News for students, by students, keeps campus informed
One of the oldest student-run groups on campus, The Torch – UMassD's student-run newspaper – ran consistently from 1965 until the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, when lockdowns made life difficult for reporters of student life. Not only was the world changing, so was the way we consume news. After a brief hiatus, writers at the Torch rebounded, rebranded, and have once again ingratiated themselves as an essential organization to the student body.
"I started with The Torch in the fall of 2020—it was hard to connect with students because there was no one physically on campus," says Roxanne Hepburn '24, The Torch's editor-in-chief. "Slowly but surely, over the past four years, we've been able to build relationships with different colleges, communities, and other student organizations on campus. Our main goal as an organization is to provide the UMassD community with factual, relevant news that applies to college-aged people. We want to fight misinformation in this age of fake news and duplicitous media."
"We are run by students, for students," says Sydney Cayer, professional writing and communication student and The Torch's managing editor, who will take the role of editor-in-chief next year. "During my time here, I have seen the biggest impact come from our articles that are speaking from the passion of students about issues on campus that impact us as a student body. The Torch helps our voices be heard. Our writers can create real change."
Publishing more than 120 stories in the fall semester of 2023, a few of which garnered thousands of views, The Torch releases a heavy output of campus, local, and international news from the perspective of a UMass Dartmouth student, striving to keep other students informed and involved.
"I think the biggest impact The Torch has had is that we're getting students to read the news again," says Hepburn. "There's an epidemic occurring within our generation. People are out of touch with the news because they don't know what to trust, and don't feel its relevant to them. Our focus has been creating newsworthy content that applies to students' lives."
An important element of The Torch's success is that they take an interdisciplinary approach to news reporting. Any student, regardless of major, can write for The Torch. If a student has an idea for an article and wants to share their perspective, they can reach out to the organization editors and writers who will aid in the process.
Whether a student is interested in a career in journalism, photography, graphic design, or social media, The Torch offers many opportunities to build real-world skills and pad their résumés, and more may be on the way soon.
"We're trying to branch out into multimedia news," says Hepburn. "We're developing a podcast and have hired comic artists and a multimedia manager to help us expand."
The Torch FAQs
Curious about joining The Torch? The executive board has answered some common questions below:
Who can write for The Torch? What qualifications do I need?
"Anyone can write for the Torch! We accept article submissions from students of all years and majors. After receiving your submission, our editors will work with you to get it publication-ready. The Torch offers paid positions and generally has open positions available each semester."
How often do you meet? What's the time commitment like for writers?
"The Torch meets weekly. Volunteer writers can come and write at their own leisure, choosing which weeks they decide to write. Paid writers are expected to write one article per week and attend weekly pitch meetings. Paid writers are offered one skip week per semester."
Is there room to grow and advance?
"There is so much room to grow with The Torch! Almost all the editorial board members started out as staff writers. As E-board members graduate or leave for various reasons, staff and volunteers will be invited to be considered for open positions."
What can I write about?
"The Torch is very open! You can present any relevant news stories to the editors for consideration. Editors will give the final say on whether to go forward with writing – but most of the time the answer is 'yes.'"