From the Editor’s Desk: The Beat Goes On

Journalism is essential work

From the Editor’s Desk: The Beat Goes On

Anyone else feel like you were on the precipice of achieving your full potential before all this COVID-19 hullabaloo kicked in? I was in the midst of my final semester in community college, celebrating my acceptance to all four universities I applied to. I was looking forward to presenting at panels at journalism conventions and scoping out apartments and applying to scholarships and focusing on my future. After 6 years of wandering aimlessly from major to major, I woefully stumbled upon my true calling and accepted my fate as one of God’s Most Pitiful Creatures — a writer. Years of being broke have trained me for the long winters ahead as a starving artist and I’m already in debt so what’s a hundred thousand in student loans? I’ve had my fill of minimum wage service positions, of working at places that don’t care about me, of dealing with people and their myriad of questions, comments, and complaints. I specifically sought out a part-time that would be low stakes, minimal stress so I could focus on my writing. I thought cashiering at my local grocery store would be perfect. I never thought I would end up at the forefront of a pandemic, endangering my health and that of my loved ones for $12 an hour.

Beyond any fear for my safety, beyond any panic for the future, beyond any sadness what I feel most is anger. Anger at my government for their fumbling, infantile responses, anger at companies staying open despite their dubious essential service status (I’m lookin’ at you Krispy Kreme,) anger at my boss for failing to even say the words “COVID” or “Coronavirus” or any mention of the pandemic outside of his nonplussed “you know… everything going on.” Anger at the sheer irony of it all. Here I am in the midst of a worldwide event reliant on proper journalism for updates and entertainment for the long hours of shelter in place quarantine and I don’t even have time to write a fucking listicle on my one day off? Are you joking?

As days go on (and shelves get stocked,) the days are less demanding but no less daunting. You make small talk with a stir-crazy wine aunt as you wonder idly about worst-case scenarios, like you or someone you know dying from the virus because your boss couldn’t spring for some gloves. You sanitize the conveyor belt and the pin pad on the card reader as forgotten potted plants die under florescent lights. You make do. You put on your bravest face and your pointiest shoes and you forge on.

Substance has built its bones on journalism students writing about their passions, their secrets, their research. Substance has made a name for itself with award-winning pieces on personal growth and struggle, culture and arts, and a bunch of other high brow shit. Substance has never been pretty or perfect, but it’s always been something special. It’s been a space for all of us good-for-nothing writers to work towards being good-at-something writers with a voice and a purpose and everything. It’s been my honor and absolute privilege to serve as Editor-In-Chief of this publication. I won’t let the light go out on my watch, we’ll follow this beat till the bitter end. As an essential worker on the frontlines of the grocery trenches, and your humble EIC, I ask for your patience as we weather this storm the best we can. I ask for your undying allegiance to the mag. And, dear reader, I ask for your voice.

Be it through reaching out to us through our Instagram or Twitter, sharing our stories, speaking up in the voice of injustice or quite frankly, using your vote this November on a candidate who will actually enact change, I’m asking for your tired, your poor, your engagement. I’ll keep the lights on if you bring the beer. We’ll make it through this crazy little situation the way humanity always does — banding together to attempt some hail mary at the last second and making it by the skin of our teeth. We’re an awfully wily bunch, after all.