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Letter from the Editors: Continuously, remotely publishing

March 27, 2020

This piece represents the opinion of the author s.

To our readers:

This has never happened before. Even in the great crises of the 20th century—two world wars, student movements in the 60s and the Spanish Influenza pandemic in 1918—Bowdoin’s campus has never been vacated in the way it has been in the last few weeks. During all these flashpoints in history, the Orient was published, each Friday, on schedule. This is why, at the top of each issue’s first page, we print the words “The Nation’s Oldest Continuously Published College Weekly.”

Now, for the first time in history, we have the technology to go digital. Like the rest of the world, we’re taking our work home. Each week we will work collectively but remotely to report, write, edit and digitally publish this paper. We will cover news as it happens; we will continue to tell the stories of Bowdoin’s community members—wherever in the world they might be.

We believe that now, more than ever, we have a job to do (and a very silly superlative to maintain). That job is not negligible and entails reporting on the implications of a pandemic on Bowdoin. How are professors coping? What is the College doing to support its staff? How will this affect the students looking to enter the job market next year and the students who will come to Bowdoin in the fall?

That job also entails serving as a tether to a place and a community. This, in our view, is where the Orient plays an especially important role. Local news outlets will continue to follow the coronavirus outbreak in Brunswick and in Maine (and we encourage you to subscribe to them), and we will, too. But only we can dedicate the (virtual) pages of our paper to documenting the experiences and perspectives of the Bowdoin community in this extraordinary time, and we can only do that with your help. You can support us by submitting an Op-Ed or Talk of the Quad (email orient@bowdoin.edu), by responding to polls and surveys (check your inbox) and by participating in virtual Student Speak (via Instagram stories). You can sign up for our email newsletter or send us an anonymous tip to make sure we’re covering all that we can.

The College looks more different now than it ever has before—and so does the Orient—but we will keep publishing each week until the end.


Emily Cohen ’20 and Alyce McFadden ’20

Editors in Chief, The Bowdoin Orient

P.S. Did you think we were done? We’re still going to produce a PDF version of our paper each week, available to view on Scribd.



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  1. Matthew Klingle says:

    Bravo for The Orient to soldier on! Thank you!

    But one minor quibble: please refrain from referring to the 1918-19 influenza pandemic as the “Spanish Influenza pandemic.” It is misnomer. The origins of the virus are still debated, but one likely hypothesis is that it started in Kansas feedlots. Historians believe name “Spanish Flu” emerged because some the earliest reports of the emerging pandemic appeared in Spanish newspapers, which were not subject to wartime censorship because Spain was a non-combatant in WWI. Reports of the pandemic were often sketchy French, British, Belgian and even U.S. and Canadian papers because of wartime censorship.

    Just as calling COVID-19 the “Wuhan” or “Chinese” coronavirus is misleading, even dangerous, so is calling the 1918-19 H1N1 pandemic the “Spanish Flu.” It reinforces the idea that viruses and the diseases they cause are linked to national or racial categories; it leads to stigmatization.

    For more on this topic, please visit the CDC website, and read an article by John M. Barry, author of “The Great Influenza.”

    And thanks again for your reporting remotely during this challenging time.




    Matthew Klingle
    Associate Professor of History & Environmental Studies
    Bowdoin College

  2. Ann Kibbie says:

    Welcome back!!

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