By Tyler Wong
Millennium Brooklyn High School
COVID-19 has taken millions of lives worldwide but also impacted small institutions including the Statesman, Stony Brook University’s main student publication. Due to the pandemic and now having to stay at home, the Statesman was forced to stop its print version.
“We announced on instagram when COVID broke out in March when it first hit it was the first time we went off of print for the first time in 63 years,” said Brianne Ledda, the Statesman’s former editor-in-chief, “it was really chaotic.”
Aside from the forced change, the pandemic was also a good opportunity for the Statesman to update its norms. “On the other hand, we were able to expand the Statesman’s multimedia capabilities,” Ledda said.
“We launched a weekly newsletter,” Ledda said. “Things continued to evolve.”
When the pandemic hit it forced entire governments to lockdown countries. The lockdowns created ghost towns and cleared campuses, leaving student news outlets like the Statesman unable to cover the news like they normally would.
“We went remote and lost the ability to collaborate,” Ledda said. “It wasn’t quite the same.”
Aside from institutions, several campus staff members were also shocked by the need to pivot to a new mode of operation. Isobel-Breheny Schafer, Assistant Director of Student Media and general manager of WUSB 90.1 and 107.3 FM, said that the campus’ media rose to the challenge of having to adjust to new norms.
“The fact that they were already working in a multimedia mindset made it easier,” Schafer said.
However, with things opening back up, several campus institution members are beginning to see a silver lining when it comes to getting back to normal and being able to once again conventionally cover the news. Sara Ruberg, current editor-in-chief of the Statesman said that it is going to be tough getting back into the normal workflow.
“We are all going to be very busy when school starts,” Ruberg said. “It’s going to be interesting coming back and reinventing the wheel with our news staff.”
Shian-James Harden and Chloe Findlay contributed to this report.