During a time when accurate online information is needed the most, The Wright State Guardian is staying operational and producing content.
The staff of the student newspaper works remotely to publish breaking news stories, profiles of students and alumni first responders, and COVID-19 updates from Wright State University and the state of Ohio. Staff have also continued to release a weekly podcast, The Raider Report, and a YouTube show, The Guardian Spot.
To provide information as quickly as possible, The Guardian has implemented a COVID-19 updates page, which is edited daily.
Although Sarah Cavender, the editor-in-chief, makes it a priority to cover COVID-19 news, she said it’s also important to write about other things that can take student’s minds off of the global pandemic.
“We are also looking for ways to cover normal lifestyle and news that are going on, such as reviews of music, games, books, movies and things to do,” she said. “We have a lot of stories on self-care, trails to hike, and what students are doing while in quarantine.”
Even with remote working, the staff has stayed dedicated to producing a steady amount of content for Wright State students.
“Our team produces between 20-22 stories a week normally. Sometimes we publish three breaking news stories in a day, plus the regularly scheduled content,” Cavender said.
While The Wright State Guardian has remained operational, students have had to make numerous adjustments to how they connect with each other due to social distancing requirements. Jamie Penwell, the copy editor, said that at times getting everyone together for video chat meetings can be difficult.
“At least one person always has internet connection problems, so it makes it harder to have a quick, efficient meeting,” she said.
Staff photographer Jessica Fugett added that due to stay-at-home orders and social distancing practices, getting an adequate number of quality photos can be challenging.
“Since I can’t always send myself or my team out to take these photos (without compromising our health) we have had to lean more on stock photos, like previous photos we have taken and now have to reuse, or photos from sources. It’s been tough trying to adjust to these new limits,” Fugett said.
Despite these glaring challenges, the staff have remained steadfast in finding solutions. To combat miscommunication, they hold mandatory virtual office hours, department staff meetings and team planning meetings on Fridays. The staff has also implemented social distancing adjustments to Guardian Galleries, which is when a photographer goes out for a photoshoot.
The result of this creative problem solving has been an online news source for the student body that, Cavender said, is functioning with almost no change in quality or quantity during a worldwide pandemic.
“As far as content and workflow we are still producing the same if not more,” she said.
The Wright State Guardian staff is 100% student-based, so while the students are working hard to provide quality news content, they also prepared to ace their finals and maintain summer plans or internships. Through these trying times, they have remained dedicated to putting others before themselves by providing up-to-date information on the virus that’s causing the loss of human life. For their university and their community, they join the thousands of other unsung heroes in the fight against COVID-19.
“Our workload has definitely increased since the pandemic began but our incredibly talented team of students have adapted to the change,” Cavender said. “Our jobs have always been to inform our campus community, it’s even more important to do so now than ever.”