After 20 Issues and Pandemic, CXLIII Leaves Virtual Newsroom

The Upper Management of The Phillipian CXLIII spent four weeks in the Newsroom in Morse Hall.

This is the first issue of The Phillipian, vol. CXLIV. Following The Phillipian’s board turnover last week, all previous Senior Editors, Managers, and Upper Management of vol. CXLIII have officially left the Newsroom. 

During the tenure of vol. CXLIII, the board adapted to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and focused on continuing the paper remotely. CXLIII transitioned to a weekly email newsletter, improved the website, increased social media coverage, ran the State of the Academy remotely, and printed paper copies of the Commencement issue which were sent across the globe to the Class of 2021.

Former Editor-in-Chief Zaina Qamar ’21 reflected on the abnormal year for The Phillipian. According to Qamar, leading the paper through a pandemic was one of the most challenging endeavors of her life. However, her passion, responsibility, and love for the paper helped her overcome those barriers and continue running The Phillipian remotely.

“I think our biggest accomplishment was just making sure that The Phillipian survived the year, because the paper is really rooted in campus and rooted in the physical newsroom, and all the interaction that you get when you’re with other people… there were a lot of late nights, a lot of nights with no sleep, all that sort of thing, but in the end, we thought it was our responsibility to see the paper lift through the year,” said Qamar.

Qamar hopes that the new board takes a step back and focuses on giving stability to The Phillipian. While they continue to face obstacles posed by the pandemic, Qamar believes in the capabilities of the new board and hopes for their further unity.

“Even when it gets really, really hard, you just have to rely on each other, and support each other; be united. And ultimately, I think the key to success is to stay united, and to really focus on the basics of the paper, which is the written content,” said Qamar.

Current Editor-in-Chief and former Sports Associate Jay Aziabor ’22 shares a similar sentiment with Qamar. During his tenure, Aziabor hopes to restore the sense of community among The Phillipian board in general. 

The Phillipian has been a community, and I’ve experienced that personally: coming into the Sports section as a Lower, I felt this sense of warmth and love from my editors, whom I appreciate so much. I want to give that back—to associates, to editors, to my fellow members of UM—and I want to establish that sense of camaraderie and appreciation,” said Aziabor.

Aziabor also wishes for the paper to increasingly support marginalized groups within and without of the Newsroom. Aziabor believes that The Phillipian has an obligation to represent and be reflective of the wide variety of people in the Andover community.

“My ambitions to improve the paper’s diversity stretch beyond the people who are in The Phillipian. Another one of my goals is to ensure that the paper accurately represents people of color and marginalized parts of the Andover community, particularly those who we have misrepresented in the past,” said Aziabor.

Laura Ospina ’22, Executive Editor and former News Associate, agrees with Aziabor that the new board’s biggest priorities include making The Phillipian a more accepting space and widening the range of voices the paper publishes. She hopes that acknowledging past mistakes, among other measures, will help transform the paper into a more inclusive platform.

“Personally, one of the things I want to try working on is going through our archives and taking responsibility [for] or at least acknowledging the harmful things that The Phillipian has published in the past and really thinking critically about that,” said Ospina.

Ospina also plans to focus on keeping the paper alive remotely and possibly even transitioning to an in-person setting in the spring term. Ospina believes that the new board is united under common values, and she looks forward to the future potential of the community.

This sense of community, according to Former Executive Editor Zach Moynihan ’21, was what allowed the CXLIII board to create content despite such uncertain times. While staying united during the pandemic remained a difficult task, Moynihan expresses gratitude for the efforts of the past board. 

“It was really impressive to me that we were able to band together even under these incredible circumstances and continue to create good work. I look back on that time and wonder how we did it because there were so many things we had to reconsider—we basically had to reimagine not just the content we were creating, but the way we were creating it. And the fact that we were able to do that is really a testament to the dedication of our staff. And I’m so thankful for the work they did during that time and even after,” said Moynihan.

Throughout her tenure, former Managing Editor Megan Vaz ’21 has worked on bringing diversity into the newsroom, and hopes for the new board to continue promoting equitable recruiting and justice in journalism.

“I’m really excited to see what they do in pushing for diversifying our content to better suit the needs of students. And also bringing equitable recruiting to the paper and bringing more marginalized people on campus into The Phillipian, where they have traditionally been excluded,” said Vaz.

Managing Editor and former Copy Associate Christine Michael ’22 sees Vaz as an inspiration and is looking forward to following her footsteps of working towards diversity. Michael, who personally has vision issues that started in the Winter Term of her Junior year, hopes to use her platform to make The Phillipian a more accessible and equitable newspaper for those with disabilities.

“I really want to use this position of Managing Editor on Upper Management to help fight against the stigma for disabilities and impairments on campus, because I know that it’s really hard honestly, to have a disability on campus and to deal with that. So I want to let students with impairments know that they really can pursue their passions to the same degree as any other student can,” said Michael.

Kiera Suh ’22, a former Sports Associate, will succeed Shira Wolpowitz ’21 as Executive Digital Editor. With the increase of The Phillipian’s digital presence throughout the pandemic, Suh has established specific goals, especially in the Live section. 

“I think what I really want to see happen with Live is refining the scripts and refining the film quality so that we can get really cohesive work that’s not just repeating what’s being put out in print, that is sort of like a supplement to what’s on the website and a supplement to what we’re putting on the PDF. And sort of going back to the basics and bringing what we do well, which is good writing and high quality interviews and bringing that back into Live,” said Suh.

Melissa Damasceno ’22, a former Graphic Design Associate, will fill the role of Managing Digital Editor, which was previously held by Stephanie Yang ’21. Damasceno highlighted the role of The Phillipian’s digital platform as a way for many students to feel a connection to campus, and hopes to redevelop the social media pages and potentially build an app to improve reading experience of the paper.

“Being able to read stories, being able to connect with people through the medium of storytelling is so essential to my experience as someone who isn’t as close to Andover and its community. So being able to expand our digital reach and making sure that as many people can engage with The Phillipian is something that we’re going to really prioritize,” said Damasceno.

Echoing Damasceno’s thoughts, former Chief Financial Officer Henrique Chamon ’21 believes that emphasizing the digital presence of The Phillipian through weekly newsletters and website posts was key to keeping the paper running throughout the pandemic.

“We did our best to replicate what it felt like to work on the paper within the newsroom, and obviously that is pretty much impossible. But I think the main goal was just trying to be communicative and putting an extra effort to reach out to people. That was the biggest thing that we did to try and keep the paper stable,” said Chamon.


Celeste Robinson ’22, Chief Financial Officer and former Business Associate, looks up to Chamon for his hard work throughout the pandemic. 

“Keeping the paper alive through a really uncertain year, especially when a lot of businesses that we work with were having trouble, you can imagine how that sorely affects our department. I think we did a really good job managing everything despite that situation,” said Robinson.

Former Managing Editor Emily Huang ’21 recalls gratifying moments of working with The Phillipian defined by the board’s teamwork: publishing CXLIII’s first issue as a new board and later, the first issue in quarantine. 

Huang said, “At the core of the paper, being able to put out an issue every week without fail, it was a really big validation point. Because we’ve watched it happen with previous boards every week, and we kind of just took that work for granted. So when it was our turn, you know, it was a little daunting. But then when we were able to actually do it, it was really cool and inspirational.”

Jane Park ’22, Managing Editor and former Commentary Associate, has immense trust in the new board to keep the paper running. She highlighted that the new board has grown together while working for the paper throughout the pandemic and has so much pride and faith in the team.

Park said, “I know that I can do the responsibilities and jobs that I carry because I know that a board like them is supporting me—we’ve really grown, especially with these times of uncertainty, like I’m very proud of this collective us. I think we’ve really been the class to just face it all, and I’m so glad to represent such amazing and bright people.”