Campus, Campus Life, Lifestyle

My semester as campus editor


That was the caption of the post I uploaded to Instagram on Dec. 11 with a series of photos. It was to conclude the end of my semester as Campus News Editor at Boston University’s independent student newspaper — The Daily Free Press, also known as FreeP.

After four months of covering breaking news over the last summer, followed by four more months of working full time hours to publish more than 80 articles total, I couldn’t be more proud of my work and the work of my lovely associates and writers, as well as the Top 2 editors. 

From the abuse allegations against Orientation Director Shiney James, to the inappropriate messaging toward students on dating apps by College of Fine Arts professor Eric Ruske, and the struggles of dealing with Student Health Services and BU Housing for transgender students, we published story after story exposing what BU Today would instead ignore, sugarcoat or downplay. 

I admit there were times when I hated it. Steering the Campus News section away from “fluff” pieces and toward unearthing the more serious, systemic issues and concerns present at this University was anything but easy. I felt like I was running on a treadmill 24/7 to stay afloat, always cutting corners somewhere in my life. 

I always needed to make decisions with my packed schedule, and it was often hard to choose — Would I shower or do my assigned readings? Would I go to class or get some much needed sleep? Would I pay attention to the lecture or check in with my writers? Would I push a story by a day or ask my professors for extensions? It was an additional balancing act trying to give BU credit where it was deserved while still prioritizing more serious pieces. 

I don’t want to scare off potential future editors since I was admittedly very busy outside of the FreeP, as well. I had a part time job, co-taught FY101, had a full and difficult course load for my International Relations and Economics double major and put my social life first on the weekends, since it was the only time I had off.

reflection on campus editor
A portrait of lifestyle writer Madhri Yehiya. She reflects on the realities — both difficult, yet rewarding — of her role as Campus Editor for Fall 2021. COURTESY OF MADHRI YEHIYA

Last April, on the third night of changeover week, when the incoming eboard took over, I was up until almost 5:00 a.m., at which I point I started bawling, asking myself what I had done. But as I write this over the winter break, reflecting on the hardest but most rewarding job I have ever done, I feel rather lost. 

How will I spend the extra 40 hours per week next semester? Will I be able to feel the same passion for another organization on campus? After having such purpose and impact, returning to spending that free time on something of a lesser scale almost feels like a waste of time. 

To those I encountered this semester who did not seem to understand or respect the inherent value of The Daily Free Press — you are simply not paying attention. The FreeP is a platform for student, faculty and staff voices to be heard, unlike any other organization on campus. In my interactions with members of BU’s administration, it became clear to me that while our work was not always listened to, it was at least being read.

I met a lot of people at the FreeP who I hope to continue seeing in future semesters. I hope to remain a resource for the next Campus Editor, as well as new and former writers as I prepare to take on the role of Recruitment & Training Chair on the Board of Directors. I hope that the next eboard will bond as well as ours did, over the creation of the much-needed Wellness Rules — guidelines that were geared towards our mental health — and the many, many inside jokes and experiences we shared. 

Do I miss mentoring my writers, hearing their wild pitches, discussing editorial topics with my fellow editors, adding decorations to the wall by my office desk, meeting with Dean Kenneth Elmore and walking around campus knowing that it is my job to report on what people are thinking, feeling and experiencing at BU? Yes. But would I do it again? No. I joined the FreeP to write first and foremost, and I am excited to get back to just that. 

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