Today, the 139th editorial board of the Yale Daily News officially begins its journey. With trepidation and excitement, we assume leadership of America’s oldest college daily newspaper. Some of us are reporters and columnists, others are designers and artists — but we are all Yalies. And we would like to articulate what is important to us: creating a more accessible Yale Daily News.
We inherit a legacy of investigative journalism and longstanding commitments to both objective reporting and our community. At a time of uncertainty on campus, reporting fairly and critically remains our core mission. We will continue to hold University administrators accountable, cover our city and cast light on major student issues.
But we also believe that the News has at times focused only on crises of the moment, paying little attention to our long-term goals. Our values have too often taken a backseat, and it is our intention to recommit to them.
The recently announced Yale Daily News Foundation Stipend Program is a great first step. It has historically been nearly impossible for financially disadvantaged students to get deeply involved with the News. This year, we are proud to offer need-based scholarships of up to $3,000 to beat reporters and editors, so no one has to choose between a love for journalism and a student job. To sustain and expand this program, we hope to raise funds to endow it. And to foster inclusivity, we will work to make our building wheelchair accessible.
The top priority of our team is to foster a more diverse and inclusive organization. That was the central focus of our first board meeting, where we agreed on a series of diversity initiatives. We understand that trust has to be earned, and we hope to demonstrate the sincerity of our desire for sustained relations with historically underrepresented groups on campus. As we train our next generation of reporters, we will make clear that interviewees should not be treated only as sources, but also as students and human beings.
Our commitment here is more than just talk. We are currently working with leaders of various cultural groups to enhance opportunities for increased communication, collaboration and feedback, and to make our reporters and editors aware of negative experiences related to the News. Engagement and listening is our forward-looking directive. We are currently in the midst of establishing our first-ever Diversity Committee — comprised of editors from across the News and scheduled to meet each week — to coordinate and follow through on sustained outreach initiatives.
We also recognize that as Yale students, we are citizens of New Haven. We have spent the past week meeting with various city officials, and, starting this Friday, members of the News will begin teaching a course on journalism to local 11th and 12th graders — a first step toward broader engagement. We take pride in our New Haven coverage, and we’d like to be more available to its residents.
For the News to be accessible to all, it must keep up with its readership. We are actively strengthening our tech team to bolster our online presence. In print, we have launched a redesigned front page to bolster flexibility and readability. These initiatives will help the News catch up with shifting patterns of media consumption as we stay true to our central purpose of quality reporting.
It can be easy to make promises but fail to follow through on them, which is why we will strive to be as transparent as possible in our progress. We want to be held accountable, so you can expect to hear from us often in News’ Views like this one. A good newspaper has good content, but it also stands by its values. In the year ahead, we hope to better reflect today’s Yale by renewing our commitment to diversity, accessibility and transparency.