The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Abraham Teuber, Editor in Chief

Photo by Paul Hansen.

Before my student journalist era, I had a theatre kid era. I spent the majority of my first semester at Grinnell continuing my high school acting career as a cast member of Spring Awakening. This was where I had my first real interaction with the S&B beyond checking the website religiously as an eager prospie. I was interviewed for a story on the musical and, desperate for a rebrand in my public Grinnell debut, told the reporter I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a theatre kid. 

Come publication, I flipped open the paper to see myself described in print as a “self-proclaimed theatre kid.” Disappointed as I was, I decided to be the change I wanted to see in the world and start writing for the S&B (with some prodding from past editor in chief, Spring Awakening choreographer and good friend Zoe Fruchter `21).

The first week of second semester I showed up to the Pubs Office to take a story and never looked back. I wrote one or two articles a week, mostly just taking whatever needed to be written in the arts and features sections. Writing S&B stories became a good excuse to meet new people and hunker down in Burling to flex my writing muscles a few hours a week. I then threw my hat in the ring for arts editor and was lucky enough to get the job.

Fall 2019 is when the S&B really became identity-consuming. Back in the day, the editors came back to campus early to put out an edition during NSO. I spent that week reviewing the brand new Grin City Bakery, forming the now lifelong habit of spending hours writing my bio and taking hot staff portraits with Ingrid Meulemans `22. Layout nights quickly became the highlight of my week that semester for antics and editorial discussions that were equally stimulating. One minute I would be analyzing The Dynamic with Zoe or hacking the Spotify of editor in chief Jackson Schulte `20 and the next I’d be intensely debating the merit of the word “community” in a headline (thank you, Lyle!). 

Second year I also veered into reporting on social media, tweeting live from 2020 election events for Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, President Joe Biden and the Grinnell Ward 1 caucus. This is where my job felt like it moved beyond writing to journalism, trying to find the unique S&B angle alongside Des Moines Register, Associated Press and New York Times reporters. It was cool my parents got to see me wandering around Darby on CNN, too.

The end of second year, some stuff happened, but I kept plugging along with the rest of the S&B staff. The pandemic really made clear to me what an essential role the S&B plays on campus. With special summer funding, we consistently put out thoroughly reported and investigated stories throughout 2020 that I still feel really proud of. I also spent a lot of bored nights in quarantine digging through the S&B online archive, which I highly recommend!

At the end of my third year, I stepped into the editor in chief role with my brilliant partner in crime Eva Hill `22. The past twelve months have only affirmed my love for this paper. Exhausting as the year has been, it’s been well worth the late night layouts and editorial headaches. You’ve given us a run for our money, Grinnell, but I think our best effort was pretty damn good. 

One of the best pieces of writing advice I have gotten is that “to be a good writer, you need to move beyond the charming self-narrative.” While it was intended to steer me away from blabbing about myself in essays like I am right now, this phrase has become something of a mantra for me throughout college. It can be hard to ground yourself over the course of a long, intense Grinnell semester if you only have the abstract writing and discussion of liberal arts classes. Working for the S&B has been a crucial way for me to see Grinnell and the rest of the world from beyond a self-oriented point of view. 

It’s crucial for everyone at the College, too, to have a third-person perspective on what happens here, dictated not by personal interests but by a fully independent student staff’s determination to deliver it. I entered the role of editor in chief fully prepared to defend this independence to the College’s administration, but less so for the many moments where students seemed to misunderstand the S&B’s role. I would like to remind Grinnell students that S&B journalists’ on-the-job training, the smallness of our campus and the sensitive nature of many stories we cover are arguments for, not against, the importance of journalistic independence. 

Nadia Langley `23 and Allison Moore `24 have already done a fantastic job their first week in the editor in chief job, which I know they’ll continue next year with the rest of our fantastic staff. Thanks to our always patient, always wise professional adviser Lyle Muller for all his help. Thanks to Eva for everything. Thanks to Ingrid for keeping me sane, slay and entertained. I’ll end with a quote that’s immortalized on one of the whiteboards in the Pubs Office.

“Everyone in this room sparks joy for me.” -[teuberab]

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