The independent news organization of Duke University

Our big challenge

Dear readers,

Washington Post writer and newspaper icon Carl Bernstein once said, “Good journalism should challenge people, not just mindlessly amuse them.”

I discovered this quote online soon after Bernstein’s most famous source, Deep Throat, revealed his identity in June. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what exactly it means for journalism to “challenge.”

Does it mean inciting anger from bigwigs with a great investigative piece? Criticizing the proverbial “establishment” in an editorial? Creating controversy with a column?

Since beginning my job as editor of The Chronicle’s 101st volume, I’ve realized that the primary function of a newspaper should be to present readers with information that makes them want to do the challenging.

A good paper should be more than words on a page. It should cause people to examine the world, question their own assumptions and start talking to each other.

As The Chronicle enters this new year, we are committed to continuing the tradition of serving as the Duke community’s primary news source. Our staff of more than 100 student volunteers is looking forward to producing a product that people can’t wait to grab once it hits the bins.

From breaking news announcements to in-depth looks at what is making the Duke community tick, we hope to grab your attention with relevant, accurate coverage.

But we also hope to engage you as The Chronicle never has before. We want to hear what you are thinking—about us, about Duke and about the world. Send us a letter. Submit a guest column. Give us a call if you see or know of news that’s fit to print (per the New York Times motto).

We also hope to engage you by sparking discussion in everyday life. It’s a good day when I walk through the high school cafeteria-ness of Alpine and hear, “Hey, did you read in The Chronicle....” And it’s a great day when someone responds, “Yeah, what did you think?”

If I sound excited, it’s because I am, as is the rest of the Chronicle staff. Many of us have been working in the newsroom over the summer, and we’ve run through countless cups of coffee and boxes of Chinese figuring out what we can do to make our news both inform and challenge our readers.

And we’ve spent many late nights discussing how our various sections can make our overall product larger than the sum of its parts.

Look to our sports pages for coverage of Duke’s national-title-contending basketball teams, the Cameron Crazies and other athletic excitement.

Look to Recess, our weekly arts and entertainment section, for a healthy dose of music, movies and trends with a dash of irreverence.

And look to Towerview, our news and perspectives magazine, for a new take on Duke’s quirks and cultural pulse.

We hope you enjoy this annual sendhome issue in all its massive glory and continue to enjoy The Chronicle throughout the year.

And, above all, we hope our coverage challenges you to do some challenging of your own.

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