Letter from the Editor: Oxford Observer will take short break and return Jan. 7

Oxford Observer Editor David Wells

Oxford Observer Editor David Wells

By David Wells

Today is the final edition of the Oxford Observer in 2021. The Observer is staffed by Miami University students who are finishing their exams, and in some cases their college careers, today and heading home for the holiday break.

We will take a few weeks off as well, but the Observer will be back with new stories and a new staff  Jan. 7, prepared to bring you the news of 2022.

As the editor of the Observer, I have a close view of how these student reporters grow and develop as they report on the events and people of the community they share with our readers. For some, it is the first time as Miami students that they have considered what Oxford is like beyond High Street. They come to understand that this is a vibrant community with concerns and interests that are far removed from the life of a college student.

In the video that accompanies this column, you can meet the 10 people who have been reporting on your community for the fall semester. You may be surprised to hear that most of them want to thank you, their readers, for trusting them to bring you the news of the community we share. 

These reporters worked hard for you – some into the wee hours of Friday morning, polishing the stories that will appear in this week’s edition.

There has been a lot of local news to cover this semester, from local elections to mask mandates and vaccinations. We have had stories about crimes and heartbreak and features about people who have succeeded. We brought you stories about dark chapters of local history involving the forced relocation of the Myaamia people and the denial of basic rights to others. 

These student reporters have told you about controversies and comedy. According to our online analytics, the most-read story in the past month was about the battle of science against false information about COVID-19 and the need to vaccinate. The second most read story was the comical piece about three students known as the “Shower Boys of Miami,” who are trying out all the bathing facilities on campus. That news has apparently inspired similar escapades on other campuses around the country.

Over the years, I’ve often heard the complaint that there is too much emphasis on bad news in the media. My response is that there is no such thing as good news or bad news, it is all just news, an honest and fair recounting of the events and people who live and interact in the community.

If you want to think about “good news,” think about it as stories that keep you well-informed about what is happening around you, helping you to be a better citizen. That is what the Oxford Observer wants to continue to bring to you.

We wish you all a joyous holiday season and we look forward to being back with you Jan. 7.

David Wells teaches journalism in Miami University’s Department of Media, Journalism & Film, and is the editor of the Oxford Observer.