Staff Editorial: Even with such uncertainty, our mission remains unchanged


Staff Editorial

In the immortal words of Duke editor-in-chief Kellen Stepler, “It’s that time of year again.”

After a year like no other, The Duke is concluding another chapter in its storied history.

This year, we, as a staff, have done our best to forge a path back to normalcy. But since the pandemic hit, it has been extremely hard for us to do so.

We mourned the heartache of goodbyes that were said too soon. We faced illness and loss as we tried to man the ship back to “normal life.” We tried to stay afloat amidst a sea of uncertainty, doubt and ever-changing circumstances. There were many nights where we questioned whether we were up to the challenge this year’s stories placed before us.

But what we realized is that we have spent so much time worrying about the future that we haven’t stopped to appreciate all we have accomplished — our new normal.

The status quo has changed for journalists, and we dared to change with it. We have been through so many deeply profound and historical moments as a community this year, and we, your Duke staff, were able to continue our mission through them all.

We faced a once-in-a-century pandemic, and we’re all still here. We stood on the forefront of the racial justice movement and consistently discussed how we would grapple with it as a campus.

We hiked up Freedom Corner and scoured across campus to keep you up to date on the Dannielle Brown and Gary Shank cases. We spoke truth to power and put our ears to the ground to get to know the Black community in a new and honest way. We ran into the street in the middle of the night to cover civil unrest in our neighborhood. We piled into a Subaru and raced to hear President Joe Biden speak the night before the 2020 election. And Tuesday, we marched up to Freedom Corner — where this whole year began for us — to cover the conclusion of one of the defining trials of the decade.

As we move forward and start a new chapter in Duke history, we will carry with us the lessons we have learned along the way. After all we’ve accomplished this year, one thing is clear to us: The Duke will continue to use its voice to serve those in our community who need it most. We take our role as a force of change on this campus very seriously, and we cannot wait to continue on this journey next fall.