Flipping through this issue, you may notice a peculiar theme. The content is diverse, even typical: student reflections, science, sports and politics. But the perspectives are cohesive. That is, they are almost exclusively profiles: a lens into the 50-year-long marriage and research career of two of Duke’s most notable scientists; stories of three students from the Middle East, some of whom have been deeply affected by the events occurring across the Atlantic; and an in-depth feature about the lives of Durham’s homeless—just to name a few.
We would be lying if we said this happened intentionally, because it didn’t. Towerview is unique in that our writers craft and pitch their own stories. Usually, diversity happens organically—a creative reflection here, a news feature there. For this issue, our writers seemed to want to tell other peoples’ stories instead of their own. So we let them.
The result of this flexibility is a publication that is by no means homogenous. The stories of this issue’s cast of characters take place on Science and Research Drives, on the streets of downtown Durham and in the hearts and minds of many members of the Duke community. The formats are diverse, as well; while many of these profiles were penned by our staff writers, one of our newest writers expresses his personal voice, quite creatively, in the very back of these pages.
There is something to be said about a journalistic profile; rarely does someone have the opportunity to have his or her story told and circulated across a college campus. And the process of profile-writing is a daunting one. Relying on encounters—often brief personal meetings or mere phone conversations—can make it difficult for writers to truly shed light on a personality. But these profiles serve a vital purpose, not just in our publication, but in our lives.
As students who can so easily become wrapped up in the daily grind of college life—be it job-hunting, trying to get involved on campus, or simply keeping up with academic demands—it is important to be reminded of other people’s paths, that the world as we know it is microcosmic and that lessons can be learned everywhere and from the least likely of people. In addition to just being fun to read, profiles of other people can also help us better understand ourselves.
We hope those of you reading will familiarize yourselves with the personalities featured in the October 2012 issue of Towerview, drawing knowledge, widsom and even laughter from their stories.
Matthew Chase and Sonia Havele