It’s crazy to think we’re finishing up a school year that has been like no other, and that we, at the Foghorn, have been tasked with creating the first draft of USF’s COVID-era history.
In the midst of an extremely tough time, when it’s easy to feel disconnected from communities and people who are miles and miles away, our staff — and importantly, our contributors — have remained steadfast in their commitment to producing responsible, independent journalism for the campus community.
It has been challenging, and frustrating at times, to practice good journalism online. Given that the newspaper industry is so dependent on connecting with others for information, one could see how being remote complicates things. Not to mention that our editing and production process is highly collaborative.
Nevertheless, we’ve found a way to continue on the best we could, just like everyone else in the world has. I think what has made me most proud to serve as Foghorn Editor in Chief this semester has been the resilience of everyone who makes the paper what it is — our paid staff, contributing writers, graphic artists, photographers, our advisor, and of course, our readers.
In a time when it would have been easy to start letting our writing quality standards slip, or to produce the paper less frequently than once a week, we’ve collectively come together to shift our coverage online and keep things on track. The Foghorn may have been more needed during this COVID year than ever before as a way to keep the USF community informed and connected even though we were dispersed all over the globe.
During the 2020-21 academic year, we’ve covered all the events that have shaped the campus climate in News: the search for and appointment of our new provost, the historic 2020 election season, the pandemic from many different perspectives, the impact of the Hulst & Handler report, the noose incident which rocked the USF community, and, of course, all things COVID and campus.
In Opinion, we’ve included a more diverse range of student voices: we heard from a student who lost their grandfather to COVID-19, we’ve been educated on the rise of anti-Asian racism and its historic roots, and we’ve come to know the journey of a student’s love for their disability.
In Scene, we strived to bring local arts and culture back into readers’ lives who are away from the Bay. There were some wonderful poetry features, there was an artistic celebration of influential Black women, and a powerful photo essay of the Capitol insurrection by a Foghorn alumna.
And in Sports, we streamlined our coverage of Dons athletics with the creation of the Dons Weekly Roundup, while also covering COVID’s impact on USF sports and including more unconventional sports stories like a profile of USF’s Spirit Squad.
Personally, I was pleased with the amount of stories related to the Black community we produced this year. Increasing our coverage in this way was one of my personal goals as the first Black male Editor in Chief in the Foghorn’s 118 year history. I’m also thrilled that we relaunched our podcast, the Fogpod.
I have so many people to thank as I exit this role: past Foghorn EICs Gabriel Greschler and Ali DeFazio for being gracious with their time and advice while helping me transition into the role; my direct EIC predecessor Katherine Na for showing faith in me to become the News Editor, which completely changed my relationship to the paper; my family for understanding and supporting me no matter how busy I got (they even started jokingly calling me “The Mayor of New Orleans” because I was always working this past semester); my staff for allowing me to lead them — a special shoutout goes to Mardy Harding, Haley Keizur, and Ethan Tan for the sheer amount of energy and hours they’ve put into the paper over the course of their college careers as they say goodbye this semester. And most importantly, thank you to our advisor Teresa Moore for showing unwavering confidence in my ability to captain this ship. Even when my self-belief was low, she was always there to pick me up.
But now, we look to the future. Lucia Verzola, our current Copy Editor, will be taking over as the next Editor in Chief of the Foghorn in fall 2021 as I venture off to take part in the USF in D.C. program. Lucia is a responsible, organized, and intelligent leader with integrity and I have full faith in her ability to build on my work and improve this publication.
With that, I say goodbye to the Foghorn, for now at least. I hope I’ve left the paper in better shape than I found it. It’s been an honor to serve as the Editor in Chief.
Julian Eldridge Jameel Sorapuru
Editor in Chief, San Francisco Foghorn