Class of 2017, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Scott Briggs, and your elders here at Duke mostly likely remember me as that guy who used to write columns that almost spurred protests outside Larry Moneta’s office and (hopefully) made Joe Gonzalez cry regularly. For three semesters, I was a columnist for The Chronicle before retiring to become the Editorial Page Managing Editor last year. Since then, someone has unwittingly put me in charge of this section of the paper. The fact that I’m even allowed to write to you now, as the Editor Page Editor, is just one of the many changes I’ve implemented since my leadership (read: tyranny) of this section began at the end of last year. As a wise DG at the University of Maryland once said: “Tie yourself down to whatever chair you're sitting in, because this email semester is going to be a rough f***ing ride.”
But enough about me. Let’s talk a little more about those changes I mentioned. The Chronicle strives to be the watchdog of Duke University, keeping the administrators honest and demanding transparency in their dealings. I believe that transparency requires open dialogue, whether we’re talking about President Brodhead or the members of this very newspaper. In an effort to keep the dialogue open, the editors of this section will no longer be just workhorses and figure heads, editing opinions but not contributing any. Both I and Editorial Page Managing Editor Mousa Alshanteer, also a former columnist, will offer biweekly contributions to the Opinion Pages, as part of the new, weekly “Editor’s Note” feature every Thursday. And if you don’t agree with something that we, or any of the columnists, have to say, we welcome and encourage you to send us a tweet about it. We love to hear your feedback and are more than willing to engage in healthy, respectful debate with our readers. With our revamped columnist line-up that covers the full spectrum of voices and opinions from Duke undergraduates, graduate students, professors, religious leaders and alumni, I’m sure there will be no shortage of spirited dialogue to advance the conversation about issues important to the Duke community.
By now, many of you may be aware that The Chronicle has chosen to cut a day of print. This exciting transition to a digital-first model will in no way mean less editorial content. In fact, there will be appreciably more. This online-focused model will mean more letters to the editor and guest columns published through The Chronicle’s website. Columns will still run online throughout the week as they always have. Be sure to look out for columns such as political talk from Adrienne Harreveld and Duke Political Union, along with the new DSG Rotating Author Series and Gap Year Series, the sort-of-sequel to last semester’s Pre-Med Series.
I’m also very excited to announce the launch of a new, yet-unnamed student discussion board presented by The Chronicle Editorial Pages, debuting in less than a month. This anonymous forum will allow students to post their thoughts about weekly topics and is sure to deliver entertaining reading material. The resurrection of The Chronicle’s Backpage Opinion Blogs is also in the works for later in the semester, which will greatly expand the scope of regular opinion content beyond traditional columns.
Other highlights to look forward to this semester include a new column by Rabbi Jeremy Yoskowitz, the return of Professor Carol Apollonio following a three year hiatus from the Opinion Pages, and a brand new and provocative Monday Monday. Following her semester as the outrageous and edgy Dear Dookie, Lillie Reed anchors the return of “The Socialites” feature, pairing up with rookie columnist Chelsea Sawicki.
All told, this semester promises to be an exciting one for the Editorial Pages, filled with challenges, surprises and a wide range of opinions that collectively form the voice of the Duke community. I’m looking forward to returning to my role as a columnist, discussing important campus issues and making the administrators sweat. And I’m looking forward to sharing this important time in The Chronicle’s history with all of you, too.
Here’s how I see it: This semester really is going to be a wild ride. I hope you’ll join us in the Editorial Pages on it.
Scott Briggs is a Trinity senior and the Editorial Page Editor. His biweekly column is part of the weekly Editor’s Note feature and will run on alternate Thursdays. Send Scott a message on Twitter @SBriggsChron.