I’ve spent a lot of time in this column expressing my gratitude for being afforded the most normal year of college since the pandemic began, something I’m trying not to take for granted as a senior.
However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize that a lot of things aren’t back to normal yet.
With variants of COVID-19 out there and Ohio University not yet at its deadline for vaccination, health threats continue to linger and impact the way we all operate. Some classes are still hybrid or entirely online, and other opportunities remain virtual.
At The Post, while many of our practices have resumed in person, we continue to do some things remotely or virtually. Sometimes, the virtual route ends up being a great opportunity for some of our operations, and it can even be advantageous.
One thing that immediately comes to mind is our connection with the vast network of Post alumni.
Through Zoom last year, we were able to hold several immensely beneficial workshops hosted by journalists, photographers and other Post alumni for our staff. The virtual environment allowed for us to hear from alumni throughout the country, and it made for a more laid-back environment for young reporters to ask questions they might be unsure of. As workshops progressed, I noticed even more attendance and engagement.
This year, additional workshops hosted by current and past Posties have been scheduled, and some have already taken place. We’re always grateful for the alumni we have who chose to give their time back to us and the insight they offer.
Additionally, due to the nature of the pandemic last spring, our annual Post Alumni Reunion was held virtually. This, similar to workshops, allowed for past and present Posties from all over to attend. While it certainly was different than past reunions where Posties swarm Athens for a weekend, it was great to see how the Postie bond persists virtually and to hear how journalists around the nation have adapted to the pandemic.
One other virtual opportunity we’ve taken advantage of at The Post is conferences. Last fall, several Posties — myself included — attended the fall College Media Association conference and had the chance to attend virtual sessions.
Usually, if Posties attend conferences, they take time off school and travel there. While traveling to a conference is exciting and a special experience, a virtual option allows for us to pick and choose sessions that work alongside our schedule and better balance being a student and a journalist.
Attending these conferences allows us to learn new skills and take new approaches to our work at The Post. The essence of them sticks with us just the same, no matter the modality, but being virtual gives us the flexibility and personal health safety we need as we continue to navigate this pandemic.
Don’t get me wrong — I love connecting with Post alumni in person and would love the chance to attend a journalism conference in person. However, given the circumstances, virtual events such as these can be just as impactful — if not more — when we consider our current positions as both students and journalists. I’m glad to see the ways The Post continues to preserve through the pandemic, and I’ll be just as glad when we can fully resume business as usual practices.