I am graduating from Salisbury University after two years with The Flyer.
I started as a staff writer in November 2019 with a lengthy review of the Star Wars show “The Mandalorian.”
This was the first and last of my popular culture endeavors at The Flyer. However, it signaled a desire to redefine The Flyer’s editorial section.
I became editorial editor in early 2021 during the height of COVID-19. My section’s stories during the Spring 2021 Semester focused on responding to the school’s pandemic policies.
I did not shy away from talking about SU’s pitiful December 2020 commencement ceremonies and the useless Mini-Break solution during the Spring 2021 Semester.
There is always room for improvement at any university. My section did not cover controversy out of spite towards any administrator, professor or student.
Instead, I saw each concern brought to my attention as an opportunity for SU to be a better place for the next students who will call this gull nest their home.
As the Spring 2021 Semester ended, I envisioned a new editorial section for the fall.
COVID was no longer invincible. Vaccines became widely available during summer. Vaccination rates were reasonably high this semester, reaching above 90%, as previously reported by The Flyer.
Returning to campus made it easier to collaborate with and recruit writers. Students were eager to become involved again.
This invigorating atmosphere allowed The Flyer to flourish. The editorial section became vibrant and full of variety.
My objective was to capture the spirit of returning campus life and to expand SU’s student newspaper experience.
Beach reviews, student advice, restaurant reviews, galleries, the climate crisis and concert reviews graced our website and print.
Multimedia journalism emerged with “The Pocomoke Project.” This short film, story and podcast showed the potential of student collaboration.
I hope it was the first of many future multimedia projects at The Flyer.
While fun was certainly a focus, there were times when serious campus issues took priority.
I am especially proud of the Flyer team for reporting Angel Dougherty-Taylor’s academics being unnecessarily jeopardized by COVID.
I hope administration considers more accommodations for students with medical conditions, including those besides COVID.
Many stories made their way to publication. However, the limitations of student life held back this section’s potential in a few ways.
With more time, I would have investigated various reports of poor off-campus student housing. I would have written about how pets and college students are a match made in hell for roommates and neighbors.
Despite some unfinished ideas, I have hope for the future. My successor, Summer Smith, will bring a clear and strong voice to The Flyer. I have confidence in the rest of The Flyer staff to continue soaring as an example for student journalism.
I sincerely hope the paper continues to be a place where students’ voices can be heard. Student organizations, political movements, art communities and journalists across campus should get involved with the paper.
I have watched The Flyer’s influence touch people’s lives and tell real stories across campus.
However, my time to tell these stories has expired.
SU was my last school of choice during a time when life’s paths were tumultuous and changing. The memories forged, lessons learned and amazing people I met have shown me SU was the right path towards a fulfilling future.
Goodbye, Flyer family. I will forever cherish our cozy office, late night meetings, print deliveries and the opportunity to work with such a dedicated team of student journalists.
By JACOB BEAVER
Featured photo by Jacob Beaver