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Traditionally, the first Editorial Observer of the school year is reserved for the Editor-in-Chief to deliver an update on updates, where I’m to detail the latest and greatest CT coverage, projects, and policies to our loyal fanbase.

But given that our loyal fanbase rewards us with an average of 30 likes per Instagram post (hey, still more than iZone), a lengthy explanation of the inner workings of CT strikes me as self-imposing grandeur. As it is, the most common reply to my talking about the paper is “we have a student paper?!”

So why do we do this? The University pays people to run their NewsCenter, and everyone’s an informant on social media, so why bother adding our amateur-hour content to the information overload?

Well, for one, making UR look good is the NewsCenter’s entire job. UR isn’t even trying to objectively report on themselves, so someone has to step up and hold them accountable when things go wrong.

For two, who else would write a satire news piece about a CS class becoming sentient and immediately searching for porn? We’re the creative outlet of the people! 

On a more serious note, we do this to provide a platform for campus-specific complaints on issues like the tunnel painting controversy. We want to encourage the difficult conversations.

And for three, we do this because we love it. Because the best way to make friends is to be locked in a room with someone for 12 hours every single week.

Because I can point to our website and say “I did that.” I can cut my article out of a print issue, and save it in a scrapbook. Because it’s fun to feel like you’re working on something bigger than yourself, and it’s fun to be fiercely proud of something. Because it’s fun to care.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s impossibly hard to care all the time, or even to drag yourself across a snow-covered campus for your beloved activity of choice when the sun starts going down at 4:30 p.m. in the winter. It’s almost harder to sustain that engagement when the barrier between you and participation is reduced to 30 seconds in a Zoom waiting room. Who wants to settle for a subpar substitution for our old lives?

Online doesn’t compare to in-person, and it never will. 

Yes, people have lost their lives and livelihoods, but we are still allowed to mourn the partial loss of our college experience. (At the very least, we can mourn the price tag for our online degrees.)

But mourning on its own is unproductive, and a semester-long pity party won’t make me feel better, so I’m turning to the things that ground me and remind me my world isn’t forever doomed to exist inside a six-by-three inch phone screen. 

CT might not be everyone’s thing, but I hope we can help you stay connected in some capacity. 

I hope when you’re furious that an iconic piece of our campus has been taken down, you know CT wants to amplify your voice. Whether you want to plug your favorite cocktail recipes in our culture section, or interview the geniuses behind the Minecraft recreation of UR for a feature, know you can drop us a line. If you’re one of the five student athletes UR recruited, we’re especially interested in hearing from you. Sports writers are hard to come by.

If you’re not much of a writer, I still hope that CT can serve as a foothold to help keep you afloat. Without post-party Pit runs, iZone group study sessions, and the genuinely impressive a cappella concerts, we’re all going to battle an impending sense of disconnection from the community most of us have come to love. Suit up however you can.

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