The Daily Gamecock went dark for a week last semester because, frankly, we were burnt out.
Public opinion over our decision to go dark was split. I spent the first two days of our dark week camped out on my couch, engrossed in Twitter, reading and re-reading the negative comments. People I had never met were saying my fellow staffers and I would never make it in the journalism world, that we had no hopes of having good careers.
But The Daily Gamecock is nothing if not resilient. The staff got through the negativity by supporting each other, steeled by our confidence the dark week was the right decision. As much as the negative comments stung, we were overwhelmed by the countless positive messages from students, faculty and more. One USC professor even instituted a dark week for his own courses.
The dark week pushed us into local and national headlines. We started a dialogue about burnout and mental health — a conversation I will continue as editor-in-chief, both inside and outside of the newsroom.
Over the next year, we will be bolstering our internal support system through a staff buddy system. It might sound simple enough, but further connecting our staffers with each other will help catch burnout before it happens. Through a beat system, our reporters will be able to dive deep into a coverage area, providing richer stories and sourcing. We will continue to report on tough topics, such as racial injustice, sexual harassment and the pandemic.
I am a bundle of nerves and excitement as I plan for the future with a dedicated, talented team alongside me. Throughout the next year, which promises to be as tumultuous as the last, we will continue the conversation on mental health our staff started this past semester. We want to work for our audience and provide you with the coverage you need, but we can only do that if we are taking care of ourselves.
Please do the same for yourself, in whatever capacity you are able, and know there are resources on campus to help.