Vidette_ICPA 20201

Fromt from left, Rachel Hickey, Kellie Foy, Elizabeth Seils and Grace Kinnicutt. Back from left, Jake Fogal, Alex Gant, Jake Sermersheim and Andrea Ricker.

This past weekend, The Vidette participated in our annual Illinois College Press Association conference.

While the glitz and glamour of downtown Chicago was traded for the comfort of our apartments and the glow of our computer screens, the conference was still a great success. The Vidette secured 16 total awards, eight of those were for first place, which is the most first place awards we’ve ever won.

But, I think this year we’ve all gained something more meaningful than any awards we won. Not to get all “the real prize was the friendships we made along the way,” but truly, the ability to work at The Vidette during one of the craziest years of my life has kept me going through the good and the bad. And we have been much luckier than most college newspapers in this time.

We’ve been able to keep up printing physical editions this year, and we’ve been able to safely do work in-person some of the time. Those two factors kept morale high and was the saving grace for many members on the staff.

It paid off for us as well. We’ve been able to continue quality coverage and reporting since the pandemic hit.

I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel of other editors in chief and it was interesting to see how COVID-19 had affected the communities and universities they were a part of. Plus, it gave me the chance to reflect on how much I’ve been affected by the pandemic and how much The Vidette has helped me through it. I remember exactly how I felt in those first few weeks of the shutdown. At the time, the previous Vidette staff was high off the success of ICPA 2020, and we had all felt like more of a well-oiled machine than ever before.

I remember getting that first announcement that the university would be online for the rest of the year. I was heartbroken, I was angry, but I made sure to get it on the website first.

While we were all in different parts of the state, all of the sub-editors were connected in that time, slumped over our computers and sharing in a grief that we would never be in the same office again. But as much as there was sadness, there was work to do too. Having those stories to write and press conferences to attend gave me the sense of purpose I needed to stave off the stress and the sorrow that COVID-19 was giving me.

Even still, through the summer and the fall, I counted the days to the next time I would be in that office, just to feel normal once again.

I’m proud of all of our awards, and I’m proud of all the experience I’ve gained at The Vidette thus far. I’ll be happy to add all that to my resume, but I am most proud of how we supported and helped each other through what might end up being the most challenging years of our lives. I only hope that the staff can continue that tradition next year.

Congrats to all of my editorial staff: to Kellie, Grace, Andrea, Alex, Jake, Rachel, Katie, Kelvin, Lauren and Flynn. You all make such a positive impact on my life. Here’s to finishing the year strong!

ELIZABETH SEILS is Editor in Chief of The Vidette. She can be contacted at Follow Seils on Twitter at @SeilsElizabeth 

IF YOU SUPPORT THE VIDETTE MISSION of providing a training laboratory for Illinois State University student journalists to learn and sharpen viable, valuable and marketable skills in all phases of print and digital media, please consider contributing to this most important cause. Thank you.

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