The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Zoe Fruchter, Editor-in-Chief

Photo contributed by Zoe Fruchter.

I came to Grinnell in 2017 with no experience or interest in journalism. Chloe Wray `21 dragged me to a Scarlet & Black meeting the second week of our first year. She said it would be fun and we would get paid. Sitting in the Pubz office, a windowless space in which I’d spend many late nights throughout future years, I signed up to write a story about a new sculpture installation in town; 400-500 words, I was assured, quick and easy.

Four years later, after unionization, changing presidents, caucuses and a pandemic, I come away from my tenure at The S&B convinced of the indispensability of student journalism to this community and at large. I hope over the past year you have seen the importance of incisive, nuanced and timely journalism to connect and inform a large and multifaceted community – from alumni abroad to local voters – and to preserve history as it happens for the public record.

We never published that sculpture story. I couldn’t get in contact with the artist and its installation would be years in the future. But this fall, I walked down Sixth Avenue on my way to the store, wearing a surgical mask that would have been incomprehensible to my first-year self, and saw the sculpture had been completed. We assigned a new reporter to write about the piece. Therein lies the beauty of being a student journalist, knowing that as the stories continue so must the work of covering them, on the page or on the web, independently of any individual writer, editor or photographer. Because that’s what we do.

I’d like to take this opportunity to note how, unlike most college newspapers, we pay our staff at The S&B. I believe that so much of the strength of our reporting comes from this fact, that we are able to draw from a diverse pool of students and compensate them for their hard work – because it is work. As Grinnell College changes in future years, and I’m sure it will, I hope that this crucial aspect of The S&B will continue to be central to its mission and that of this institution.

Finally, to my staff, you should be immensely proud of your work this year under the most challenging conditions. Producing this paper with you has been a joy and an honor, and I have learned so much from every one of you. Seth and I have every confidence in our successors, Eva Hill and Abraham Teuber, not only to maintain our standard of coverage but expand its scope in new and innovative directions. I love this paper, and I know they do too.

Thank you, Grinnell, for your readership. I can’t wait to read next year’s S&B along with you.

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