The Antelope reflects student experience amidst pandemic

UNK+Louie+Loper

UNK Louie Loper

This is the final issue of The Antelope newspaper for the semester.

We did it. We’ll do it again.

2020 forced collegiate newspapers and student journalists to adapt across the nation, along with the entirety of UNK’s student body.

After students were sent home in March, The Antelope members resorted to writing columns of their experiences during the pandemic. Without reporters and photographers on campus, it was impossible to cover the breaking news. We stopped printing physical copies and ended after our ninth issue. The pandemic caused the newspaper’s presence to fade.

This semester, our reporters have gone to great lengths to keep up with COVID-19 news.

We came back swinging with a back-to-school issue, so Lopers were welcomed by copies with the finished fountain gracing the front page. From the start, our reporters provided clarification on COVID-19 university guidelines, coronavirus tracing and the differences between quarantine and isolation.

The Antelope staff members lost sleep and time covering breaking news.

Some steps taken include relying on emails and phone calls for interviews, maintaining our distance when taking photos and wearing masks.

When random testing began on campus, we were there. When the marching band was quarantined, we were there. When the numbers spiked, we were there.

Throughout all of this madness, new photographers and reporters were recruited and thrown into their journalistic duties. Unfortunately, we also lost members due to the stress of working for the student newspaper. Those who have stuck with it should be commended.

Despite the negative, The Antelope newspaper shed light on the positive things happening around campus. Some examples include Loper Distancing Days, the LPAC Build-A-Bear event, King of Hearts, Sister for Soldiers and Homecoming. Sports stories are even making a comeback.

Aside from hard-hitting news, we’ve been able to share student perspectives that professional newspapers cannot. In the thick of it all, student writers at UNK have accomplished this through our Lopers Speak section and insightful columns. Some of the topics discussed by students include the cancellation of spring break, the controversy surrounding random testing and the struggles of virtual learning. Because of us, student voices were heard.

In a time when everything is shutting down, the UNK Department of Communication has expanded significantly. Our presence has been increased by our website editor, advertising team and social media coordinators. 

Readers can listen to interviews and story summaries by tuning into KLPR 91.1 for the Antelope Speaks radio show. The newspaper has even coordinated with the Antelope News show. Through these outlets, the students in the Department of Communication are acting as a unit and broadcasting coverage that directly correlates to printed stories. 

This semester, The Antelope survived a transition from in-person to Zoom meetings, a quarantined Editor in Chief and finding creative ways to report in a pandemic. We could not have accomplished this without the supportive UNK faculty in these fields of study, and the students who have persevered with us. 

Thank you to the UNK officials and students who responded quickly to our phone calls, underwent interviews and granted us permission to take photos. The Antelope would also like to thank the readers who utilize our publications as they would a professional news source.

We hope the hard work of The Antelope has provided some comfort and clarity in a time of distress and confusion.