The Occasional Webinar Series Continues

The MARAC Communications and Education Committees invite you to enjoy the second of a new Occasional Webinar series on August 5, 2020 at 4:00 pm.  The webinar is free, but we ask that you register at WebinarRegistrationAug5.  Zoom details will be provided upon registration.The webinar is limited to 100 attendees and will be recorded.

Publishing and Archiving the Lehigh University Campus Newspaper Brown and White During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Matt Veto is a professor of practice in the Department of Journalism and Communication at Lehigh University. He earned his master’s degree from the Missouri School of Journalism in December of 2013 after working in numerous newsrooms across all platforms beginning in 2000. He continues to write and create short documentary videos in addition to teaching multimedia classes and advising the Lehigh student publication, The Brown and White.

For 126 consecutive years, Lehigh University’s “The Brown and White” student newspaper had been delivering campus and community news to its readers, and it continued to do so despite the university’s closure due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. In anticipation of Lehigh’s likely closure — and just hours before the official announcement — the student editors and faculty adviser developed and launched a remote production protocol that ensured the continuity of the print product despite the challenges of displacement. Sending their first remotely produced paper to the printer mere minutes before a 5 a.m. deadline, the team officially commenced its journey of news production in a new era. The cover of that issue blared “GLOBAL PANDEMIC: COVID-19 fears force students home; Lehigh goes remote” and was followed by 11 more hard copy editions to go along with 24/7 coverage online. The team of more than 150 student editors, reporters, photographers and videographers became a group of global correspondents, continuing to cover events close to home, while also providing perspective from afar.


Occasional Webinar Series Starts July 29th

The MARAC Communications and Education Committees invite attendees to enjoy the first of a new Occasional Webinar series on  July 29, 2020 at 4:00pm.  Register here and read more about the presenter and topic below.

Title: Bethlehem Steel, Industry, and the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

James Higgins is a lecturer at Rider University and instructor at Jefferson University.  He earned his doctorate at Lehigh University.  His 2009 PhD dissertation’s title is Keystone of an epidemic: Pennsylvania’s urban experience during the 1918–1920 influenza epidemic and it is available as fulltext to PQDT subscribers. His first book, The Health of the Commonwealth:  A Brief History of Medicine in Pennsylvania, will be published by Temple University Press in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Historical Association in October 2020.  He has researched the influenza pandemic of 1918-1922 for twenty years and frequently publishes scholarly articles and lectures on the subject of epidemic disease and public health.  He has consulted for documentaries, podcasts, private industry, and media outlets on avian influenza and COVID – 19.

The autumn of 1918 was the most acute and deadly phase of the 1918-1922 influenza pandemic, the worst pandemic in human history in terms of lives lost.  The Lehigh Valley was part of a regional network of rail lines that stretched to the great ports of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.  As such, though it was populated by only small cities and modest towns, its exposure to the virus that caused the influenza pandemic of 1918-1922 was far more akin to that of the great Mid-Atlantic metropolises.  The valley’s connections to the region’s great population centers became even more explicit during World War One as critical war industries, notably Bethlehem Steel (the world’s largest producer of munitions and weapons), Mack Trucks, Trojan Powder (a major manufacturer of explosives), as well as the United States Army Ambulance Corps training base, Camp Crane.

The Lehigh Valley was forced to balance responses to the disease with the need to remain economically operational for the sake of the war effort.  

Lehigh University was in the midst of both the war effort and efforts to combat the disease.  For the first time in its history, the university, which had dozens of young men enrolled in the Student Army Training Corps, closed its doors indefinitely and attempted to carry on with the training of students both intellectually and physically.  The drama that unfolded behind the gates of the university, where students sickened and were cared for on campus, and where a dozen students died in buildings still in use by the university, was a microcosm of the larger struggle waged outside the campus.  

The university’s loss of life from influenza far exceeded its losses from World War One and were the greatest loss of life in the shortest period in the university’s history.  

Lehigh University closed only two other times for extended periods: during the 1958 Asian flu and during 2020’s COVID-19 outbreak.  Nothing, however, compared to the story of Lehigh University during the sad autumn of 1918.