The Ghost of Journalism

A spooky story for The Uproar readers, celebrating Halloween!
The Ghost of Journalism

Joe was an average college student at Columbus State University. He went to classes, he did his homework, and he loathed tests and exams. But part of him knew he was missing something in his college life, something less academic and more of a hobby.  

Joe’s favorite subject had always been English, as he found writing to be easier for him and almost satisfying. Through looking into his college’s clubs and organizations, he realized there was a newspaper! The newspaper was currently called The Uproar, though a deeper search revealed to him that it used to be called The Saber. 

For a moment, Joe thought about the name change, but decided he would just find that out later. When he became the newest writer for the newspaper, he would learn all about the history! 

The following Monday, he attempted to locate The Uproar office building after his classes were over. He located the building and nodded to himself, determined to walk out of that building with a new job, a new ambition, and new friends. 

Walking into the office building, he was a bit disturbed. The lights were all off, and the realization that perhaps nobody was in the office at the moment made him frown. He turned on the first light by the door, squinting as he was able to then see the contents of the office. 

Though the office was furnished, Joe felt the sense that it had been a while since the office was occupied. It was a sort of feeling in the air, and further investigation showed cobwebs in the corners of each room. He even spotted a spider, but it ran away from him. 

Joe continued to look around the office, noticing books on bookshelves and interesting art tacked onto the wall and drawn on whiteboards. “My future co-workers are impressive,” Joe muttered, eyeing the art with great deliberation.  

Heading into the rooms, he noticed there were computers, the same kind that one would find in the library on campus. His eyes lit up as he realized that surely these computers would be a hint that the newspaper staff still occupied the office. He threw himself down onto the uncomfortable computer chair nearest to him and attempted to log onto the computer. 

After putting in his login, which Joe knows works on the library computers, he was not granted access. The computer almost mocked him, highlighting that his password may be wrong. “It worked just this morning!” he wailed. 

“Those computers haven’t worked in a very long time,” a chilling voice said, right next to his ear. Joe jumped out of his skin, screaming.  

He was ready to apologize for just entering the office without care and even attempting to use their computers, but after turning to face the voice, he held his tongue. The figure in front of him was translucent, and Joe could see through them. Though translucent, he could identify the figure wearing casual clothing, appearing just as much of a college student as Joe did.  

“Are you… a ghost?” Joe questioned fearfully. 

The figure looked down at their body, as if the question had never occurred to them. “I suppose so,” the figure, now identified as a ghost, said. “I used to work here for The Uproar a long time ago. You’re the first person I’ve seen in ages.” 

Joe pulled out his folder from his backpack, flittering through it until he found the correct paper. “Here’s my resume!” Joe exclaimed, handing the paper over to the ghost. He had been fully prepared, even though he was sure that The Uproar staff would tell him the application is online. His father liked to claim that employers like to still see people in person applying, so he was testing his luck, and also testing his father’s knowledge. 

The ghost held up the paper, bringing it closer to their face. Joe smiled, but the smile faded when the ghost started tearing his paper in half. “What are you doing?!” Joe cried. “I don’t have another copy on me, I’d have to go back to the library!” 

“We aren’t accepting any applications at this time,” the ghost said, but there was sadness in their voice. The ghost threw the two halves of paper in a nearby trashcan. “You see… nobody cares about journalism anymore.” 

“What?! How is that possible?” 

“I don’t know. I remember that our readers were declining, but we never let it deter us from sharing the stories CSU students need to know,” the ghost declared. “We would interview people, and they’d agree, but they had no idea the newspaper existed. We would put our printed issues around campus, and then when we checked later, they were gone. Like they disappeared.” 

To Joe, this seemed more like a mystery than an indication about journalism or how people saw the newspaper. He rubbed his chin in thought as he began to wonder about what Uproar’s marketing had been. Clearly, they weren’t advertising themselves well enough, and the printed issues disappearing could be many things. 

Joe believed even a thief was more likely than issues simply disappearing in thin air. Yet, as he looked upon the ghost’s image, he felt a touch of sympathy. It was hard to accept failure and find the courage to keep going. Luckily, Joe had that courage in spades, and he was determined to bring back The Uproar to its former glory. 

“I think you’re wrong! Students still care about journalism, and I can prove it!” 

The ghost screeched and Joe felt the air around him grow colder, making him shiver. He regretted not wearing a sweater, but the indication of an air conditioning unit made him believe that the office was becoming alive again. 

“Then prove me wrong, young one, and advertise the newspaper. But be warned: sometimes you’re better off not knowing the truth.” 

Joe scoffed. Being mysterious seemed to be a requirement of a ghost, so Joe believed this warning was a joke, something to encourage him to back down. But he never would. 

He leaves the office, turning his back on the mysterious building and the ghost. 

The next day, Joe starts his new mission. He spends time in the library making a flyer for The Uproar, hanging it up in one of the halls and passing them out to students. In those personal interactions, some would take the flyer and hardly even glance down to read the words. Some wouldn’t even take it from his hands, claiming they were busy and didn’t have time for his antics. 

None had recognized The Uproar logo or their signature font. None had recognized their name or even acknowledged that their college had a newspaper to begin with. Seeing this as typical college student indifference, especially since it was near exam season, Joe was not deterred yet. 

It was when he had mentioned the newspaper to one of the English professors that he believed there truly was something unusual going on. 

“Are you starting a newspaper?” the professor questioned. “I believe you would need a faculty or staff member to approve this, but I’m sure they would.” From there, the professor began to inquire into Joe’s interest in journalism, but never related it to the newspaper, but rather to a potential career. 

“No!” Joe exclaimed. “This newspaper has been around for… a long amount of time!” He regretted not doing enough research to recall exactly how old The Uproar was, but he was certain it was over fifty years old at least. 

That’s old enough for the newspaper to have great connections and acclaim in the community. Yet, it seemed nobody was aware, or cared to know, just like the ghost said. 

But Joe did not give up yet. He had one last hope.  

After classes that day, Joe found his roommate Chad and forced him to go on a walk with him. “Dude, I was studying!” Chad whined. “Can’t this wait?” 


The walk consisted of Joe recalling the exact route he took to make it to The Uproar office. It took the two only a couple minutes, but Joe’s heart was pounding, each step echoing loudly on the ground. Once they made it to the building, Joe took a deep breath in, opening the door open to let Chad enter first. 

As soon as they walked in, they heard the chatter of a group of students, talking through decisions to finalize some sort of event. Joe didn’t catch any of the details, stunned.  

A woman greeted them over by the entrance. “Hey guys, are you here for SGA? You seem new!” 

You seem new,” Joe replied, affronted. What were they doing in The Uproar’s office? Joe was almost certain that they had some other meeting space, but they were invading The Uproar. It was disgusting! They didn’t care about journalism.  

Chad, however, looked pensive. “We are new. Are you guys taking in any new members?” 

Chad and the woman continued talking, but Joe moved on ahead, studying the office in great detail. Not only was it occupied by people, but it looked completely different to what it had been the day before. Most of the lights were turned on, and all of the cobwebs he recalled seeing were gone. The layout was different as well; each of the offices were decorated differently, the tables were different, and he had even noticed food in the fridge. 

“What in the world?” Joe muttered. 

There was only one thing that could convince him this was the right building and the same place he had been yesterday: the existence of the ghost. But no matter where he looked, he could not find them. Joe had even stayed after the SGA meeting was over, even later than when Chad himself left the building and went back to their dorm room. 

Now that everyone was gone except for him, Joe did another walkthrough of the office. The ghost was gone though, and he couldn’t find any belongings that identified The Uproar staff had been here. He tried to look for old print issues in the archives, but the building didn’t even have a place for that.  

With no proof, no evidence, Joe was unable to convince anyone of the newspaper’s existence, and soon, he even began to doubt himself.  

He felt crazy.  

What was the point of this mission? Why did he think he knew better than a ghost? Why did he even believe there was a ghost to begin with? 

What was the point of journalism without readers? What was the point of anything? 

Not finding answers left Joe glum, and he realized he didn’t have the passion to try to bring The Uproar back. He did not have the determination to pick up the pencil and start the organization anew, because he was scared. 

Sometimes, Joe wonders if he missed out on his calling, his true passion, but being an accountant is a lot like a writer for a newspaper. Instead of words, there are just numbers, and unlike journalism, accounting and math would never be forgotten.  

He didn’t need passion; he only needed the right knowledge.  

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Uproar Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *