The entire front page of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, Wednesday displayed “text messages sent and received by UNC students,” during the hours-long lockdown on campus after one faculty member was murdered on Monday.
“We sat down on Monday night as a team,” the paper’s student print managing editor, Caitlyn Yaede, told CNN in a phone interview. “I said, we need to do something different; we need to do something that will really communicate to people the emotions we are feeling because that I think was most difficult to work through as students who live and work on this campus but also as student journalists who then have to serve that campus,” Yaede added.
The idea to compile text messages came from the paper’s Editor-in-Chief Emmy Martin, Yaede said.
On Tuesday, the paper’s staff began compiling texts from people on campus, such as “Are you safe?” “Where are you?” and “Are you alone?” that were sent during the lockdown the day before.
At UNC, shots were reported fired at 1:02 p.m. ET Monday at the school’s Caudill Laboratories, and a suspect was taken into custody shortly after 2:30 p.m., Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said at a Monday evening news conference. The faculty member was later identified as the alleged shooter’s advisor.
Telling the story
Yaede explained: “We wanted to tell a story. And I think that the texts we have chosen and the texts that we have made the front cover of our paper today, tell a story of a community that is scared, and I think we communicate that scaredness in a lot of different ways. For some people it was expletives, for some people it was just an outpour of love and just checking in. But I think we told a story of a community that was startled, of a community that was scarred, and a community that is angry, and a community that is grieving,” Yaede said.
The paper reported that they ran out of copies of the print edition on campus. Yaede said that they plan to print a second run.
“Student journalists are in a unique spot where we are covering a community that we also live in and we also are feeling the emotions of. And I think we are here. We have a lot to give. We have a lot to share, and we have a lot to report on. And I would urge anyone who was moved by our front cover to read the rest of our coverage,” Yaede said.