Being part of something that will outlast all of us

farewell column

My first Chronicle meeting was over Zoom. And the next one. And so on for the rest of sophomore year; I didn’t meet any of my fellow writers in any meaningful capacity for a long, long time. And yet three years later, my experience has been too good to be true.

The Chronicle is the foremost newspaper at a top-ten school. It has as much hardware as our men’s basketball team and alumni in major papers from coast to coast. It develops scared sophomores into confident writers that land at those papers. It touches every aspect of university life in its coverage, giving writers the ability to double down on whatever they are passionate about.

The Chronicle is an opportunity you may come to expect at a place like Duke, yet I think it’s better than that. I had zero journalism experience three years ago, yet I was welcomed with open arms into an organization that taught me only what I needed, then handed me a story pitch. I may not have known what I was doing, but The Chronicle let me at it anyway.

I had no business having my name listed on such a prestigious paper, yet before I knew it, there it was, in print. Three times — they’re on my wall.

So if you’re a first-year, or you’re here for Blue Devil Days, and you wonder if you could take a crack at student journalism, then by all means please do. If you’ve ever fancied yourself a writer, and if you think you might just love Duke, then come to The Chronicle. Nowhere else will you so readily be equipped to do so much.

I’ve always loved the Chronicle office and its view: on one side of Flowers you can survey the “business in the front” on Abele Quad, and on the other you get a good look at the “party in the back” on the BC plaza. I find it pretty fitting, as this paper has given me a birds-eye view of a lot more of Duke than just its campus. That’s the point of student journalism, of course — to responsibly keep an institution we love accountable while keeping its constituents informed.

To get to be just a small part of this endeavor has been and is too good to be true.

I came to Duke because I wanted to feel like part of something bigger. As a four-year member of the marching band, I’ve sported the blue and white all over and have made memories to last a lifetime. Every time I “suit up” in uniform I try to feel at least a little bit grateful, that this place I love would give me so much responsibility in representing it on that kind of stage (and trusting I won’t miss a note on live TV).

I’m grateful to The Chronicle for similar reasons, as I really do believe I’ve gotten to represent Duke. I’ve represented Duke in the countless interviews with community members, and I do every time my byline pops on the website under a (probably mid-tier) article.

So again, to anyone who thinks it would be cool to write a story for The Chronicle — you can. And that’s what I still love about it. There’s nothing special about me that I would be the one to lift up student opinions about the 2020 election, or be the first source of info for some on all-important state legislature races. Yet I got to do those things all the same.

There are a lot of great people represented by the bylines you scroll past. Different majors and different life trajectories, but a common purpose for a little while. The Chronicle is about to lose a lot of great people, some of whom will keep making the journalistic profession better, and others who will never touch a pen again (metaphorically, no one would touch a pen anyway). But we’ve all cared about Duke enough to lend our words and help make this paper what it is.

I may never have had a journalism internship or a viral story — though you can certainly attain both here — yet I’ve taken away more than I could’ve asked for. I got to be a part of something just a little bigger, and that makes all the late-night office shifts even sweeter in hindsight. Long after I’m gone and no one here remembers my name, it’ll still be somewhere deep in The Chronicle archives — alongside those of all the brighter reporters I’m honored to have just been one of.

Parker Harris is a Trinity senior who, with four years of grad school here ahead of him, feels like he’s only reached the halfway point. He’d like to thank Carter Forinash for making him feel like he belonged that first lonely semester on staff, especially when he was the only staff reporter to show up to the finals week Zoom party. He’d like to thank his friend and “mentor” Chris Kuo for constantly encouraging him to give The Chronicle a try, against all reservations. And he’d especially like to thank Milla Surjadi for letting him be honorary uppermast for his senior year.

Parker Harris profile
Parker Harris | Editor at Large

Parker Harris is a Trinity senior and an editor at large of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


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