A Look Back At The Aquinas Online

by Kelly Nee | Managing Editor

It goes without saying that the past year of virtual learning has been nothing like anyone could have expected. But what was it like revamping the student voice of The University of Scranton – and doing it fully remote?

The Aquinas previously operated as a monthly magazine in print, and has existed solely as a regularly updated online newspaper this semester.

In May of 2020, advisor Matt Reavy, Ph.D., reached out to me about future plans for The Aquinas, and encouraged me to apply for the position of managing editor. At this point, my only journalistic experience was as a broadcast anchor for my high school’s morning news show. In other words, I had no idea how to manage an online newspaper.

But as we discussed the idea further, I came to realize that if The Aquinas was having a complete overhaul and everything was about to change, then I couldn’t exactly do the job wrong. Once Phil Rauch and I were hired as co-managing editors, I was completely sold.

The past year of The Aquinas has been made up of Zoom calls and long email chains. Where you would expect newsroom meetings or late nights in the office, we probably had a group text thread running for days at a time. We learned to work at our own pace, edit and upload our own stories, and then circle back to check in with the team later.

The experience of working for The Aquinas online has been rewarding for a number of reasons. For starters, the world of Zoom has opened up the possibilities of interviewing people I could not have anticipated. This semester, I has the pleasure of interviewing editorial director of C-SPAN Paul Orgel, as well as former MLB player Willie Mayes Aikens.

Additionally, I was able to work The Aquinas around my class and social schedules. An online newspaper is a great way to connect with students on campus about the events that pertain to them directly, and I feel grateful for this past year as co-managing editor and all it brought me.

In the fall semester, The Aquinas plans to come back in person and in print. This means hosting meetings in the office, rolling out a weekly print issue, and designing the paper in the company of the other staff. To say that myself and the other staff members are excited is an understatement. I think I speak for everyone at The Aquinas when I say that it can only go up from here, and we’ll be there to write the story when it does.

Thank you and keep on reading,

Kelly Nee, The Aquinas Managing Editor