Letter from the editor | Another year for the books

By Jon Moss, Editor-in-Chief

Welcome back to campus! Walk down Fifth Avenue past the Cathedral and take in the heightened buzz of Oakland as students pour back into the neighborhood. Oh, and also the cautious optimism — or anxiety, depending on who you ask — about the return to in-person classes.

Much like last academic year, this one will definitely be one for the books, as the nation and world continue through this current phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time last year, Pitt officials would not commit to a specific date, or even an estimate, about when classes could move from online only to in person, and now here we are getting ready to head out to lecture halls thanks to scientific breakthroughs in short order. Flex@Pitt, we hardly knew ye.

This year will also be a year of both firsts and lasts for many students. Sophomores did not get to experience much of campus life last year and will likely be looking for all that there is to enjoy here. Seniors — the last class currently enrolled at Pitt to experience a full pre-pandemic academic year — will graduate in April, taking all those memories with us. For us, this is “it” — the final year of college and time before adulthood really kicks in. Yikes.

As you settle back into Oakland, we’ve prepared this Welcome Back guide to help get you acclimated to a changing campus. Our amazing news writers have compiled numerous articles to summarize what campus will look like this fall — as we know right now, anyways. Our wonderful columnists have written many advice columns, offering their hard-won wisdom about different ways to approach your time here at Pitt and resources you may find useful. The culture desk has the inside scoop about everything Pittsburgh, from food to parks. And our sports writers have all the information you need on Pitt Athletics, so you’ll be ready for the upcoming season.

Beyond this 44-page special edition, we hope you will stay tuned to TPN through the semester and this tumultuous time for the latest news about Pitt and the Oakland community. Our team of nearly 200 student journalists has been and will remain focused on covering nearly every part of campus. The best way to keep in touch is to subscribe to our email newsletter at pittnews.com/newsletter — you’ll know about the news as soon as we do, which is even sometimes how top officials hear of it. You can also follow us on Twitter or Instagram at @ThePittNews and like us on Facebook.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to changes at TPN. We reduced our print frequency last academic year from four to only one physical newspaper per week, released Wednesdays, and began publishing email newsletters on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We believed that this was the correct move both from a financial perspective, due to industrywide advertising declines, and also from a journalist’s point of view. But don’t despair — we saw both high print pickup rates and many record-shattering days of web traffic, likely leading to a larger number of people seeing TPN journalism than ever before. We will keep these changes for this year, as well as continue to take a hard look at how people are consuming news these days and how we can best inform the community. Look this year for our staff experimenting with new ways of distributing and presenting our journalism across a variety of platforms.

As readers and new members of the Pitt community, we want to hear from you. Feel free to reach out with story ideas, things you think we should be covering, Op-Eds, responses to articles, what you think of our new publishing format or any questions about our 110-year-old newspaper. Nothing is too big or too small.

If you are interested in helping to tell the story of the Pitt community, we would be honored to have you join our staff. We are always looking for our next team of editors, reporters, photographers, videographers, illustrators and copy editors to work at our award-winning newspaper. No prior experience is necessary to join — I joined my first year barely knowing how to format a quote properly, and now the chancellor knows me by name. If I can do it, so can you — if you’re interested in joining our team, you can apply across nine different positions at pittnews.com/application.

I hope you were able to safely move into Oakland and are set for the semester. Remember to keep in touch with us for updates throughout the semester.

All my best,

Jon Moss


[email protected]