This year looks different at the News. We spend our nights on Zoom rather than in our building at 202 York St. Our staffers and readers are spread across our campus, city and world. We’ve replaced our daily paper with a once-weekly print issue and daily editions online. 

But a few things haven’t changed. We remain committed to holding individuals and institutions accountable in an effort to build a more just and equitable Yale. We view journalism as a public good — one we do best not as onlookers, but rather as active participants in the communities we serve. And while the pandemic may have forced us to adjust the way we produce that journalism, it has also provided us an opportunity to rethink how we approach journalism in the first place.

Investing in our online presence means we can transform the way we tell stories. With five podcasts ranging from news to fiction, a YTV team that rushes to breaking news events and reflects on movements, data analysts who help us understand the macro level of our reporting and photographers who bring us face to face with the people and places we hold dear, we can tell stories better. With five new digital editors specifically dedicated to our multimedia content, we will use new tools to connect with our readers, listeners and viewers.

Journalism is so much more than the written word. We want to meet our community members where they are — and help them meet one another through our reporting. This year, you will see the faces and hear the voices of Yale and New Haven, spread out as those faces and voices may be. We think the best journalism is journalism that brings people together, celebrating what unites us.

In order to pursue that vision of community journalism, we must reckon with our history as an organization — in particular, our failures to serve diverse communities on our campus and in our city. We approach our 143rd year with humility, recognizing that it is our responsibility to actively earn every reader’s trust, every day. To do that, we are committed to both transforming our internal culture and strengthening our external relationships.

That begins with accessibility. We are dedicating our fall fundraising efforts to our stipend program for staffers on financial aid, ensuring that no student has to choose between a campus job and opportunities in our newsroom. As for joining our staff in the first place, we are creating new paths to participation — including staffer shadowing and mentorship, team-based reporting projects and special issues and spreads — recognizing that our past recruitment strategies have catered to those who already saw themselves at the News.

To support this effort, we have elected three new Outreach Editors who will recruit new members as individual people, not just aggregated panlists. Along with every member of our Board, those editors will focus on our internal support systems, creating mentorship structures to ensure that all those who walk through our virtual doors feel at home.

That home must be both welcoming and safe. That’s why we’ve created an HR committee dedicated to addressing any and all concerns — large and small, formal and informal, interpersonal and institutional — raised by our staffers, contributors and broader community.

As we rethink how our members relate to our organization, we are also working to transform how our organization relates to our campus and city. We recognize that our institutional voice does not reflect that of our community. Changing that fact requires full and unwavering commitment on our behalf. 

Our newsroom now includes multiple reporters specifically dedicated to covering diverse communities at Yale and in New Haven. Our opinion page will feature work from high school students who participate in a new program for New Haven public schools. And we’ve replaced our News’ Views — opinion pieces about campus and city issues, historically written by our entire Managing Board — with Editorials, written by an Editorial Board that better represents our readership.

The Editorial Board will include our Editor in Chief and Opinion Editors — and, we hope, you. We encourage everyone from Yale (especially if you do not have a journalism background) to apply for one of the 12 positions on the Board, which will meet on a regular basis to provide perspectives on both current and long-term issues. For more information, see our primer here and application here.

We hope that our Editorials will both spark conversation on campus and allow readers to converse with us. And we want those conversations to extend beyond our opinion page, which is why we’re excited to announce our new Public Editors: a four-person team of past editors who understand our internal processes but are no longer members of our Board. They will author columns that represent readers’ perspectives, reflecting on our editorial decisions and pushing us to improve.

This coming year will be one of change, some of which is beyond our control. We’ll miss the chaos of nightly production in our building, where new contributors don newspaper hats and seasoned staffers help them with their stories. But we are also excited about what this year will bring, from the stories we will tell to how we’ll tell them.

And we hope you’ll join us — whether as a contributor or reader — as we pursue journalism that connects and builds our community.