On January 28, 1878, the first five-cent, four-page issue of the “Yale News” rolled off the presses at 11:50 p.m. The inaugural words were pithy and self-justifying: “The innovation which we begin by this morning’s issue,” it read, “is justified by the dullness of the time and the demand for news among us.”
One hundred and twenty-two years later, our sense of purpose may be slightly more high minded — these are, after all, hardly dull times — but our mission remains stubbornly static: to bring Yale students timely, thoughtful and balanced coverage of our University and New Haven.
Today’s issue marks the beginning of the official stewardship of the Yale Daily News Managing Board of 2002, a group of 26 editors whose names appear on the masthead above this space. As we carry the Oldest College Daily into a new century and into Yale’s 300th year, we will stay true to our tradition of journalistic integrity while reshaping and improving this newspaper.
We take seriously our role as Yale’s newspaper of record, as we are responsible each day for writing the first draft of the University’s history. But we also recognize our role as a mirror to student and faculty life. We are a vehicle for communication and debate among a community of more than 21,000 students, faculty and employees. To that end, the Managing Board of 2002 is committed to expanding the role and range of its feature and opinion writing to better engage our readership.
The Managing Board of 2002 also believes that the Briton Hadden Memorial Building should serve as a school within a school where Yale students learn to analyze the University and New Haven, hone their journalistic skills and build lasting friendships.
This year’s editors have the good fortune of a tenure that falls in line with Yale’s tercentennial celebrations. We will offer not only in-depth and timely coverage of this milestone, but also reflective and introspective analysis of Yale’s past, present and future. As always, the Yale Daily News will pursue aggressive coverage of City Hall and New Haven. This year, the newspaper will cast an even wider net over both while focusing on the interactions between the University and its host city. We will also expand our coverage of the arts at Yale, using our weekend section to showcase students’ creative energies. Athletics, which have often defined this University in the public imagination, will also remain an important part our daily coverage.
In their first issue of what would become the Yale Daily News, the anonymous editors wrote that they hoped to “have the cooperation and welcome so necessary” to build a student newspaper. On that January night 122 years ago, the editors recognized a commitment, first and foremost, to the Yale student. It is that commitment which inspires us still.