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“I want to be a journalist, and working for The Chronicle has been better training than any journalism class would be,” Lauren Carroll, the managing editor of Volume 108 said. “It’s given me a chance to hone my reporting, writing and editing skills, as well as show my dedication to the profession. Even if I wasn’t going into journalism, The Chronicle has helped me develop skills applicable to any field, skills that I would not have learned in the classroom. I know how to research, manage a team, manage my time, think critically and how to act in professional situations. The Chronicle is also where I’ve developed most of my friendships at Duke, and I hope those will stay with me well into the future.”
It has happened every fall for 114 years. A group of individuals drawn together by a common interest becomes a team driven by a single cause. Battle-tested veterans watch over newcomers, mostly patiently, until they get it. Strangers become friends for life. The daily grind, punctuated by periodic catastrophes and triumphs, crystallizes into cherished memories. Along the way, beginners grow into skilled writers and editors, leaders are born and an outstanding newspaper hits the newsstands – and now laptops, tablets and phones – day after day. It’s The Chronicle experience.
This year, The Chronicle made the decision to publish its print version two days a week and move website coverage ever closer to 24/7. With 8,000 print copies per publishing day and more than 350,000 monthly visitors to its website, The Chronicle serves a vital role. In a world in need of good, fair journalists, The Chronicle is an important contributor while also producing strong educators, physicians, lawyers and community members.
For most of its history, The Chronicle had more than enough audience and advertising to support operations. That situation changed with the rise of digital media. Streamlining and reorganization has kept The Chronicle in the black, but in order to thrive, The Chronicle needs to do much more – expand and diversify revenue, draw new readers and convert fully to digital-first real-time reporting. We must make significant investments in the short term and establish a steady source of supplemental income over the longer term for scholarships, internships and other expenses not directly related to daily publishing. And we must fund it ourselves - The Chronicle has been financially independent from Duke for 24 years to better serve our readers. We remain a student organization on campus but we now pay our way (rent and maintenance) and we will further preserve our independence through these campaigns.
These transformations in our delivery and financial models will position The Chronicle’s students to serve our constantly changing communities for years to come. Their editorial and management experiences at The Chronicle will help them drive innovation locally, nationally and globally as alumni. With training in both digital and print media, Chronicle staffers will continue to be nimble, thoughtful and relevant communicators. And we, as alumni and friends of The Chronicle, will have done our part to keep the organization strong in this digital century.