Previous – The Chronicle
“Unprecedented times. “
We’ve seen this phrase a lot this year, in emails from professors, in the news, in conversations with friends. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I heard it too much. It’s a constant reminder that my last period of normalcy was jumping on a plane for spring break as a freshman. Proceed to this point, and I’ll sign this editor’s note as Junior Pratt.
I can confidently say that a lot has changed over the past year, both for me and in my communities. But there is one thing that has never wavered, and that is The Chronicle.
Throughout the summer, we covered various plans for the year 2020-21 as information on the fall semester continued to unfold. We shed light on the voices of international students after new policies threatened to revoke their visa status and DACA students who were anxiously considering their future. We covered local protests against racism and police brutality and showed how student groups rallied to join the fight.
We have documented the journey of COVID-19 on campus. While we were fortunate enough to have a successful fall semester thanks to a strong surveillance testing program, spring presented grim COVID-19 numbers that required us to shelter in place for a week, this which Duke attributed to the off-campus fraternity rush events. .
Speaking of which, we followed the creation of the Durham Interfraternity Council in the spring when nine of Duke’s fraternities disaffiliated from the University. We were also there to cover the housing and rush policies that they said caused them to break with Duke, as well as the movement to end Greek life at university completely.
Because this year was not hectic enough, we were also there to tell the story of the 2020 electoral cycle. We shared live updates from the community as the results remained hazy and covered up student reactions, including dancing in the streets of Durham, when Joe Biden was announced victorious.
And while Duke held us to a high standard with the Duke Compact during the school year, we also held them accountable. We urged the administrators to drop the ball in Duke’s implementation of the new Title IX policies. After a racist incident in Brown Dormitory, we spoke to students about their disappointment with the way the administrators handled it. After an insensitive email from Sanford, we spoke to students who were “disappointed but not surprised”.
We were also able to chat directly with the directors about their thoughts, including two Q&A with President Vincent Price and a conversation with Daniel Ennis, Duke’s new Executive Vice President.
We’re not just here to tell college stories. We have seen how groups have come together to protect Durham tenants from eviction. We checked out local restaurants and other small businesses as the pandemic raged. We captured the fear of West Coast students as wildfires turned orange and the COVID-19 situation in India turned dire in a second wave.
The news cycle has been chaotic this year, but we always find time to have fun in The Chronicle. You’ll almost always find something on TV, whether it’s Jeopardy or a sports game. We get Cookout milkshakes and try to set the record for the longest office ping pong rally. If you’re in the news you’ll infiltrate the gym to play HORSE on their basketball net, and if you’re into sports you’ll invade the press room to steal snacks.
You also do not need prior experience to join us, and with the exception of the reviews section, none of the sections require an application.
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Our sports department covers the ups and downs of all 27 NCAA Blue Devil teams. We triumphed as teams such as women’s golf, softball and men’s lacrosse put on impressive tournaments and reflected on a disappointing men’s basketball season that didn’t earn us a spot in March Madness. But our sports writers do more than cover the games – they follow athletes as they make an impact in their communities, including advocating for racial justice. You might even get a chance to talk to Jay Bilas, like our writers did when they had a fantastic draft with all of Duke’s male basketball players.
The opinion section allows you to start and contribute to conversations in the community. The sky is the limit: you can tell personal stories, share your views on issues that interest you, or even write on trees. Do you have a sense of humor? Apply to be Monday Monday, our anonymous satirical columnist. You can also join the community editorial board, where you’ll work with other students to shape campus discourse and reflect on relevant events. Even if you don’t want to regularly contribute to the opinion section, you or your organization can still submit guest columns or letters to the editor.
Have you watched – or haven’t watched – a cool show or movie lately? Fancy a new album? Are you missing the fashion trends of the year 2000? Maybe you just had the best scoop of ice cream you can imagine. Consider writing for Recess, our arts and culture section. With its three sections – campus, local, and culture – you can immerse yourself in the arts however you want, from covering campus groups to reviewing the biggest blockbusters.
A picture is worth 1000 words. Even if you’re not interested in writing, consider joining our photography department. You can help write photo essays and visually tell stories about the community. Our photographers were able to capture John Legend at the launching ceremony, Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally and unsuccessful efforts to burn the benches. (And psst, you want to get into some basketball games? You can by photographing them.) If you prefer to use a stylus rather than a camera, you can also join our graphics department and create colorful visuals to make it pop. stories or you try Photoshop.
We’re a digital-focused media organization, so even if photos or graphics aren’t your thing, what about videos, podcasts, or social media? Film a video profile of a candidate for President of the Duke Student Government. Grab a friend, sit down and talk about basketball, the environment or life through the window of a C1 bus. Help us curate meaningful and fun content on Instagram, or even help us start a TikTok.
What if you can’t choose just one section? Fortunately, you don’t need it. Take photos while writing on campus news that interests you. Stop by to see us again to watch that awesome movie you watched after you finished covering a men’s lacrosse game. Your Chronicle experience is what you make of it.
As I mentioned earlier, The Chronicle has been there for me ever since I arrived at Duke. It gave me a place to write stories, speak to campus icons, raise voices, and delve into issues that matter to me. The role he played in my life and the love for the people I do it with has never changed – in fact, it has only grown. And while The Chronicle is a constant for me, there is one characteristic that won’t be the same as in March 2020.
You may have seen my column on how we are no longer going to produce a regular print product. While we’ll always have special editions, such as our Back to School, Rivalry Week, and Graduation issues, you won’t be able to find a new newspaper on the shelves at Bryan Center or in your dorm every week. (Check out my column on our website for a deeper dive into this decision and how we plan to move forward. And my sappy thoughts.)
I am confident in my decision but nervous for this change. But as volume 116 editor Matthew Griffin wrote last year, we’re not going anywhere. When I ran for editor-in-chief, I made a promise to raise the voices that want to be heard. To organize content that makes a difference. To cover events in Durham and better understand the role Duke plays in our community. To celebrate Duke’s successes but also to stand up to him when I know she can do better. I promised not to settle for it, and by not having regular printed paper we will have the time and resources to raise the bar even higher.
In 2020, we titled our sent home article Resilient, and we were right. Of course, times are unprecedented, but the ability of the Duke community to adapt, to graduate, to triumph, to come together, to be resilient no matter what the circumstances set a precedent.
And print or no print, together in the 301 Flowers office or scattered around the world, March Madness or NIT, we’ll be there for everything.
Leah Boyd is a Junior Pratt and editor of The Chronicle 117th volume.