“You’re not parachuting in,” said Oyin Adedoyin, 21, the editor in chief of The Spokesman, the student newspaper at Morgan State University, Maryland’s largest historically Black university. “You literally live it,” she added.
The Spokesman has partnered with the Poynter Institute to report on health disparities in Baltimore’s Black community. “Black people, specifically, have been affected by the coronavirus,” Ms. Adedoyin said, “whether it’s unemployment, whether it’s students who just really don’t learn as well online, whether it’s family situations where you just can’t be home.”
College journalists are also facing disruptions in the media industry, just like those working at professional news outlets, and questions about whether they will graduate to jobs in the business. Some are experimenting with new ways of delivering information.
Arielle Gordon, 21, a senior at Colorado College, helped start a newsletter to report about the pandemic on campus and in the surrounding community of Colorado Springs. After a spike of cases in late August, the school’s test positivity rate has stayed below 1 percent, according to its coronavirus dashboard.
“Our audience is definitely expanding as coronavirus cases pop up,” Ms. Gordon said, adding, “People in the broader community have more questions and have started paying more attention to the stuff that we’re reporting.”
Along with her co-writers, Ms. Gordon has published interviews with campus administrators, offered scientific forecasts about the state of public health and infection in the community, and documented the exhaustion of life in quarantine dorms.
“People want to know what went wrong,” she said. “We’ve been trying to find out as much we can.”