Covid’s Effect On The Signal

Reflecting on a year in online journalism


Junior staff writer, Quinn Abbott updates stories on the website while looking back at one of The Signal’s print issues.

Breanna Lurvey, Opinion Editor

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This year has been one full of changes for Fort Atkinson High School’s newspaper, The Signal. Going from a print format to learning how to publish articles online, the writers on The Signal have been through a lot and seen it all.

This year, we never see some of our writers and editors, we write fewer fun stories because of the limited activities and opportunities we get to experience. And there is no eating in the classroom,” reflects a current Signal staff member. In the past, once a deadline was reached being in person there was always an atmosphere of success, satisfaction, and of course pizza, however much of that got missed out on this year. 

Not only were pizza parties missed out on, but a lot of challenges presented themselves during this time as well. One writer expressed, “I’m not really techy and I don’t know much about programs so it’s harder to learn what to do and where to put the certain info.” w

While it’s great moving online, there’s still a lot of new things to learn within that process whether that be how to upload an article or even attaching a photo, there were learning experiences around each corner. Even though moving online has provided The Signal the opportunity to publish more stories than ever, with Covid still floating around there are still unexpected problems for some writers.

 “Covid has made it unsafe for Signal members to conduct in-person interviews. That being said, many interviews are done via email or video chat. These interviews are much harder to get applicable quotes of quality, and sometimes people don’t even respond due to the few people that are actually active on email. It is also hard to get the word out about our material, and a lot of our hard work goes unseen.”

Amongst the staff there is an unseen disagreement now, moving forward regarding what The Signal is supposed to look like. While it was agreed upon that the website is around to stay, the next question is which is better to write for, a printed Signal, or the website? Well, according to a survey taken by the Journalism class, 71.4% of writers prefer a printed signal in comparison.

That being said, when the staff was asked if there was any difference in viewership one writer commented, “Yes, I think that more people have started to look at The Signal because it’s online because no one wants to carry around a piece of paper everywhere. Instead, they can keep it in their pocket.”

Imagining a world where there aren’t only printed Signals sprawled around Fort Atkinson High School, but also access to stories written by students, for students in students’ pockets is a step forward for The Signal. 

Despite the difficulties that our publication has faced, the student voice of Fort Atkinson High School is here to stay and ready for whatever comes its way.