Dear Farmington Flyer Readers,
I write to you from my home in central New Jersey, where I have been careful to distance myself from others as the cases of and deaths from COVID-19 in my home state skyrocket. As all University of Maine System (UMS) campuses have closed for the remainder of the semester and some of the Flyer staff, such as myself, have had to leave Farmington, we are moving the remaining Flyer issues for this spring to be solely online.
Some of our stories are going to look different as well, due to the move from print to a solely digital platform. As we rely on our contributing writers for the majority of our content, some of our coverage will be less UMF centered than what we typically run as many of our contributors are scattered across Maine and the U.S. The pandemic touches everyone and everything, and we are choosing to acknowledge that in our stories as we cannot write as if any one place or person is isolated and unaffected by the virus.
We still plan to run our fifth and final issue of the semester which should be posted Monday, April 20. Our staff remains diligent in tracking any and all UMF campus updates and we will be reporting on them as they happen.
As editor in chief, I grieve for the loss of my final semester in the position, for not being able to see out the final months of my UMF journalistic career on campus with my friends and my staff, and for not being able to hold a hard copy of my last Flyer issue in my hands. Some of you may have seen me in the student center during the last week on campus, soberly handing out our third print issue and bemoaning it being the last print issue of my undergraduate work as a journalist. I often say, “We’re a two-bit peasant student paper and we know it,” but it is said with the utmost affection for a paper and a staff that I cherish. It’s said with pride and appreciation for the people behind the publication that have spent hours hunched over laptops and scattered papers in the Flyer office, slaving over meticulous edits and hunting down more sources and information to round out a story for the best possible coverage for our readers, until ultimately, we fall asleep on our creaky, old futon.
I’ve been known to refer to the Flyer as my baby, and though it may be a strange choice of words, there is truth in the sentiment. This is a project that was passed down to me with trust and confidence that I would work to do right by the paper and readers. And I hope that I have done right. It’s a project into which I’ve channeled so much of my time and myself with love for the work and craft of reporting. Working on the Flyer has been integral to my growth not just as a writer and aspiring reporter, but as a person.
There have certainly been mistakes: wrong dates, misspelled names, articles pulled back at the last minute. And I thank my staff for catching those mistakes and swiftly correcting them. Though, I know I will never live down misspelling the name of my friend and WUMF e-board member Syl Schulze as “Sly.”
And I know that none of our work on the Flyer could be accomplished without you, dear readers. You are the ones who even allow us to have stories to run in the first place, by donating your time and voices, and letting us into a story when you could’ve said no, as many do. Our work only exists because of the simple fact that you agreed to talk to us. For that, we cannot properly express our gratitude. Please keep using your voices and using them loudly in a time when free speech and a free press are more integral to society than ever.
Goodnight and Good News,
Darby Murnane, Editor in Chief