Dear members of the Tufts community,
Today, as we celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2017, we look both to what lies ahead and what we’ve left behind. As a graduating senior who has devoted her last year of school to this publication, reflecting on the Daily’s work is a personal experience. This is simultaneously the beauty and the challenge of the newspaper. It’s not easy to criticize the thing into which you’ve poured so much of your time, energy and thoughts; the thing that makes you so proud, so frustrated, so tired and, ultimately, so happy. But if there was a lesson for someone at the helm of a media organization — no matter how small — to draw from the events of the past year, it’s that reflection, self-criticism and honesty must be constantly practiced and deeply valued.
This semester, that work was headed up by the Daily’s Intentionality and Inclusivity (I&I) Committee, which held weekly meetings dissecting how our coverage and approach has failed in the past, and how we can improve. Through this process and with input from the Daily’s executive board, I&I wrote a statement on objectivity in journalism, which was endorsed by myself and the rest of the Daily’s managing board. This statement points out the fact that pure objectivity in journalism is impossible and describes how that practice has led to the exclusion of certain communities and voices on campus. While the statement was a step toward more inclusivity in our coverage, we continued to address inclusivity in our newsroom as well. This semester, the Daily expanded our Support Fund Program, which gives stipends to students on the Daily with financial need. We are also now an on-campus employer for students who qualify for federal work study. Both of these initiatives are major advances in creating a more diverse newsroom, but there are always more efforts to be made.
These are overarching goals and challenges of the paper, but we are, of course, a daily operation, meaning they were addressed alongside the work we had to do to put out a paper every morning. Each paper takes about 200 hours of cumulative labor to produce — a fact that paradoxically fills me with pride and humility. When reporters drop everything to rush to cover a protest and turn out a piece on a 45-minute deadline, I am amazed. When photographers wake up before the sun rises to get a picture, I am awed. When copy editors stay hours after their shift ends to help manage the workload on particularly late and busy nights, I am filled with gratitude. This kind of devotion, which prompts such hard work and initiative, gives me confidence for the future. My wonderful managing editors, Jei-Jei Tan and Miranda Willson, and I are graduating today, but we are leaving the Daily in the capable and committed hands of those who love this work as much as we do. I can’t wait to see where they take the Daily next.
Yours with gratitude,