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Writers persevere in unfamiliar setting

SUN. | 04-03-22 | FEATURES

     As the two-year anniversary of March 13, 2020, the day Rose shut down for COVID, passes, many journalism students look back to reminisce about that time and the adjustments that had to be made. Former Co-Editor-in-Chief Emily Schmidt and Rose junior Cecelia Batton recall this time, as they were spring 2020 journalism students. 

     Batton is now in her fourth semester of journalism and currently a

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Photo by Forbes Hall

co-editor of the entertainment section. Two years later, she still remembers exactly what she was doing when she heard the news about leaving school.

     “We were having a paper party and I was sitting alone because I had been to a concert in Raleigh the night before and the only COVID case in North Carolina was in Raleigh,” Batton said. “We got the announcement…that we were going to be out for the next two weeks and I was like ‘I swear I don’t have [COVID] guys’.”

     Schmidt, now a sophomore at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, also recalls how she was feeling. 

     “I remember thinking that I would be back in two weeks; I really thought that I would be back in the journalism room, and I never was,” Schmidt said. “I have actually still never been back there which is kind of crazy.”

     Through the spring semester of 2020, many Rose students gave up on school after they were told that the grade they had before they left would remain. Despite this, many journalism students still persevered. 

     “Even though I didn’t get to finish my high school experience, journalism was the one class where we still pushed on and did things,” Schmidt said. “We talked about having weekly [Zoom] meetings initially, but it was very flexible and we told people that if they were interested in something, do it.”

     Throughout COVID, Rampant Lines’ social media grew significantly and started to become a major part of the class. 

     “We had people turning in content every week…and our class was very active because they had that free reign to do what they were passionate about,” Schmidt said. “We would post on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, posting at least one thing a day.” 

     The Rampant Lines website was also something that took a large step of growth in 2020.

     “We had a website before [COVID] for several years, but by my senior year, it was never something that was used or updated regularly,” Schmidt said. “Once COVID hit we said ‘okay, this is where everything is going to go’, because we couldn’t have a print paper anymore.”

     Schmidt and her Co-Editor-in-Chief, Sarah Porter, took over responsibility for the website and reformatted it.

     “[The website] has grown tremendously and we use it every day,” Batton said. “It helps keep people informed because there are so many people who don’t directly receive a newspaper that want to read the stuff that we write.”

     The content still came in steadily from students, but adjustments had to be made due to switching to virtual classes. The next school year 2020-2021, Rose had a hybrid schedule with an A and B week. 

     “[The following year], we only [printed] two issues of the newspaper, so it was heavily online,” Batton said. 

     The website was not the only thing that grew online, as multimedia content started becoming the norm. 

     “We had to adapt, we had to change and I think that was the first year that we started actually doing a lot of multimedia content,” Schmidt said.

     The multimedia content Rampant Lines produces today includes podcasts, videos and vlogs.

     Although Rampant Lines experienced growth throughout COVID, there were some struggles as well. 

     “Half of the reason why people like journalism so much is because of the community,” Schmidt said. “We hung out together and had paper parties, and all of that was gone.”

     Fortunately, many students feel as though the family environment has returned to normal since then.

     “[The working environment] is definitely back to normal because we are all reaching out to each other again,” Batton said. “We see each other face to face every day instead of being forced to talk over a computer screen.”

     Overall, COVID ended up providing an area of improvement for Rampant Lines, particularly online both on the website and social media. The website is found at and on social media @rampantlines.

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