As the Managing Board of 2015, we have learned about journalism, teamwork and how to be nocturnal. This weekend, we will learn how to say goodbye to our roles and home at the News. We’ve inked our last issue and we’ll elect our successors on Saturday.
We leave the paper one year more mature than we found it. We began our tenure with a shift in city and University leadership, as Mayor Harp and University President Salovey took to the helms of town and gown. Amid turbulence, we worked to provide the community with stories about controversies unfolding — wage theft at Gourmet Heaven, a growing movement for fossil fuel divestment, changes in mental health policy.
We have endeavored to create this daily paper not only to record Yale’s details as they change around us, but also to spark the discussions that can change those details. Yet while we hope to serve Yale and New Haven with our efforts, this year has made us acutely aware that we utterly rely upon these two communities — our readership — for our existence. By picking the News up in the dining halls each morning, or clicking on our headlines online, you give us reason to write these words. And by continuing to participate in these communities, you give us the news about which we write.
Ultimately, the Yale Daily News exists for and because of these communities, to which we also belong as individuals. Perhaps the most difficult lesson we have learned has been how to navigate reporting on our own peers, mentors and friends. How to aspire to professional objectivity — because that is what students, faculty and staff deserve — while also aspiring to neighborly sensitivity. How to be honest, how to do good.
The need for such a balance is perhaps inherent to the student newspaper. Along with this challenge, however, we have found our greatest joys: empty distribution racks around campus at the end of the day, dinner-table debates over an opinion column, posts about our content online. In the rapidly changing (and increasingly hostile) landscape for media, print newspapers especially, we recognize that Yale has remained immune to many of those trends. And we thank you for your engagement, your anger, your praise, your readership.
Amidst conversations about whether Yale students are exchanging passion for apathy, skipping picket lines to focus on lines on their résumés, you are proving those claims false by putting in the time to learn about your peers and the University and the city around you. This is not mandatory or part of any curriculum. You read the News because you care.
As discussion of free speech grips our campus, we are grateful to have shared with you our words without inhibition. Our pages have sparked and preserved dialogue, offering a platform for all to offer their perspectives. And while our successors will take over, this is a value we promise to uphold: a free press that gives voice to all and privileges to none.
Next week, the presses will thunder on, as they did when we took over for the editors and friends who formed us. So now those whom we have had the privilege to teach will take over, and teach others in their turn. They will propel our traditions and strong journalistic principles forward.
Our newspaper, with its beginnings in the 19th century, is embedded within our 18th-century University. Our entire year as editors will be merely another volume in the fourth-floor archive rooms of 202 York St. Our true legacy is the News as it begins to continue without us this Monday. Our successors inherit a paper that has another year of history, a paper that has never been more dynamic — equipped with the tools needed to propel this journalistic venture into the next phase of innovation. We are excited to join you as readers as the headlines and bylines cycle on.
Issue 1, Volume 1 of the News began, on January 28, 1878, with the words, “The innovation which we begin by this morning’s issue is justified by the dullness of the times, and the demand for news among us.” Though the past 12 months have proved anything but dull, we have been truly humbled that the demand for news among us continues, 136 years later.