Readers, professors and editors reflect on The Brown and White’s importance

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In honor of the 125th year of publication of The Brown and White, students, faculty and alumni had a chance to reflect on the significant impact the newspaper has had on Lehigh University over the years.

Melissa Goekbora, ’21, an avid reader of The Brown and White, said the paper is the news outlet she immediately looks to for information on events and situations that may arise on or around campus.

“Whether it be a breaking news event that affects most if not all of the university or a controversial topic that may be trending around campus, The Brown and White always gets to the bottom of any situation,” Goekbora said. “The paper does such a great job of covering stories that are both interesting and relevant, and they are an extremely reliable source of information.”

For Emma Satin, ’21, the editorial pages editor and journalism student, The Brown and White is much more than just a student publication, it’s a lifestyle. She said being part of the paper has been one of the most rewarding parts of her college experience.

The Brown and White has entirely impacted my Lehigh experience,” Satin said. “As a reader, I am kept up to date on happenings that affect us locally and beyond, and as a reporter and editor, I have been trusted to contribute to a running piece of Lehigh history.”

According to Satin, she has been given an outlet for personal beliefs through her involvement on The Brown and White. as well as an opportunity to learn and to grow as a journalist. 

From a faculty perspective, Jeremy Littau,  journalism and communications professor, said that he looks at The Brown of White as a way to track how his students are improving as writers.

“Students take classes with us and they learn skills and ideas about journalism, but it’s through their involvement in The Brown and White that you can truly measure how much they improve as journalists from their freshman to their senior year,” Littau said. “It’s become a nice way for me to really see how students grow.”

Additionally, Littau said he believes the paper plays an important role in setting the agenda for what the campus is talking about when it breaks big stories and covers big issues. He said The Brown and White gives students a voice and an outlet to draw attention to important issues on campus and in the surrounding community.

In terms of the growth of the newspaper itself, The Brown and White has significantly evolved over the years.

When Littau first arrived at Lehigh in 2009, The Brown and White was basically only a print-centric operation. He said that although there was a website, the editors just took everything from the print edition and put it all online with no variation.

“At that time, no additional news was covered between the publication days which meant that even if there was breaking news they would just wait to publish it.”

Samantha Tomaszewski was editor in chief of the Brown and White for the fall semester of 2016. Tomaszewski is an audience editor at Huffpost. (courtesy of Samantha Tomaszewski)

Sam Tomaszewski, ’17,  editor in chief of the paper in fall 2016, said she is really impressed with how much The Brown and White has grown since she graduated. 

Since 2016, the paper has gone from 12 to eight pages and has added color pages to every edition.

“It’s been neat to see how the print product has transformed into something that people still want to read while also prioritizing web first since that’s where most things are trending,”Tomaszewski said.

Tomaszewski, who currently works as an audience editor at Huffpost, said a lot of she skills she learned as an editor at The Brown and White really translated into working as a journalist in the real world.

“A lot of the things I did at The Brown and White are still some of the same things I do today at my job, whether it’s writing headlines or working on SEO or posting on social,” Tomaszewski said.

Tomaszewski said though the classes she took at Lehigh were helpful, the skills she gained from her experience on The Brown and White were invaluable. 

In addition to the skills that she learned, Tomaszewski said that The Brown and White also brought her some of her closest friends at Lehigh.

“Although me and the other editors were kind of like coworkers in a way and we worked professionally, we also had a lot of fun together through all of the time we spent together whether we were doing editorial discussions or press nights,” Tomaszewski said. “I spent so much time with them and I am still friends with them to this day.”

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1 Comment

  1. Alyssa Banotai on

    I’m a relatively new Lehigh staff member and the Brown and White has been an invaluable resource in understanding the culture and environment at Lehigh. The reporting is sharp and the commentary insightful. I look forward to seeing the pile of new issues that appear in our office and read it cover-to-cover. Congratulations on 125 years!

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