By Moriah Story, Editor-in-Chief
It’s chilly in the Student Media Center as I’m perched at my desk, trying to put these thoughts into words. The past year and a half has been easy on no one, and college clubs are not an exception. I inherited this paper from the excellent former Editor-in-Chief at the end of last semester and I had hopes that I could be instrumental in breathing new life into The Billboard. I hoped, and still do, that other students would see the value that college journalism holds. Without those of us who possess a drive to inform, to seek knowledge, to create, even institutions as old as the hills will crumble.
But here I sit, with only a handful of others ready to put in the work to keep this newspaper alive. Our readership is down, most of our staff has graduated and due to the pandemic, we’ve moved permanently online. The Billboard has begun to feel more like shouting into the void.
There are those who question the importance of student journalism. To most of you, the idea of our paper closing its metaphorical doors probably doesn’t stir up much emotion. There are other news sources and other clubs. But the history of Wilson is rich with tradition, hardships, historical moments of change, and the stories of women pursuing their dreams; The Billboard has been present to cover them all.
Our first issue landed in the hands of students and faculty in 1921, with nothing but a question mark in place of a name. For context, it was released on the same day that the first radio broadcast of a public address from a remote location aired. Media has come a long way since that day and our small college paper has worked overtime to keep up.
For exactly 100 years, Wilson women (and more recently, men) have made use of their right to free speech by leaving no stone unturned in the Chambersburg community. We’ve covered women’s issues, historical events, popular culture, Wilson policy, local affairs, concerts, restaurant openings, book reviews, protests, and global pandemics. Almost two thousand editions of The Billboard have been produced. I believe this is enough to consider our paper a substantial influence throughout the history of Chambersburg.
Covering news is not always fun. It’s time-consuming, frustrating, sometimes awkward, and occasionally formulaic to the point of pure monotony. But I think it’s worth it. The pride students experience when they see their first byline. The comments from professors and alumni when they’re touched by an article. The feeling of community and connectedness when we read news by our fellow students. The speed of fingers typing late into the night when inspiration for an article has finally struck. The satisfaction that comes with saying, “Yes, I do my part to spread truth and keep student journalism alive.”
Without writers, reporters, photographers, and editors, The Billboard is nothing but a website domain gathering dust. Without students, there is no student journalism. Our newsroom is bare, Wilson Community, and I think it’s time for a change. We are few in number and cannot keep this running on our own.
If The Billboard has ever made its way into your hands or onto your laptop screen, I urge you to begin supporting us again. Send us lists of events you hope we’ll cover. Send us Letters to the Editor. Send us encouragement. Send us the names of interested students. Send us something you’ve written.
I love this paper and will continue typing away in the Student Media Center until I’ve tossed my graduation cap in the air. But without those coming behind me, without your desire to see Wilson’s student media continue to deliver content, our newsroom may close for good.