April 27 2022—
If you ever find yourself running a newspaper during a global pandemic, I’ve got some advice for you.
Firstly, I don’t recommend it. It’s pretty stressful, and the uncertainty of planning events or the coverage of those events is an added burden to the already overwhelming workload.
I remember first starting this gig amidst the massive work-from-home orders, and thinking I needed to have myself tuned in to every COVID source there possibly was. I turned on all of my Twitter notifications, followed all kinds of different health-related hashtags and was absolutely glued to my email.
This was not only an extremely inefficient way to collect incoming news, but I became increasingly weighed-down by just how rapidly everything was changing. I had to reevaluate what kind of outlet we were and what kind of news we wanted to be sharing. We are a student-run publication from the University of Calgary, and we provide student-centred news updates for the campus community. Right.
I would also suggest that you find yourself a staff that is so committed to the vision that you’ve attempted to put forward that you actually end up becoming lifelong friends. Staff who know you so well, they’ll create an anime-inspired cover shot of you with a cool sword.
While we had to make some tough updates and some on-the-fly decisions, this staff was the most genuine, kind, collaborative and overall incredible group of individuals that I have had the pleasure to know. Something integral to what I have learned over this year, is that rarely are achievements made alone. The success, the failures, the cool events we got to cover, the difficult moments we faced — all of this we did together as a team. And that’s really the only way to get through a term like this.
You’ll also need a stable and solid support system. Not only was I working with the Gauntlet this year, but I was also finishing up my education degree and completing my final two practicums. The only way I was able to make my way relatively successfully through both my term as EIC and as a student-teacher was with the people I had around me.
My staff, of course, was a huge part of that, working diligently through the school term covering interesting and engaging topics that resonated with the campus community. My parents were also there to help reassure me that I was doing a good job and that my best was in fact good enough. And my partner-teacher for my final practicum who sought to understand me and support me through the last leg of my journey in my program.
When I first began this term, the only thing that was running through my head was that Paul Rudd meme from the episode of Hot Ones he was on. “Hey, look at us. Who would’ve thought? Not me.” I was so uncertain not only for the future of the Gauntlet, as an organization that has tradition and history at the U of C, but for my own skills as someone to head that organization. I felt lost and ill-equipped to do the work and put in the time that so many had done before me.
I kept repeating that Paul Rudd meme so often that it became somewhat of an inside joke with the team this year to express how, incredibly, we managed to overcome a lot of the hardships we faced while navigating the transition from online to in-person.
Slowly but surely, we made it. And this sentiment of bewilderment over how we could have possibly managed to break through another challenge, transformed into a more self-assured and confident image for the Gauntlet post-pandemic. And I really like what that image looks like.
It’s an image of teamwork and community and support and respect. It’s an image that uplifts when things aren’t going your way, an image that says asking for help is not a weakness. I put my trust and faith in this community and not only did I see that trust and faith reciprocated, but I learned that leading through vulnerability works to your advantage every single time.
So, if you ever find yourself running a newspaper during a global pandemic, you might feel inadequate or underprepared or even question whether you were the right choice in the first place. But with a strong community and a fiercely dedicated team, you’ll definitely be able to manage.
Working at the Gauntlet is something I will never forget. It feels like it’s been three seconds and 10 years all at once. But I will always remember, and hold close, the people who helped to make this place what it is today and the work we did to lay the foundations for what’s to come. Who would’ve thought?
—Cristina Paolozzi, Gauntlet Editor-in-Chief