Well, hey there.
It’s been a little over two months since I’ve posted anything. No, I didn’t forget or give up writing about my adventures in journalism. Quite the contrary; a brief hiatus from blogging just organically enveloped me as the hectic semester drew to a close, and I graciously accepted. Not forgetting, mind you, but realizing that if a blog is to keep its sense of interest and fun for both the reader and the writer, it cannot (should not) become a chore for either.
Which brings us back to now, the first week of classes over of an entirely new year. So a belated happy holidays and happy new year to you all.
The end of last semester I was promoted to News Editor of the Massachusetts Daily Collegian.
The day of Jan. 21, the day before classes were set to begin and our semiannual Back-to-School issue was in the works to be published, I got a call from an unknown number on my cell phone in the middle of brushing my teeth. Debating for a split second if I should ignore the call, I quickly spat out the toothpaste in my mouth, swallowing the rest, and answered my phone.
I’m glad I did.
The caller was a junior journalism student (not yet a writer for the Collegian) and she was calling to let me know of a huge fire that had happened at Rolling Green Apartments on Belchertown Road in Amherst where she lived, and did I know about that?
No, I did not, I told her, and we worked something out for her to do her very first reporting for the Collegian on the ground, interviewing students who lost everything to Red Cross volunteers.
And did I know yet that this fire would turn out to be fatal?
No, not just yet.
After I more fully completed the task of brushing my teeth, it was straight off to UMass’ campus center basement, home of Collegian headquarters. The rest of the day and most of the night was spent working on the story of the who’s, what’s, where’s, when’s, why’s and just how did this tragic fire come to be, and how was it that one student lost his life in it?
Slowly, details trickled in throughout the week, sneaking in between new class schedules and a new maze of campus construction.
Not so slowly, I realized that one of my first duties as news editor was to write the fire victim Jake Hoffman‘s obituary.
As I am still working on it, I will add the link when it is published. It is a huge responsibility, and I can only hope to honor Jake’s memory and make his friends and family, as well as the UMass community, proud to have been able to take part in his time here.
And as for the rest, I’m currently training four assistants for Team News just taking it day by day as I readjust back into the usual 18-hour college day.