In late April, confronted with unprecedented challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, The Pioneer Log’s leadership team began formulating a plan for the Fall 2020 semester. We knew that our foremost responsibility would be documenting this historic period at Lewis & Clark, a duty we were eager to fulfill. With the guidance of the Division of Student Life, we developed a strategy to continue producing print newspapers while keeping our editors socially distanced. The past two months, The Pioneer Log’s editors and contributors have spent hundreds of hours constructing four print issues, including a special election edition, painstakingly drafting content that chronicles this autumn’s extraordinary events. This Friday, Nov. 13, The Pioneer Log will virtually release a fifth issue, opting to pause its tradition of print journalism as Palatine Hill navigates numerous COVID-19 cases.
Since Oct. 20, at least seven LC community members have tested positive for COVID-19, both on and off-campus. This includes a positive case on The Pioneer Log’s staff. Additionally, recent effluent testing results have reported COVID-19 in multiple campus dormitories. To produce The Pioneer Log, editors must spend significant socially-distanced time together, utilizing several rooms to manually design each of the newspaper’s pages. Given the current number of COVID-19 cases at LC and our heightened concern that physical newspapers may help facilitate the spread of disease, we feel that, for the remainder of the fall term, The Pioneer Log must cease print journalism and transition to a fully remote workplace.
While this was a difficult decision to make, certainly a disappointment to loyal on-campus readers, it is in the interest of our fellow community members. For the rest of the semester and over winter break, The Pioneer Log will regularly update its website with detailed, informative stories. Come spring, we look forward to continuing the task of apprising readers of the community’s news and opinions. Ideally, by that time, it will be newspaper ink that prompts their hand-washing, not COVID-19.
Nicholas Nerli is the editor-in-chief of The Pioneer Log.