It’s been repeated ad nauseam: this has been what feels like the longest week any of us can remember. Explosions. Manhunts. Fear. Terror. Relief. Community. As I’m writing this, Neil Diamond has just sung “Sweet Caroline” in Fenway Park, and, in clear violation of FSU library (my on-campus place of work) policy, I’ve un-muted the TV so all of us can watch (and hear) the most emotional game the city has seen in some time.
So much has happened over the last six days, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Amid the chaos, Bostonians and the world at large sought ways to cope with the disaster, to make sense of the madness and, where possible, help those who have suffered so greatly due to the actions of a few. People gave blood, attended memorials, held fundraisers, donated to them. They used whatever was at their disposal to interact with the tragedy in a meaningful way.
This week, The Gatepost staff had the newspaper. And we did everything we could to make it count, to create something meaningful, however small in the grand scheme of things, for our audience at a time when it felt like the world was falling apart.
On Tuesday night, when we hold our weekly meetings to plan out that Friday’s issue, we talked about the role we wanted the paper to play, and decided that we wanted to capture the experiences of our fellow students impacted by the Marathon itself, to share our take on the tragedy and to, if possible, inspire students here and give them hope.
By Tuesday night, over a tall glass of Blue Moon, we had a front page sketched out on an UNO’s napkin.
By Friday morning, we had this.
We interviewed six either current students or recent graduates who had run the Marathon on Monday, and asked them to reflect on what the Marathon means for them – why they run, what significance the Massachusetts tradition holds. And then we asked them to look to the future – would they run again? All said they would.
And that, for FSU, was the news. Our peers who were right at the heart of the disaster, having crossed the finish line or still working toward it, are going to persevere. And so, it follows, should we.
We didn’t run any of the horrifying pictures from the scene of the attack – by Friday, we figured, our audience would have seen them again and again and again already. We also didn’t dwell on the horrors of that day in what we wrote – it didn’t seem like our place to recount what everyone already knew. The daily papers at other schools ran photos of the aftermath and published news stories about the attack, as it had only just happened, and was by all counts bound to be one of the biggest news events of our lifetimes. But we had a week to put something together, and thus had to think about the paper a little differently.
The most important part about the front page this week is that in all of the pictures (all but one, actually), FSU students are in mid stride, running. In addition to being a part of our school community, they are runners, after all. They, like the thousands who ran with them this week, are Marathoners. Even after all that they’ve been though, that hasn’t changed. This week, when students pick up their copies of The Gatepost, I hope that’s the message they take away from it.