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Letter from the Editor

News & Features | September 30, 2019

For this year’s inaugural issue of our beloved Observer, we’ve selected history as our theme. It feels like a natural starting point because as any good liberal arts student knows, we cannot appreciate the present until we understand the past.

So, here is some Lena-centric history for you. I joined the Observer as a spry young first-year. I was very nervous and very sweaty. My first article was about Tufts’ club sports budget—a funny choice given the fact that I had spent a lot of time fantasizing about my first month of college, and I had never thought it would involve interviewing the rugby team at DPH. I didn’t think I would find anything of weight or newsiness that day. Over the course of an hour, I realized how wrong I was.

That interview led to another interview, and then another. I met students who had come to Tufts under the premise that there are more than 200 clubs, and if you can’t find the one you’re looking for, you can start it! But upon arrival, they found there was a moratorium on new club sports, and that they couldn’t create the college experience they had envisioned. I talked to other students who had found their communities through these teams, and now had to contend with these structures caving in under prohibitively tight budgets.

And I realized that what I had initially thought was a minor article was actually a story about a university’s money and power, and what they decide to do with it.

It’s a realization that’s guided my past three years on this publication. I have come to believe that an essential aspect of being a journalist is heading into a story with a working theory about what that story is going to be and being prepared to “put it in a blender, shit on it, vomit on it, eat it, give birth to it” (Lady Gaga, 2016).

Or to simply discard it and start over. 

It is my goal that the Observer will do lots of this type of reporting over the course of the semester—that we will invert and reevaluate parts of our campus, that we will find those grey spaces and write our way into them. This is how we will continue to do the work of a publication that has committed itself to telling the truths that this university often wants to turn away from. We’ll strive to do the same with our art, design, and podcasts. If we’re open to changing course and reconfiguring our thoughts, we’ll find truth in our work. 

It wouldn’t be a leditor without some shout outs. So shouts out to my friends, who are undoubtedly my biggest sources of joy and inspiration. Every day, you guys imbue me with your frighteningly-quick wit and your thoughtfulness, your drive and your theatricalism, your delight at a well-steamed shirt. You are the ones who showed me that I am the kind of person who can do this kind of job.

The two greatest honors of my life have been to call you guys my best friends and to be the Editor-in-Chief of this publication. I cannot think of two more delightful responsibilities, and I do not take either one lightly.

Ben, Emmett, Ale, Wilson: the leaders who showed me how to run a magazine with care and hopefulness. I love this 32-page bundle of beautifulness. Thanks for nurturing it, and thanks for trusting me with it.

Owen, Abigail, Erica: so this is the late night layout I have heard so much about. I’ve never been in the MAB with just our team, and I’ve never been here at such a wee hour in the morning. There is something otherworldly in this process, and there is something otherworldly in doing it with you three.

History is our starting point, and I really mean it when I say that I can’t wait to see where we’ll take this magazine.

With lots of kisses and lots of love,

Lena Novins-Montague