Harding at a distance: Inform, record, connect

When the 2019-20 school year began, we took a long look at the purpose of The Bison newspaper within Harding’s community. I was honored to be leading this publication, and I did not take the responsibility lightly. As a staff, we decided our purpose was twofold. First and foremost, we serve to inform the current community. Secondly, we serve to record history for the communities to come.

Inform and record. Along with an amazing team of fellow students and our faculty advisor, April Fatula, we spent our days on campus informing and recording. It became second nature — almost routine.

When we learned over spring break that we would not be returning to campus, we were shocked, just as most students were. It didn’t feel real. With such news though, The Bison needed to serve both its purposes: to inform and record.

For the next several weeks, as Harding’s situation continued to develop, The Bison team continued to work. Spread across the country, we made phone calls and sent emails. We edited stories virtually and came up with a new system. We were in the beginning stages of unprecedented times at Harding. More than ever before, we felt the need to inform our community and record history.

Now, we’ve begun to settle into the new normal. As we all dealt with our personal emotions and feelings about the semester’s strange evolution, we figured out how to continue our work. As a senior, I especially struggled with persevering through the emotional challenge of knowing my final weeks as a Harding student would take place away from the campus and community I had grown to love over four years. However, we knew there was still work to be done.

For the second half of the spring semester, we met with our writers and staff members via video conference calls instead of in the office. We uploaded new stories and content to The Link every Friday. We even established The Bison’s first e-newsletter, sent to our subscribers’ inboxes Friday mornings with the week’s top stories.

We have a new process, and our product looks different. However, our purpose remains the same. We inform our community, now spread across the world. We record history, knowing that many will be reading our words for years to come as a documentation of this time.

Through the process, we’ve also discovered a third purpose, just as important as the first two. In this confusing, uncertain time, The Bison serves to connect. We know how easy it is to feel completely cut off from the community during this time. We’re students ourselves — we feel it, too. Because of that, The Bison has tried to connect our community through the stories and information we share.

Inform. Record. Connect. Working with The Bison newspaper this year has shown me the power of such simple, yet critical, purposes. It has been an honor to serve the community in this capacity, now more than ever.

Emily Nicks, The Bison editor-in-chief, April 12

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