We are the Yale Daily News Managing Board of 2017, the 138th iteration of leadership that for the next 12 months will direct the content, tell the stories and design the pages of the Oldest College Daily. As you peer at the newly released masthead, you will no doubt see some familiar names and a few new ones. But more important than who we are is what we will do.
As we begin our time at the helm of Yale’s foremost student publication, it is impossible not to feel the weight of over 100 years of pages and ink on our shoulders. It is impossible not to recognize that the stairs inside 202 York St. are worn by the footsteps of those who came before us. But we also understand that the work we produce and the stories we tell will impact future generations of Yalies long after we have gone. So we take this paper with every intention to change it, to push the boundaries of how our stories are written and how they are shared. As Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
Over the past month, readers may have noticed that the News’ online presence has changed dramatically. With almost half of our readers accessing the site from devices that did not exist in 1999, the Board of 2016 led the charge to design and implement an entirely new web experience. Now, as we become the first managing board to fully utilize this new platform, it will be up to us to explore how we can best utilize this technology to its greatest potential. From publishing more online-exclusive content to providing minute-by-minute breaking news updates and live-streaming events, we will harness the power of the Web to enhance our coverage for the digital age.
Technology, however, can never replace talent. This is why we are committed to making the News an accessible and welcoming place for students of all backgrounds and perspectives. In particular, our board is acutely aware that some students who would like to write for the News — and could contribute meaningfully to its success — have historically been unable to do so because of financial constraints. That is unfair and it needs to change. It is also up to us to ensure that the News reflects and capitalizes on the immense diversity of Yale’s student body. We have already begun exploring ways in which to democratize the institution that has so enriched our lives, and all options remain on the table.
We also hope to delve deeper into New Haven: its citizens, its neighborhoods, its stories. The notion that Yale somehow exists outside of the city is both absurd and pernicious. It does not, and our coverage should reflect that. We must strive to break down the “Yale bubble,” recognizing the privileges and responsibilities we hold as members of the Elm City.
But above all, we must continue to hold the University accountable. The past few years have seen laudable progress on many fronts: mental health reform, gender-neutral housing for sophomores and an increased awareness of the problems facing the cultural centers. But Yale is not perfect. High rates of sexual misconduct persist, the student income contribution continues to divide the Yale experience and the University’s mental health infrastructure demands further emendation. We cannot and will not allow campus bureaucrats — or students — to ignore such pressing issues. Our mission is not to coddle but to enlighten, so that our successors may inherit a better, stronger Yale.
So as you turn the pages of today’s paper, remember that good journalism is about more than reporting — it is also about listening. Do not be a passive observer in our future or your own. Send us letters, comment on stories and drop by the building, our home, at 202 York St. We look forward to hearing from you.