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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

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Love letter to Tongva Times’ last print issue


By Kaylee Chan | Editor in Chief

   What makes a newspaper a newspaper?

   Perhaps it is the feeling of rough pages against one’s fingers, or the way the ink leaves smudgy imprints on one’s palms when opening a copy.

   Perhaps it is the ability to fold it into a paper hat or to rip it apart and smack it on glue for an avant garde paper mache project— when one is done reading it, of course.

   However emblematic these aspects might be of the print newspaper experience, there was once a year when the Tongva Times had none of these qualities. It was the year I joined the staff, the virtual academy period that everyone will remember as a haze of Zoom meetings.

   Back then, having never experienced tight layout deadlines or last minute game articles, I did not appreciate the relaxing flexibility the online format offered. Neither, however, did I know the satisfaction of thumbing through a printed issue of the staff’s own creation, or seeing the stack of newspapers by my desk grow bigger and bigger with every passing month.

   After being the editor in chief for two years of monthly printed issues I can say I am intimately familiar with all these experiences now— the good and the bad.

   Both are why this upcoming change to the Tongva Times is a bittersweet one. The staff has elected to return the paper to its online form for the foreseeable future— a decision that is, as many decisions are, ultimately rooted in a lack of money for printing monthly.

   However, the online format is not merely a fallback, but rather is ripe with potential in itself.

   A newspaper is supposed to be current, after all. Usually, this comes in the form of covering the latest stories. This time, it means bringing the Tongva Times into the online age. What makes a newspaper a newspaper is not the format it is in, but the stories within it.

   As uncertain as such a change may be, it is an opportunity to stretch beyond what the newspaper has done thus far, and I am confident next year’s staff will be able to do so with ease.

   It is undoubtedly a strange feeling to not be a part of such a big change in the paper I have worked so long on. Then again, part of covering news is not always being able to see the story when it ends. Sometimes, all a person can hope for is that they did the topic justice for the moment they had it.

   Looking back on these past years on the staff, I believe I can say I have.

   Through everything from global pandemics and insurrections to bomb threats and a revolving door of principals, the Tongva Times has managed to capture essential moments for both the school and the world at large.

   Not only that, but my articles carry snapshots of myself. The words hold my growth as a writer, my evolving relationship with Gabrielino, and the changing lens through which I have viewed the world. For as much as I have contributed to the paper throughout my high school career, the paper has also contributed a great deal to me.

   So while this may be a farewell to the print Tongva Times as we know it, this is also, in a sense, a send-off to my experiences as a part of the staff. Since my first article— coincidentally, also a column— I have had the honor of contributing to something greater than myself, with a staff that I am grateful to know.

   While I will be watching from afar from now on, reading articles through a screen, I know that for the Tongva Times, this is just the beginning.

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