When I came on staff at the Ithaca Times, I never imagined that I’d be sitting at the helm, as I am today (our publishing day) addressing our expansive, quick-witted and community oriented readers to share my thoughts in anything other than a review here or there. In fact, a year ago, I never expected for any of you to be my reader, but that just goes to show how much can happen in a year, I suppose.
In a few weeks, I will mark exactly one year since I sat on the stairs of the Ithaca Times after walking in circles and waiting in lines and chatting it up, as I am keen to do, during the 2019 Apple Harvest Festival. With one of my closest friends I looked for a brief escape from the crowds of Apple Fest, and I found the quieter steps of the Ithaca Times, I looked up and thought ‘wouldn’t it be cool to work here one day.”
Well, I’m here and now the real work begins.
As interim Managing Editor for the Ithaca Times, what I have inherited from Matt Butler is an awesome task. It’s replete with demands on time, creativity, conscientiousness, responsibility and all that jazz. And although it’s anxiety-ridden, it’s what keeps me coming back to this field of work day after day. I’m optimistic about my time here knowing I’ll be able to share that with you.
What intimidates me is having to bear the work before you all each hour, day and week. It’s the artistry of journalism— What will they think? Do they approve? Was this the right call? But each day that I approve the next day’s newsletter to arrive in your inbox or mark another article as destined for our weekly issue, I feel myself slipping into the groove and growing more comfortable with the rhythm that’s created by you, the reader.?
That’s what this job is, essentially. It’s what journalism is, essentially: answering two questions: what do they need to know? And what do they need to know? Both answers every journalist learns from the reader in time and with time. Hopefully, you need to know the same things I need to know (not always likely, but that would make my job a lot easier). In any case, decoding this sound, the rhythm of Ithaca is something we should all be excited about to pursue. Is it salsa? Is it anjali? Is it breakdance? In all likelihood, it’ll be whatever it is I’ve seen several times at the Ithaca Reggae and Grassroots festival— a joy to watch and a curiosity to behold.
Being a journalist during this time also comes with its own obstacles, not just because of coronavirus, but because of the age we’re in. COVID has undeniably changed our world for the better and worse. It’s given us time to focus on self and society in ways we were too distracted to sit, ponder and speak out against before, and it’s taken us away from those we love— and in some cases taken them away from us. How do I, as a journalist, share the sober truth of our world in such a time as this? How can I convey the magnitude of the conditions of some human conditions? And how do I do that in Ithaca?
So, I suppose it’s more fitting than any other time that I make my first address to you in our Student Survival Guide. This year was particularly difficult, after all, how does a duck teach a horse to row? But we gave it our best. And I hope that will do for now, until I decode the rhythm of Ithaca?