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Editor’s Farewell: It’s People

Think back to the first real friend you made in college. For many, that person was a roommate. For others, a dormmate. For some, perhaps a classmate. In any case, that friend — that person on whom you could rely for comfort and joy in your new, unfamiliar environment — likely shaped your college experience in a fundamental way.

I made my first real college friend three weeks into my time here at Stanford. A fledgling member of the Stanford community, confined to an all-freshmen form, I felt suffocated. As has always been my case, I wanted to learn everything about this place in which I was to live and work, and the drama of dorm relationships just wasn’t doing it for me. So, I sought out The Stanford Daily.

And it was there where I met Emma. A year older than I, Emma “knew what was up,” so to speak. She could identify the people and groups of people who influenced each corner of the community. She knew how various actors interacted with one another. She understood the factors underlying complex decisions and operations. And she knew what was on the minds of our community members. She was a news editor at The Daily.

The Stanford Daily is the largest, most abundant source of information relating to this place you and I call home. Read The Daily, work at The Daily — it doesn’t matter. The 120-year-old institution is the starting point for understanding the complexities of your home and of those factors — those people — that influence it.

So, I was hooked. I wrote news for Emma every week, and soon my newfound obsession had rapidly grown into something much grander: the ability to read and understand people, and the chance to tell their stories.

For the last seven months, as editor in chief of The Daily, the concept of people has been overwhelmingly powerful in at least three ways. First, in every newspaper I approved for publication, I tried my best to steer its writers and editors toward context — that is, toward grounding our reporting in all aspects, human and inhuman, of its subject matter. This, I believe, is absolutely necessary for all responsible news organizations to do carefully and correctly.

The second meaning comes at a personal level. I mentioned that Emma easily became my first real friend in this community — and remains one of my best — but ever since that friendship began over two years ago, nearly all of my most meaningful relationships have been made among The Daily’s staff. These are people similar to you and me, who care deeply about their community and, specifically, about the information that circulates it. I respect my fellow staff members and their work more than anyone and anything else at Stanford.

And third, you, the reader, have been an aware, interactive and responsible member of our community during this time. The tips, op-eds and letters to the editor I received from you were, by themselves, evidence of this, and your vested participation in thought, discussion and action fostered some of our most vibrant coverage. You have been invaluable in further establishing The Stanford Daily as the community’s center of information and discussion.

So, as I hand The Daily’s reins over to an able successor, I implore you to grasp the true weight of people. Do your best to contextualize and understand your environment and those who impact it. Cultivate meaningful relationships whenever and wherever possible. And remember that your voice is only lost among the masses if you choose not to use it.

With sincere thanks,

Devin Banerjee

President and Editor in Chief, Vol. CCXXXVI

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