The independent news organization of Duke University

How to improve The Chronicle

kinda kidding

The Chronicle publishes a lot of dumb stuff. Like mostly dumb stuff. Like case in point, what you’re reading right now. Like for every article of substance there’s like three about Joey Baker slapping the floor or something dumb like that. 

It has been brought to my attention recently that I spend a lot of time criticizing others’ work while offering little in the way of solutions to fix the things I have problems with. So let’s get into it. Let’s try and fix this thing.

I have to first acknowledge that my desire to provide practical solutions was inspired in large part by Reiss Becker’s recent article “How to improve DSG: Duke's tin-pot democracy.” Reiss could have just listed the issues he had with DSG and left it at that. But he didn’t. Instead he proposed a system straight out of a YA dystopian novel where the DSG senate is comprised of representatives of different Duke social factions, as opposed to the current system where the DSG senate is comprised of tools.

Is Reiss Becker’s solution f***ing crazy? You bet. Does anyone even care? I just want Liv McKinney to stop sending me emails. But at least he’s putting an original idea out there, and I commend him for it.

My solution to fix The Chronicle is to steal the model of the only publication, in my opinion, doing it right in today’s news climate. The only publication which I read every morning and every night without fail. The only publication giving the people what they want. 

The Duke Chronicle should be more like The Daily Mail

For those unfamiliar with The Daily Mail, 1) how, 2) look it up. There are lots of ways to consume The Daily Mail but my medium of choice is their Snap-story, updated twice a day, every day. 

The Daily Mail has their model down to an exact science. They publish articles which fall under one of three categories: sex, violence and humiliation. Their best work often falls at the intersection of two—or even better, all three. 

The Daily Mail does not concern itself with cohesiveness. An article about Emily Ratajkowski sitting on a beach is often directly followed by an article about a gruesome crime that happened somewhere in the middle of West Virginia. Part of the fun of scrolling through The Daily Mail Snap-story is that you never know what’s gonna come next.

The Daily Mail also does not concern itself with “facts” or “the truth.” If The New York Times were covering Justin Beiber crying in a park, they might write some cop-out statement like “we can’t say for certain at this point in time why Beiber was crying.” But The Daily Mail doesn’t pussyfoot around like that. Their headline would look something like this, in large bolded lettering and often accompanied by a whimsical background music: Bieber Marriage in SHAMBLES? Justin Cries in Park. 

The people don’t want to be informed, they want to be entertained. Here, look. I’m gonna take some existing, boring Chronicle headlines and add some Daily Mail flair.

For example: “Nugget may be a ‘rockstar,’ but don’t forget Keith.” A better headline: “Keith seen buying peanut butter, what’s he using it for?”

Another one: “Class of 2023 survey: All our coverage.” Alternative: “Duke Class of 2023: Still mostly nerds.”

One last go: “Joey Baker cooks up energy in Duke men's basketball's win against Georgia State.” Way better: “Tre Jones Jersey Rides up to Reveal GLISTENING ABS.”

The Chronicle homepage could use a complete aesthetic overhaul, and again in this regard should take a page out of The Daily Mail’s book. No more clean and simple. The Chronicle should be loud and all over the f*****g place. I’m talking lots of color, big text, heavily photoshopped images and animation effects. Lots of animation effects.

Look, I understand that now more than ever we need quality investigative reporting; that a generation is being brainwashed by Mark Zuckerberg and his less-than-factual Facebook articles. So yeah, The Chronicle should probably strive to tell the truth for things that actually matter.

But an article about f*****g Keith? Who needs that to begin with, and you’re gonna make it mind-numbingly dull? Maybe don’t lie, that was probably bad advice, I’ll give you that, but make that sh*t more interesting or don’t write it. The Chronicle actually has some really great stuff, important stuff… it just gets buried by a sea of useless information.

So I guess what I’m saying is, Leah and Mihir, please stop letting me write this column. 

Sami Kirkpatrick is a Trinity senior. His column, kinda kidding, runs on alternate Wednesdays.

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