Letter from Editor: Embrace the Change

Shelby Clark, Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Shelby Clark has served as Editor-in-Chief since May 2021. (Photo courtesy of USI Photography and Multimedia)

Change. This word has been the driving force of my life for the last two years. 

When I became editor-in-chief of The Shield in May of 2021, I had a staff of four people and was the youngest editor-in-chief in Shield history since its founding in 1968. 

Just like everything else in the world, The Shield was struggling to stay alive during the COVID-19 pandemic. It had just transitioned from a print-first publication to a digital-first publication. It had no up-to-date processes, job descriptions, staff structure, policy manual or templates. 

Fast-forward two years, The Shield now has a staff of around 40 students, which is the largest Shield Staff in Shield history. It publishes online daily with a weekly newsletter and a monthly themed print edition. 

In addition to our now normal publication cycle, we produced a special-edition 56-page magazine called “Unmasked” to tell the story of how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the University of Southern Indiana. 

We went from having no business team to winning second place for Indiana Collegiate Press Association’s 2023 Advertising Publication of the Year. We went from having little to no social media presence to winning second place for ICPA’s 2023 Use of Social Media. 

In all areas of The Shield, we went from dying to thriving. 

How did this happen? Change. 

The Shield had to change. It had to say goodbye to its past and hello to its future. The Shield has historically been an award-winning independent student publication both in the state and in the nation. Its past was good, but at some point, the past is not enough for the present or future. 

Without change, things die. Without change, there is no growth. Without change, one cannot go from good to great. 

Where is The Shield headed now, you might be wondering? More change. 

The Shield is about to welcome a new editor-in-chief, a new student leadership team and a new staff. 

For the last two years, the student staff at The Shield and the University of Southern Indiana has entrusted me to be the editor-in-chief of The Shield. It has been the most rewarding two years of my life.

Serving the university community at this level has been one of my greatest honors. I will cherish my time dearly. However, as the third-ever two-time editor-in-chief in Shield history, I decided not to reapply to serve for a third year. 

It’s time for The Shield to have a new leader and to go to new places that it’s never been before. It’s time for change. 

I am so excited to announce Alyssa DeWig, news editor, has been chosen as the 2023-2024 Editor-in-Chief. I have had the honor of working with DeWig since March of 2022, and I believe she will do great things. 

Since I began as editor-in-chief, my staff and I have been preparing The Shield to transition to a new group of students. Next year will be the greatest test of our work and leadership. We’ve been preparing The Shield for change. 

You see, positive change is not something that should be feared. If I have learned anything as editor-in-chief of The Shield during this historic time, I have learned how to embrace positive change. 

It requires strong vision and direction. It requires flexibility and the understanding you might fail at times. It requires endurance to continue when the passion fades. It requires surrounding yourself with people who have different strengths and talents. It requires a strong support team. 

“Warming up to Change,” The Shield’s April 2023 print edition distributed across USI’s campus, is all about warming up to the changes you will face in life and the changes the university is facing. It’s about warming up to the future. 

For me, I am so excited to see where The Shield goes in its future. I am excited to watch DeWig as the next leader of The Shield and to watch the success of The Shield from the sidelines. I hope The Shield’s future is bigger and better than anything I could imagine. 

Thank you to my incredible staff for supporting me these last two years. I would be nothing without you all. Thank you to this university for entrusting me with your student publication. Thank you to the students of USI for embracing me and trusting me and my staff to serve as your voice and platform. 

I am ready for this season of change in my life. See you in the fall Screagles, not as editor-in-chief of The Shield, but just me, Shelby Clark. 

Cheers to change. Cheers to the future.