will miss the rigorous effort and satisfaction of producing a weekly publication. Seeing my staff grow into strong writers, photographers, producers, designers and leaders has been the most rewarding part of my term as Editor-in-Chief.