After a year of staring at our computer screens, we can finally take a rest: Summer has arrived. Finals will be here soon, and despite the stress many of us are inevitably feeling, it is important to take a step back and reflect on all the historic things we have done in these unprecedented times.
First, we have adapted. Many students are finishing this school year after taking classes in all formats, whether in-person, hybrid, online, synchronous, asynchronous or whatever our professors could come up with. At the Torch, we have transitioned to digital publishing, forgoing our weekly print paper and releasing a weekly newsletter. Directly to the inboxes of our readers, we have been able to continue our necessary work, regardless of the distance some of us may be some of us may be from Queens. The new editorial board has adapted to a completely digital presence, similar to last year, with some living in New York and others, such as our Editor-in-Chief, hundreds of miles away. During this 2020-21 academic year, we have been able to grow as journalists, forgoing the quantity of articles for increased quality of pieces published.
We have done our share of learning outside the classroom. Monday evening, the Torch hosted a Media Literacy event in collaboration with CCPS and the St. John’s Journalism Program. Organized by Dayra Santana and Jillian Ortiz, our Editor-in-Chief Emerita and Managing Editor Emerita, the event explored what it means to be media literate in this day and age and how journalists are adapting to the changing media landscape. We were joined by over 60 students as well as journalists in the field and reporters such as Joye Brown from Newsday, Suzanne Ciechalski from NBC News, Mary Calvi from CBS 2 News and Michelle Lipkin from the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE). The 90-minute event began with Lipkin defining media literacy as the “ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create and act using all forms of communication.” Media literacy is a life skill that is useful to all ages and careers. It allows individuals to develop into competent consumers and appropriately engage with media outlets.
During the summer, as many students will finally shut their computers, the Torch will continue to monitor University updates for the fall semester. We hope that the fall brings us some sort of certainty over whether we will return to some form of normalcy on campus. We will continue reporting on the newest film releases, sports events and University coronavirus updates. Expect us to continue our campaign to #KeepTheTorchLit, attempting to alleviate our printing debts. Despite our exhaustion as students after a long, stressful semester, the Torch is not taking a break this summer. We plan to expand our social media and website to, as always, best keep the St. John’s community informed.