Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Haner: A love letter to the multimedia room

Those of us unfamiliar with the Daily may not even know where the multimedia room is. For reference, we’re located on the third floor, just like the “regular” newsroom, but on the other side of the space with the couches. I remember giving my non-Daily friends those exact directions and seeing them turn in circles in confusion as they looked around the floor and couldn’t find me. As I would wave from behind the door of the tucked away multimedia room, I’d laugh as they came in and saw what we, an award-winning college newspaper, would be up to in there. 

Don’t get me wrong, we got our work done, and I like to think we did it well, but part of what made the multimedia room so special was the camaraderie of the tight space. With standing lights, backdrops, equipment cabinets, desks, and wall decorations galore, we really had no choice but to be close to each other. 

I spent way too many hours on the third floor of Norris my sophomore and junior years. But the dwindling hours of the night were always made brighter by the laughter and antics of my fellow friends and staffers. Some of my favorite Daily memories are of watching and commenting on the cultural significance of the Twilight series as we edit and wait for stories to come in, ultimately leading to some crazy conversations about pop culture and media as a whole. 

But the multimedia room wasn’t always smiles and silly movies. Entering as a freshman mid-pandemic, producing photo and video content was virtually impossible. As the newsroom adapted to remote reporting, multimedia was lost in the past. 

Part of what makes The Daily Northwestern such an impactful organization in the world of journalism is its institutional knowledge and renowned reputation. But in the ever-changing world of multimedia content, it can be hard to keep up with trends and platforms and apply that knowledge. 

I saw the photo desk rise from the ashes my sophomore year. Later that year, I saw the video desk become a small but mighty force of digital reporting. All the while, audio was on the rise, and it was only a matter of time before we introduced a data visualizations desk to the paper with the help of my former photo assistant Ava Mandoli (unrelated, but there’s an unspoken photojournalist to data journalist pipeline that should be studied). While we now “officially” had these desks, garnering interest wasn’t always the easiest task – when people think “The Daily Northwestern,” they usually don’t immediately think “immersive multimedia.” 

I know that handling expensive equipment and using industry-standard editing software sounds intimidating. We did our best to make it as accessible as possible to interested parties – after all, the goal of working at the Daily is to learn. To be honest, I was surprised we managed to keep the desks afloat some quarters given the few staffers we had. It was definitely a labor of love, fighting to pave the way for multimedia love in an otherwise print-heavy newsroom, but I wouldn’t change anything about my journey. Taking the unbeaten path and building something for future generations can be rewarding. 

Also, I would be remiss to write a love letter to multimedia without recognizing the countless hours of the design team. While I myself haven’t touched InDesign in years, the design team keeps the print paper afloat each quarter. Your efforts and actions are so valuable to this paper, and don’t ever forget that. 

So to everyone I shared a laugh with over crazy music suggestions and cursed Glee episodes – I’ll miss you. I met some of the best journalists – and people for that matter – I know at The Daily, and I’ll cherish those relationships forever. The insane photos and papers plastered on the walls and ceiling of the multimedia room are just the start of a long living archive of what that little windowless room is capable of. 

Email: [email protected]

X: @joanne_n_h

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