Student Media Forges Community Through New Online Outlets

  • Finn Roblin ’21

Although physical proximity has become impossible due to present circumstances, Sacred Heart has made efforts to connect everyone through student media. While everyone adjusts to an abnormal schedule, weekly broadcasts, the Heartbeat Digest, and the Daily Drop provide a reliable normalcy. 

Despite the inability for people to gather at this time, the weekly broadcasts bring together everyone virtually. ASB president Jake Birdwell notes, “There is a strong sense of unity that comes with gathering as a school, and the broadcast is an attempt to do that given the restriction we have right now on coming together in person.” Something is certainly to be said for Jake, Tevita, and Dr. Whitcomb providing status updates through the broadcast. There is also the opportunity for important announcements and elucidating speeches. One of Jake Birdwell’s favorite segments of the broadcast has been Mr. Judge’s message. Jake said, “His message was incredibly powerful and provided clarity in a very confusing time.” In addition, the weekly broadcast has expanded its scope to comedy through the inclusion of hilarious segments such as SHPTV crew’s “The Council” and an insightful interview with Ren Shenk about his TikTok stardom. All in all, the short yet powerful broadcasts have “evolved into a mix of current event analysis by informed teachers, advice by members of the community with specific expertise, and even an outlet for student creativity,” says Jake.

In addition, the HeartBeat newspaper has been consistently pumping out new content through their new weekly digest. Heartbeat Editor in Chief Ryan Mo ‘20 sees the digest as an extension of the newspaper that “has become part of the routine of many SHP students.” While 

a long-form newspaper made sense on campus, Ryan believes that online “there is a much more prevalent sense of immediacy.” In order to better serve our community, the Heartbeat has adapted their content to a shorter, more frequently occuring digest. The community aspect of writing Heartbeat articles has not been lost. Heartbeat writers still meet on a weekly basis to create the digest, something that Ryan believes “important to maintain a sense of normalcy.” All in all, Ryan sees the Heartbeat Digest as “a small piece of the greater puzzle trying to relieve the stress that has been put on our community.” 

The quarantine has also facilitated the creation of new types of student media. Axel de Vernou ‘21 and the Leadership Team have pioneered the concept of Daily Drop, a daily collection of photos from the community. Axel sees the Daily Drop as a way for the community to “gain insight into what others are experiencing” through their photos. While some submissions contain memories of the close present, others recall the past. Photos from previous trips or of happy memories help the community “remain inspired until the end of the quarantine,” Axel adds.

As can be seen, from daily publications to weekly segments, SHP students are constantly receiving a flow of student media in their inboxes which is allowing them to remain connected to the community from afar. The student media team has provided ways for students, faculty, and administrators to feel a sense of unity and solidarity during a difficult time and gain insight into what other people are doing to combat social isolation. The developments that the media team have implemented during the period of online school will allow them to continue to explore new outlets when in-person school resumes, where they will have more tools than ever before to build community between all members of Sacred Heart’s campus.

Photo provided by Anisha Menath ’21

By Axel de Vernou

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