This will be a year like no other. First-years and sophomores are getting ready to return to a changed campus, while many juniors and seniors are bracing themselves for a semester of online learning. Administrators are trying to balance Duke’s mission of higher education with the demands of a global pandemic.
As the strange new academic year starts, we’re making a change that will help us bring you the news you need: We will only print one day a week, on Mondays.
A team of current and former Chronicle leaders met throughout the summer to discuss the future of our print product and agreed that it’s the right time to make this change, which will continue a decrease in our weekly print days that began seven years ago. The Chronicle is a digital-first news organization, and our website is the best place to bring our readers real-time information about Duke’s policies and conditions on campus at a time when everything will be in flux.
Meanwhile, the team wanted print to have its own identity, something that’s easier to accomplish when we’re only putting together one issue a week. The new print edition will center long-form journalism: features, investigations, collections of stories that explore a single topic. This year, the news section of the print issue will largely gather our most impactful coverage of how the coronavirus pandemic alters life at Duke, serving as a record of the community’s experiences and the administration’s choices during a global crisis.
The sports section of the print paper will focus on columns and long-form features, instead of game recaps and previews that can be read in real time online. Recess will have a similar look to before but will choose a more focused set of stories to print, emphasizing previews of upcoming virtual or socially distanced events, as well as select pop-culture reviews and pieces about how COVID-19 has affected campus life. The opinion section will highlight the voices of the community by gathering the week’s best columns, editorials and letters to the editor. Strong graphic design will pull it all together, making for a visually interesting product that will serve as a memento of each week in Duke’s history.
So what does this mean for you? When you’re looking for breaking news or day-of sports stories, our website is the place to go. When you want a more curated, reflective look back at the week, pick up the print edition. (All our content is published online, so don’t worry if you have to wait until the spring to get your hands on a copy.)
If you’ve mainly been a print reader up to this point, you’ll find a bulletin in the new print edition to point you to stories from the past week that only appeared online. While you’re checking them out, make sure to bookmark our website and explore the video stories, podcasts and other multimedia content on offer there.
I’m confident that this is the right next step for The Chronicle. Our leadership and board of directors support the change, even though we had the financial resources to continue printing two days a week if we had chosen to do so.
More than anything, I’m excited about the ways this will free us to tell innovative stories online, from interactive graphics to collaborations between our different sections. Yet I’m also looking forward to long nights in the office putting together our print paper, as so many editors have done before me. The first issue comes out Aug. 11—a Tuesday, after which we will print Mondays—and I’m excited to see it on newsstands and in your hands.
Matthew Griffin is a Trinity junior and The Chronicle's editor-in-chief for Vol. 116.
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