It is traditional, in this space and at this time, for the Waltonian’s outgoing editor-in-chief to say goodbye to the newspaper and the Eastern community and hello to next year’s staff. So: Goodbye. And, Hello.
I should probably elaborate a bit. It has been a very good year for the Waltonian. We’ve been able to cover all sorts of mind-opening and University-changing events, like finding the Beethoven manuscript, the Equality Ride’s visit, the school’s continued growth at St. Davids, the rise and fall of the “four-by-four” proposal and administrative upheaval.
The academic world and the Christian commmunity are in a time of change and self-examination, with duelling trends helping and hurting them– and these changes (and the tension between academia and religion) fuel the drama at Eastern, a Christian university. This is what has produced some of the year’s most interesting stories and given others their relevance. Exciting times are considered a curse in the Chinese saying, but whoever first said that certainly didn’t know any journalists.
The Waltonian received four Keystone Press Awards this year from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, won against competition from college newspapers (daily to biweekly) across the state. (This space is also where it’s traditional to brag.) All of them were tied to faith or reason and their flux: Josh Andersen won an honorable mention for his opinion pieces and a first-place for his review of the band Over The Rhine. Rebecca Harwick won an honorable mention in the cartoon category for her series of Theologian Deathmatches. Finally, Ruth Robinson and I won second place for the editorial series Inquiring Minds.
Much more broadly than these few awards, the staff as a whole has done excellent work this year. I’ve only been here four years, but I’ve never before seen such dedication from so many of our reporters and editors. For instance, Kaitlin Shadle has done tireless work and many, many interviews in order to get the most accurate hard news, and Tim Olshefski has managed to vitalize and diversify the Arts and Entertainment section and make it more worth-reading than ever. Stefanie James, the photo editor, has helped increase the focus on pictures in the paper – taking many of them herself and ensuring their overall quality. To them and everyone else on staff: Thank you for a great year.
So much for the goodbyes. Now for the helloes. The incoming staff will be led by Ruth Robinson, who will move from this year’s managing editor to next year’s editor-in-chief. She has been on staff at the paper all three years she has attended Eastern, and she has just the experience and capabilities needed to make this paper better. Where things might have fallen through the cracks this year, her organizational skills and journalistic diligence should manage to hold everything together next year.
Josh Andersen and Jess Czop return from this year’s editorial board to next year’s editorial board, and the new editors have all been on staff. They have every opportunity to continue to advance the paper and support the community, like they have as staff members this year.