Ask what The Daily can do for you

Opinion by Winston Shi
Feb. 1, 2015, 8:10 p.m.

Time flies, and so do we. One volume of The Stanford Daily has ended, and another one has begun. This is not a goodbye column. But as we mark our semiannual transition from one editorial staff to another, it is an opportunity to welcome new faces. Yes, that includes you.

As the days and months fly in their usual helter-skelter pace, scattering experiences and memories across an ever-receding past, sometimes I like to use words to more concretely mark the passage of time. For me, my junior winter is in full swing. At this point, I am (astonishingly, now that I think about it) a Daily elder. As a managing editor last year, I started making decisions; but although The Daily has never surrendered itself to hierarchy, I nonetheless admit that I operated without the benefit of experience. With many long nights and heartfelt words behind me, I suppose that against all odds, I now have perspective to share.

When I say “against all odds,” I mean it! I didn’t come to Stanford thinking that I would become a Daily person. In fact, when I arrived on the Farm, joining The Daily was an almost mechanical act, a tip of the cap to my high school past. But high school is no reason to join a college newspaper. I eventually left; many others did the same.

That happens. Even the most driven people will grind to a halt at The Daily without first tapping into its beating heart. The truth is, if you only want to write stories and add to your resume, there are more productive things you can do with your time. If you want to become part of the Daily community, as I eventually did, time is no barrier at all.

I realize that The Daily can seem like a huge and incomprehensible organization, an inscrutable black box in the midst of the whirling freneticism that is life at Stanford. Even so, few places are more accessible. And that’s because we want your help – we need it. A club can survive without very many members. But if The Daily will live, it will live because its writers make it happen. We don’t believe in cogs in the machine because those can never last.

Yes, I’m writing a recruiting column – of sorts. Why not? Winter quarter is in no way too late to try. Trust me. I’m Example One.

So give it a shot! I always feel like there are people who could be perfect for The Daily who for one reason or another don’t take the plunge. And we need to show them why The Daily is perfect for them.

There are very real opportunities for you to make meaningful and lasting contributions to Stanford’s paper of record. We need to do a better job of integrating ourselves into the Stanford community, and showing everybody what The Daily can do for them, not just in recruiting but in campus culture as a whole. That means developing tools that make The Daily’s unparalleled reputation, platforms and reach more of a factor in our everyday lives. That also means using the tools we’ve developed over the last century to continue making a difference, both on campus and beyond it. And everyone – from the freshman still finding his way around campus to the MBA student who wouldn’t give up her writing for the world – can make a difference.

Above all, we need to continue pushing forward. In a 24-hour news cycle, we have no other choice. For that reason, let’s welcome a new group of leaders. Welcome to Joey Beyda, the man who said he would never become Editor in Chief until he actually did. Welcome to our writers and editors, new and old. Welcome to their ideas and dreams and goals. We are glad to have you here.

So in closing, let me make my final pitch to you. I can’t tell you whether The Daily will make you happy, or whether it will make you wiser, or whether it will make you rich (probably not that last one). But the one thing I’ve found that The Daily is whatever you want it to be.

If you want to meet people with the greatest ideas and the brightest minds, you can do it here.

If you want to speak and be heard, you can do it here.

If you want to meet some of the best people this university has to offer, you can do it here.

People go to university to learn something new; to get a degree; to be inspired and to inspire; to meet people that will ultimately define their lives. But it seems to be an absolute and justified expectation that people also attend college to find themselves. As we exit adolescence and become more aware of the forces that shape us, college gives us time: time to think, time to change and time to shape who we will become. If that’s the case, then I think that The Daily is a big part of what has made Stanford worthwhile for me. And if you are truly someone who can excel at The Daily, then it can help make Stanford worthwhile for you too.

Contact Winston Shi at wshi94 ‘at’

Winston Shi was the Managing Editor of Opinions for Volume 245 (February-June 2014). He also served as an opinions and sports columnist, a senior staff writer, and a member of the Editorial Board. A native of Thousand Oaks, California (the one place on the planet with better weather than Stanford), he graduated from Stanford in June 2016 with bachelor's and master's degrees in history. He is currently attending law school, where he preaches the greatness of Stanford football to anybody who will listen, and other people who won't.

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