the paper’s Online Semester, a Reflection

by Noah Kotlarek, News Editor

Though an unusual semester, the paper lives on.  You’re currently reading the final issue of the 56th volume of the paper, congratulations.  This article presents a testament of the paper’s online pandemic semester.  We began suspecting we wouldn’t remain on campus for long but fortunately we were wrong and we made it to Thanksgiving.  Nonetheless, the beginning of the paper’s semester was odd.  Over the summer, Christian and Suresh, our fearless chiefs, assembled us on the Zoom platform to create a simultaneously ironically and unironically cringy video as to why freshman should join the paper, a supplement to the canceled in-person club fair.

Then summer faded and we returned to campus for our Fall 2020 semester.  Our usual meetings on Tuesday night at 9 PM on McGinley 2nd moved onto Zoom in light of COVID-19 and social distancing measures.  As far as new members, well there weren’t (m)any but our faithful crowd of nine or twelve remained.  Soon it was the first production weekend, it was very different but ultimately a success and good time.  Since we no longer had access to the printshop and the Adobe suite we had to improvise and adapt.  In the beginning we worked both remotely and together masked in one of our editor’s apartments.  Since we couldn’t use our usual software we looked towards opensource alternatives, employing Scribus in lieu of InDesign and Gimp in lieu of Photoshop.  These programs were certainty not without their challenges but we managed and some of us even used Microsoft Word to create our sections, very resourceful.  Suresh helped people with technical issues, Zooming them and sharing his screen so we knew what to do.  After people mostly learned how to use these systems, our talented copy editors read over our articles, the section editors placed the text into Scribus or Word, and then we added some graphics and sent them into the chiefs.  The chiefs then converted the documents into PDFs and uploaded them to the paper website.  The PDFs with all of our cool graphics can be found under the “ The Vault” tab on our website, fupaper.blog.  Eventually, we stopped meeting masked in-person and switched entirety to Zoom but continued production until semester’s end.

Was it different, yes, did we do it though, yes.  In the words of the beloved Chinese proverb, “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”  ¡Viva la paper! 

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