By Raymond Arke | Editor-in-Chief
There’s an old photo of myself, when I’m probably less than two-years-old, spread out on the kitchen floor with an open newspaper “reading” an article about the Ken Starr investigation. It is an amusing foreshadow to now as I reflect on four incredibly well-spent years at The Duke. What I never could have imagined was how much this weekly rabble-rousing rag would end up meaning to me.
It’s tough for me to write this, tough to even imagine leaving The Duke. Since I walked through its doors as a freshman, it quickly became a home. I joined the news section and wrote nearly every week and attended every budget meeting. And then I never stopped coming, spending many a long, pizza-filled Wednesday night trading jokes, stories and producing the paper. Plus many other Tuesdays, Thursdays and often weekends spent enjoying each other’s company.
Throughout my time as assistant news editor, news editor and editor-in-chief, I have tried my best to provide the Duquesne community with important, detailed and accurate stories and have greatly enjoyed that opportunity. I deeply hope that it’s led to some kind of change, or barring that, at least illuminated important issues and educated the community. Some of these stories have angered or upset members of the campus community (here’s to you SGA, Greek Life and Duquesne Administration!), but I’ve always seen that as a sure-fire sign we had done a good job.
The biggest takeaways from it all though are the friends I’ve made here. I’ve found wonderful roommates and lasting pals. The current editorial staff I oversee feels more like a family than coworkers. I’m deeply indebted to the hard work, good humor and great ideas the staff has provided. They’ve kept a physical book and running tab of what can best be described as my misspeaks or goofy quotes — and that book will be one of my most treasured possessions. From venturing to Canada to hanging in Uptown, the people I’ve worked with on the paper are the people I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
This works as a natural transition to the much-expected thank you list. So here it goes:
To Julian, you were editor-in-chief when I was a freshman, welcomed me to the paper and made journalism something I wanted to do. You included me in a short-lived political journalism site (RIP CapitalPundits) which helped me realize how much fun reporting is.
To Kaye and Brandon, thank you for taking me into the news section and trusting me with big assignments. You both contributed immensely to making me a better writer and were always willing to listen to my story pitches. Your examples of never shying away from a controversial story and defending quality journalism shaped me as news editor and will continue to do so in the future.
To Mom and Dad, all this wouldn’t be possible without all the guidance and support you’ve given me over the years. Thank you for encouraging my love of reading and for introducing me to journalism at a young age. I can remember many an afternoon in the car returning from elementary school listening along as you would play NPR. Who knew that’d pay off! Also, thank you for advising me through many a tough story or journalistic question. All this couldn’t have been possible without your love and support.
There are of course many more people that have been an important part of my experience and I unfortunately don’t have the space to name them all – but thank you. To quote my hero Bobby Kennedy, “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better,” and you all have done that in my life.
I’ll be passing on the editor-in-chief position to Kailey Love, our current managing editor. We’ve spent the past seven semesters working together at the paper, starting out at the same time as freshmen. I’ve been lucky to have her serve as managing editor. She will be an incredible editor-in-chief, and I look forward to seeing the paper continue to prosper under her guidance.
To the wider campus community, I’ll leave you with a few things I’ve learned from my experiences that I hope will help all of you. Find issues you care about, dig in and take a stand. Speak out, even if that means getting called to the president’s office (and that does happen!). There’s a whole world that exists off the Bluff and it is all of our duty to pay attention and get involved in that world, because it’s far more important than the “bubble” here. And to paraphrase a journalism maxim, afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. I hope the work I’ve left in these pages has lived up to the virtues I’ve stated.
I’ve been incredibly lucky these past few years, and am a better person because of my experience at The Duke. There’s a quote by the legendary journalist H.L. Mencken that I think best sums up my experience here: “As I look back over a misspent life, I find myself more and more convinced that I had more fun doing news reporting than in any other enterprise. It is really the life of kings.”
I have truly, 100 percent lived that “life of kings” while here – and I owe that to my dear friends and colleagues. A lifetime of wonderful memories. I’ll miss it.
And with that, this Ark(e) will leave the blue walls and string lights of 113 College Hall and sail on.