Dear Middlebury community,
We’re writing to you as the new executive team of The Campus, Middlebury’s only student-run newspaper.
As members of the class of 2023, our tenure at The Campus — and at the college — has coincided with an especially eventful period in Middlebury’s history. During our first spring, we expected the big news of the semester to be the infamous Charles Murray’s return to campus — three years after the college made national headlines for his previous visit.
But Murray never stepped foot in Vermont; March 2020 instead brought the biggest news of our adult lives. We spent the next weeks covering how our lives and the lives of our peers were upended overnight, how students stuck on campus navigated empty dining halls, how grading changed in response to remote learning — all from the isolation of our childhood bedrooms.
We spent the next year without a print edition of the paper, meeting as a staff across 12-hour time differences to document the fluctuating Covid-19 case count, campus restrictions and the eventual vaccine rollout. And amid our many “unprecedented” semesters, only some of the major changes at the college were a result of the ongoing pandemic. The dissolution of the commons system, staff compensation debates, new Battell plans, tuition increases, Middlebury Marriage Pact, Rudy Guiliani’s honorary degree and labor disputes at a college-partnered farm were among the many notable events covered in our short time here.
What we’ve learned in our three years working for The Campus is that Middlebury is not without its shortcomings. As an editorially-independent student newspaper, we hope to publish content that encourages our community to be mindful of the power we hold collectively. Though the college has taken steps to make our campus more equitable, there is still more work to be done — and more voices to be heard. Our paper should be a reflection of the values and identities of our community, and we hope that if you’re not seeing yourself in our pages right now, you’ll let us know. We’d love to hear what you have to say — this is your paper as much as it is ours.
We also know that students, faculty and staff from marginalized or historically underrepresented communities often face additional challenges as they navigate their time here. We want to ensure that your experiences are represented in The Campus, not only in the stories we publish each week but also in the writers, editors and other contributors that help get those stories to print.
But we recognize that it can be difficult to tell your story. And we want to remind you that there are other ways to make sure it gets out there besides giving an interview or writing an op-ed. You can email an editor a story idea or even submit an anonymous tip. Our inbox is always open.
We also want to recenter learning as the heart of The Campus’ work. We know many of our peers have never worked for a newspaper before, and it can sometimes be intimidating to get started. This year, we’re working to create more resources for new and returning contributors to The Campus — from workshops to general guidelines for reporting to section-specific tips and tricks. Whether you write for us once or become the next editor in chief, we hope you’ll leave our office with a better sense of how journalism works.
We’ve even bumped up the date of our first interest meeting (It’s today at 6 p.m.; come meet us!) so we can get interested students in touch with editors sooner.
There’s no better place to learn than a college newspaper.
Abigail Chang ’23 (she/her) is the Editor in Chief.
She previously served as a managing editor, Senior News Editor, News Editor and co-host of The Campus' weekly news radio show.
Chang is majoring in English and minoring in linguistics. She is a member of the Media Portrayals of Minorities Project, a Middlebury lab that uses computer-assisted and human coding techniques to analyze bulk newspaper data.
Throughout last year, Chang worked on source diversity and content audits for different media properties as an intern for Impact Architects LLC. Chang spent summer 2021 in Vermont, working as a general assignment reporter for statewide digital newspaper VTDigger. Chang is also a member of the Middlebury Paradiddles, an a cappella group.
Rain Ji '23 is a managing editor of The Campus. She previously served as an Arts & Culture editor.
She is majoring in International and Global Studies with a concentration in the Middle East and North Africa. Previously, she studied abroad in Amman at the University of Jordan. Outside of academics, she enjoys watching Criminal Minds and skiing.
Tony Sjodin ’23 is a managing editor.
He previously served as community council correspondent, senior writer, news editor and senior news editor.
Sjodin is majoring in political science with a focus on international and comparative politics. He previously held internships with the Appalachian Mountain Club's Outdoor Magazine, political campaigns in Massachusetts and Vermont, and the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica's Environmental Hub. Outside of class, he leads kayaking and hiking trips with the Middlebury Mountain Club.