As a student journalist, I have found that it can be extremely gratifying to receive individual feedback from readers. There is one email I received during my freshman year which stands out clearly in my mind. To me, it signifies the time at which I began seriously considering journalism in the context of public service.
In the third article I published in The Daily, I wrote about Stanford students coping with a series of suicides of Gunn High School students. After some time, local school administrators and psychologists collectively chose to stonewall media. A week after unsuccessfully trying to reach those sources, this article emerged when Gunn graduates told me about close-knit communities which were beginning to form on the Stanford campus to promote healing after the deaths.
The day my story published, a University librarian wrote in an email to me that he felt the story conveyed a human perspective on a topic that is often shrouded in silence or reduced to statistics. He described his hope that with more awareness of mental health, the community might promote successful change. This was the first time I saw the potential for my reporting to serve as a platform for social change. The response was an affirmation of the purpose I found in gaining sources’ trust to discuss issues that mattered. It helped reaffirm my passion for understanding the world through words.
During this 2011-12 academic year, our campus has grappled with questions of what it means for Stanford and for individuals of this community to meaningfully serve society. The proposed New York City applied sciences campus represented a possibility for the University to serve our nation with a new source of cutting-edge research and innovation. The Occupy movement probed the implications of our career choices and reinforced our responsibility to challenge social inequalities. Developments in Internet legislation prompted a closer examination of the right to access information, as well as citizens’ stake in its future.
During the past seven months of this volume of The Daily, I have attempted to embrace the concept of service to the community, which has been a such a defining feature of campus news. In doing so — through storytelling and through listening — my curiosity and fascination with the human experience has grown exponentially.
A Stanford advisor once told me that the Farm is a place to learn about the parts of you that you did not know existed. Writing narratives of students’ grief and reflections was the beginning of my own experience of growth and self-discovery — at The Daily and at Stanford.
It is my sincere hope that The Daily can offer the same opportunities for service and self-discovery to any of the undergraduate and graduate students on our campus who have an interest in trying out student journalism.
Readers and community members also play a critical, direct role in our publication by sending The Daily news tips, op-eds and letters to the editor. I hope that you continue to engage with content through this dialogue, as well as through contact with our reporters.
I would like to thank you, the reader, for picking up The Daily in the dining hall and chatting about its pages with friends. I am also grateful to our own staff and Board of Directors.
I have great confidence in our rising leadership at The Daily, and I wish the staff of Vol. CCXXXXI the best of luck in directing Stanford’s largest independent news source, which has published a record of this community for 122 years. Your commitment and care astound me.
With many thanks,
Editor in chief and President, Vol. CCXXXX