News site takes a break as Miami goes on vacation

By David Wells

The Oxford Observer will be taking a winter break for the next few weeks as our staffing resources pack up and go home with the end of Miami University’s fall semester.

The Observer covers the city of Oxford, but reality dictates we observe the university’s calendar. Our reporting and editing staffs consist of Miami students and when the students leave town, well, it is hard to put out the Observer without them.

We will return during J-term however, with editions planned for Jan. 10, Jan. 17 and Jan. 24. This is due largely to the generosity of the Oxford Community Foundation, which is providing scholarships for several reporting and editing interns to work between the semesters. Our small J-term staff will mostly consist of Observer veterans, but when spring semester begins on Jan. 27, we will be staffed with a whole new crew of reporters and copy editors. 

As you can see from the accompanying story by student-reporter Peyton Gigante in this week’s edition, those students who have been covering the people and events of Oxford since August, leave with mixed feelings of sadness and accomplishment. Gigante’s story was the idea of the students, rather than their editor/instructor. They said they wanted to say goodbye to you, their readers, and to thank you for helping them to get to know Oxford and the people who live here.

More than one of them said the Observer helped them to break out of the “Miami bubble,” to experience the town beyond the campus. For all the freedom afforded by college life, it can be a pretty insular existence. Many students spend four years at Miami but never get any closer to the town of Oxford than the stretch of High Street between Campus and College Avenues. 

Students who work on the Observer come to understand that a community does not exist in isolation. Its members interact with each other every day in many areas: planning how they want their city to grow; electing their government officials; worrying about how their children are doing in school; uniting behind causes as varied as recycling to building a new system of hiking trails to expanding local medical services. 

Many of the students who work on the Observer are seniors. They soon will be moving on from Miami. Learning to interact with a larger world than college is an important lesson for them. Thank you for helping to teach it.

David Wells is an instructor in Miami’s Department of Media, Journalism & Film. He serves as editor of the Oxford Observer.