This has been a momentous year — for our country, for our school, for journalism. Two new residential colleges opened at Yale and another was renamed; outside of New Haven, a presidential election brought societal divisions to the surface. In a world of “post truth” and “fake news,” the free press feels both scrutinized and unusually important.
Like many across the nation, the News has been caught in the crosshairs of these developments. As student journalists, we cannot possibly confront the breadth of these questions. Yet we have grown in response, doing what we can in the context of Yale and New Haven.
We have conducted investigations, exploring staffing shortages in athletics, a Yale administration in search of new direction and the hidden politics of New Haven. We ventured to Trump Tower on election night and the presidential inauguration a few months later. But most importantly, we spent the year preparing our team and our paper for what comes next.
With this editorial, we, the Managing Board of 2018, pass the torch to our successors. We believe they will bring the News to new heights, and we hope that we are leaving them an organization ready to confront the challenges of our time and the changing landscape of journalism.
This year, our production and design editors redesigned our print edition for the first time in a decade, our tech team transformed our website, and we installed new computers, servers and multimedia equipment throughout our building. With accessibility in mind, we nearly doubled the size of the Yale Daily News Foundation Stipend Program, offering support to more beat reporters and editors on financial aid so that the profile of our team better matches that of our readers. Even as we acknowledge the work that remains, we are grateful to all who helped make these initiatives possible.
While we are a news organization, we are also a student community. The memories we cherish will not just be about the things we did, but the people we did them with. That “Sweets and Beats” party in the fall. Spring Banquet in New York City. The food trades that brought us together each night. These were the stories we wrote for ourselves, even as we photographed, illustrated and reported on the wider world.
The News is an old and storied institution, but ultimately it is only as strong as the team that carries it. Although editors and columnists might be our most visible faces, it is our staffers and contributors — many of them first years and sophomores — who carry each issue.
So we are excited that more people than ever are reading their work, with our website recording more than 2 million distinct viewers this year. We are also gratified that nearly 100 first-year students are attending weekly reporter training, and more than 500 have signed up to participate in the News. Many of them have asked us what it means to be a college journalist in a time when some Americans are looking to professional reporters for answers, while others are dismissing the media as biased and out of touch.
We, too, have grappled with these questions. It is our belief that the answers, or at least the preparatory work, begin at home, in our own communities — be it by holding our University accountable or covering the life and politics of the Elm City. The passion of the next generation of reporters is our inspiration, and we look forward, as readers, to seeing what they’ll do for the News and for Yale in the years to come.
The incoming board gives us not just hope but confidence that the depth and diversity of our paper will continue to grow. Much of their work will be answering emails and removing Oxford commas, but in the moments that remain, they will find themselves awed by the sheer possibility and potential of the News.
And they will grow in ways they never imagined, just as Yale and New Haven have grown, literally and figuratively, in the past year. Just as we have grown in our time as editors — transformed, challenged and moved by the subjects we covered, and by the people we covered them with.