Evan Reynolds: Editor-in-chief
May 29, 2020
Former editor-in-chief senior Evan Reynolds brought a colorful and uplifting energy to the newsroom. His lively comments and outbursts sparked excitement among the staff.
“Ever since I met Evan, he was always the most enthusiastic person in the room,” said managing digital editor Hadley Steele. “[It] encouraged everyone to speak their minds and just have fun while creating something we all could be proud of.”
Reynolds selected Mass Communications as his second-alternate elective three years ago. Although he had no expectations of continuing when he began the class, an article published that year in The Cardinal Times called “Abused and Afraid,” an investigative story that exposed the sexual assault of a student by a former Lincoln teacher, convinced him to join the newspaper full-time.
“Journalism has given me a deeper understanding of the enormous responsibility media has in shaping narratives and spreading the truth, and how important truth is to a functional society,” said Reynolds. “Promoting truth, ethics and responsibility in news reporting have to be top priorities for anyone seeking real change.”
During his junior year, Reynolds served as a news and features editor. He won several awards for his impassioned editorials and his review “Battle of the Sexes, a Hillary Clinton Movie in a Donald Trump World,” was published in The New York Times. Reynolds decided to apply for the role of editor-in-chief.
This past fall, Reynolds inherited a young staff– the rest of the staff had graduated in 2019.
“We had 20-something new staffers all on the job while we tried to grow our digital branch and put out monthly quality print issues. Despite all these challenges, I think we put out some of the best work I’ve seen in my three years doing this,” he said. “I’m excited about what the paper can become in the next few years.”
As the Cardinal Times’ editor-in-chief, Reynolds created an environment of responsible journalism and turned the newspaper into a digital-priority publication. Reynolds made it a priority for reporters to focus on telling the stories, not just writing news.
“People have this wrong idea that storytelling and reporting are mutually exclusive when the best reporting often is storytelling. When you look at some of the best journalistic works of the past few years– think [the uncovering of the Weinstein assaults], the [photojournalism from the Hong Kong protests]– you notice that they’re filled with emotion and intrigue and narrative,” he said. “Trying to do quality reporting without showing the human element just isn’t as effective.”
In addition to his successes as editor-in-chief, Reynolds encountered challenges. After being named editor-in-chief he spontaneously ran for office and was elected co-ASB president with senior Anya Anand.
The staff of the paper developed a protocol so that other editors, not Reynolds, oversaw any stories involving ASB; however, as the publication’s responsibility to hold people in power accountable was called into question, Reynolds transitioned out of editor-in-chief at the beginning of this semester, and The Cardinal Times now has a policy in place preventing editors from holding executive ASB offices.
“No one should ever, ever, ever be in those two roles at the same time ever again,” agreed Reynolds.
In many of his articles and editorials Reynolds explored the tensions he sees in the Lincoln community.
“One of [Lincoln’s] biggest problems is that we have a large population who engage in performative wokeness, who ‘walk the walk and talk the talk,’ so to speak, but consistently fail to hold each other accountable and show up on the issues that matter,” he said. “You have issues and movements being inflated by people who want to be in on the “trends” and take up space where they shouldn’t, only to be deflated when those same students undermine them and don’t show up for them.”
Despite his critique of parts of Lincoln’s culture, Reynolds has respect for the adults who work hard to improve students’ lives, as well as an appreciation for students who care about fighting for underrepresented voices.
“There are a lot of amazing people I got to know over my four years here and I’m going to miss them terribly. And one of the hardest parts of quarantine is not being able to say goodbye to the amazing teachers I’ve had– the ones who’ve really changed my outlook on learning and on life,” he said.
Reynolds was raised by Deaf parents and grew up in a bilingual home. He praised Lincoln’s ASL program, which has worked to normalize Deaf culture.
“I think knowing both English and ASL and interpreting my entire life has given me a predisposition to communication and learning other people’s stories,” he said. “Ableism, like all other systems of oppression, is a powerful force, and one that can’t easily be counteracted if the people it targets aren’t seen and heard. So if you meet a Deaf person– treat them like a person.”
Reynolds hopes to pursue a career in grassroots organizing and will major in political science at Clark Honors College. It was his passion for politics that inspired him to join Lincoln’s Constitution Team his sophomore year.
“[Constitution Team] speaks to a broader theme I’ve learned in high school– go all-in on whatever you’re passionate or curious about,” he said. Figure yourself out. That’s what this old, decrepit building is here for.”
Reynolds has advice for future Cardinal Times staff.
“As the world evolves, so must journalism, or else it will die. So don’t be afraid of pushing boundaries with your coverage or challenging existing paradigms– because ten, 20, 30 years from now, people might look back on it and realize it was ahead of its time,” said Reynolds. “I wish I had more time to see what this paper’s gonna become. I feel like we were only just getting started before I had to go. But I have enormous faith in… the entire staff to use what we’ve learned this year and work to build something greater and bigger, beyond what I could ever have imagined.”