Since the summer of 2021, over a year from now, The Retriever has not had access to a working website. It is with great excitement that we can put forward our first print issue of the Fall 2022 semester and say: that is about to change.
Back in the colder days of February 2022, The Retriever took to the front page of the month’s first print issue to address the rapid decline of the official Retriever website in a staff editorial titled, “Where Have We Been?”
The details of the decline were complex and technical, but what is important to know is that the digital systems on which we relied to spread student journalism to campus at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, most importantly a content managing system that allowed us to edit and post our articles online, were failing.
The functional issues we encountered on our website revealed themselves and came to a head as Fall 2021 began. This came to be devastating in combination with the global moment we found ourselves working alongside.
During and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the online world mattered like never before in connecting us to one another. We here at The Retriever could no longer contribute.
We were pushed to a place on the sidelines and little did we know, we would continue to feel cut off in that way from our campus community for two academic semesters and all the months in between and following, well after the university reopened to in-person learning.
While we devoted ourselves to working on solutions that could bring back our website, we were hindered for months in efforts to carry any out. In order to bring back an online presence one thing was clear: we would need to acquire a new server to host The Retriever’s official website, one separate from the UMBC server that hosted our work then and had caused this trouble in the first place.
When we would be allowed to follow through on this, proved another question entirely.
In “Where Have We Been?,” our editorial team at the time writes, “Perhaps the most demoralizing part of this situation is that we arrived at a solution months ago, but we were stopped from actually implementing it.”
Our requests denied and our questions unanswered, we reluctantly logged off. While newspapers
everywhere were cutting down on print to meet the growing digital demands, print was all we had.
For the past year, our work has been carried out quietly. The team of students and advisors that make up our staff have managed amazingly to keep up with the demands of a campus newspaper.
We have pushed journalism forwards on campus with consistent biweekly print publications, 8-pages long, because we know our work is important to the community here. We care about coverage that pushes UMBC to be better.
For Fall 2021 and Spring 2022, we pored over drafts late and night with editing eyes and ran to events between classes with a camera to capture shots for the front page. We spent hours in meetings and production rooms to bring together print issues that made us proud. We followed this routine and dropped off our papers in as timely a fashion we could every other Wednesday.
All the while, we remained aware of how still our bins sat, overflowing with the words we had written. In the buildings on Academic Row, in the corners of The Commons, our papers
were quiet too.
As we return to a new school year, we struggle to believe we might see our work back up on a website once again. With a new server at the ready however to host our work, all is in order to begin once again.
It is thanks to the tremendous effort of our technology team here at The Retriever that we can finally show you the work we’ve been telling you about. We can point you to “Where Have We Been?,” so you can understand what it means when we write “Where Are We Now?”
Check out our website at retriever.umbc.edu to read “Where Have We Been?”