Columns / Discourse / Editorials / May 30, 2020

Passing the torch: EICs have important year ahead

Well, I just finished my last article, I’ve run my last meetings and I will no longer get any of the emails sent to tks@knox.edu.

Thank you everyone I have talked to for stories, especially those who have offered wider advice when I did so, or who have contributed in any way, especially by reading, this year. And thank you to the staff for your tremendous work through an unprecedented year.

Above all, thank you Tom Martin for his continuing commitment to journalism at Knox and the countless pieces of advice you have given me and the paper over the past four years. We would, I think literally, fall apart without his guidance.

TKS has been the single dominating experience of my time at Knox. There have been terms on campus where I didn’t take an English class or an Environmental Studies class, but never a term where I wasn’t involved with TKS. And now I get to say goodbye to it.

TKS, through the articles I have written, has shown me parts of campus (and more importantly, problems and trouble within those parts) I would never have otherwise seen. Writing for TKS is a good way to learn more about the school you go to. And to meet amazing people both on staff and through the articles you write.

It also got me more involved in Galesburg. The line between campus and town is a lot more porous than I realized as a freshman and important things are happening in Galesburg that I wish TKS had covered more. TKS and my church are two of the biggest reasons I stayed at Knox.

At the same time, TKS has been both the single biggest cause of stress in my life, and the place I’ve turned to to avoid other stressors. I’ve never felt something quite like the atmosphere of Pub Night or particularly intense meetings over stories, even at other papers.

A pandemic is a problem no TKS staff in the last century has had to face. Luckily, we had options available to us that the staff in 1918 did not. I’m sad that this column won’t be printed next to the ones by Carlos Flores-Gaytan and Sadie Cheney, but that is a small sacrifice for the fact that it will run at all.

Coincidentally, 1918 proved to be an important year in TKS history as well, when Florence Meridan became the first woman to be editor-in-chief of the publication. With the changes Carlos and Sadie are already talking about making, especially within the context of the pandemic, I think 2020-2021 will be similarly important.

I cannot express how proud I am of the staff this year. Even before this term they handled me learning on the fly, as well as the changes we made in response to having only 75% of what we expected our budget to be.

They were an almost entirely new staff as well, with all of the section editors being new at their jobs (and InDesign). Fall Term was, for sure, a bit like learning to swim the hard way. This staff managed it all.

There is plenty I meant to do and didn’t, both because of the lower budget and because I didn’t devote the energy that they needed. Thank you to those of you who have interacted with us over the year, because we are your paper and we need help to be that. There is clearly plenty of work left to do there (possibly more than when I started).

I trust Carlos and Sadie to improve the paper along those lines, along with some other big changes you’ll see Fall Term. They both care deeply about how this paper interacts with and reflects the campus and that is the type of leaders TKS needs right now.

They are proven leaders on staff already and have a willingness to take the paper in new directions and new places, especially online, that I, frankly, lacked. And they are both outstanding journalists who I cannot wait to read next year and after they graduate.

Of course, with what Fall Term will look like still uncertain, Carlos and Sadie have plenty of uncertainty going for with it. Like other clubs, we faced new challenges passing on the knowledge new editors need. They’ll have to improvise a lot, but it wouldn’t be a newspaper if they didn’t.

For those of you who are graduating with me, don’t forget you can subscribe. Or at least, please keep reading, especially as we move into stages of our lives where we need to make decisions about giving and where our money goes.

No matter what, I’m sure it will still be the best small college paper in Illinois (and to me, the world).

Connor Wood, Editor-in-Chief
Connor Wood is a senior with a double major in English Literature and Environmental Studies. He started as a volunteer writer and then staff writer his freshman year and was a news editor his sophomore and junior years. He has also worked as a communications intern for the Aldo Leopold Nature Center and as an intern with Unified News Group, both in the Madison, WI, suburbs.

Tags:  column editor's notebook editor-in-chief journalism pandemic tks Tom Martin

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