When we took the helm of the Oldest College Daily a year ago, we had no idea what lay before us. The new residential colleges were little more than steel frames emerging from the ground — their namesakes unknown. An email that sparked a campuswide dialogue that would later turn into a national discussion had yet to be written. Few could imagine the scope of a march that would bring together hundreds of students in solidarity on Cross Campus. The Yale men’s basketball team remained months away from clinching a spot in the NCAA Tournament, and the captain’s name was still on the roster. Dining hall windows stood unbroken, student unions had yet to be established and financial aid reform existed as a distant hope.
Today marks the final issue of the 138th Managing Board of the Yale Daily News. It is with pride and exhaustion that we will hand over this paper to our successors on Saturday after a year of 3 a.m. deadlines, hundreds of pages of copy and countless cups of coffee. This time last year, our predecessors wrote about the things they still “don’t know about Yale, about New Haven, about ourselves and about one another.” In our last News’ View, we urge the Managing Board of 2018 to remember the things we learned.
We are attending Yale at a historic moment: a time when fundamental principles about how our school should be governed, how our classes should be taught and how we treat each other are being challenged. As editors of the News, our relationship to these changes is shaped by the twin roles we occupy: We are aspiring journalists, objective observers who try to be as fair and balanced as possible. But we are also students, enmeshed within the fabric of this community with an active stake in its flourishing.
In balancing these two responsibilities, we haven’t always gotten it right. Last fall caught us by surprise, both as a newspaper and as students. We sometimes failed to include the voices that were most critical to the stories we needed to tell. We oversimplified nuanced arguments. We played catch-up on important issues when they finally bubbled to the surface after simmering for months, years and even decades. We recognize that, for all the valuable reporting we did over the course of 125 issues, there is still so much truth we left uncovered.
But just as Yale emerged from a period of pain and conflict committed to doing better, so have we. Earlier this week, we announced the Yale Daily News Foundation Stipend Program, the culmination of years of effort to ensure that our staff is made up of reporters of all backgrounds — not just those who can afford to prioritize a tight deadline over a campus job. It’s a small step, but it’s our attempt to ensure that the experience we were fortunate enough to share at 202 York St. becomes accessible to many more on campus.
The News will continue to face the daunting task of recording what it is like to be a Yale student at this precise moment — a moment that will amount to less a tick mark in the scheme of Yale’s history. In five, 10, even 25 years, some of you may stumble upon an old article covering a memorable event, a particular column that sparked controversy, a photograph you had long forgotten. It will be in this precise moment — this ephemeral fragment of history — that the true test of our legacy will occur.
The News will not appear fundamentally different next week. Amidst our daily slew of articles on notable speakers, city politics and theater reviews, the new names on masthead will likely go unnoticed. But as we hand over the reins of the paper to a new generation of editors, we will be passing along more than our seats in a newsroom.
Today, we confer the things we learned.