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Remembering Karen Blumenthal: What would Karen do?

letter to the editor

Karen received a lot of anxious emails from me in 2010. My year as editor of The Chronicle was rich in scandals—students accused of serious crimes, a star cancer researcher who fabricated work, a salacious parody thesis that went viral. I turned to Karen through it all. She chaired the Duke Student Publishing Company's board of directors, but for me, she was a gut-check and a guiding light. Knowing Karen would be my fiercest defender made me feel brave and drove me to pursue stories worthy of her support. 

Karen was there for me even after I left 301 Flowers. She offered leads on jobs, introduced me to interesting journalists and took me to many lively dinners. She gave advice without telling you the answer. I'm still in journalism today because she urged me not to give up on the industry. Whenever she was in town (or I was in hers), I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible, soaking her in. I admired Karen's outrage at injustice and sharp eye for B.S., but I truly marveled at her kindness. 

I'm trying to shepherd a new generation the way Karen guided me, but it's really hard. How can I make time for everyone like her when I already miss most of my virtual yoga classes? How can I match her energy and passion for everything she did when I struggle to pick a hobby? At The Chronicle, I wanted to grow up to be like Karen: a badass journalist, writer, partner, parent and mentor. I still want those things, and just like at The Chronicle, I still very much want to make her proud.

Lindsey Rupp, Editor v. 106, Trinity '12

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