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Forever New


The word new is the eternal watchword of Silicon Valley. It is both shifting and permanent; like fire, it simultaneously represents destruction and rebirth. Today, I am faced with newness as I have never faced it before. I should introduce myself — my name is Winston Shi, and I am the new Managing Editor of Opinions at The Stanford Daily.

My first act as head of the opinions desk, as with my final act at the sports section, must be to thank and acknowledge the man that came before me. Our outgoing Opinions Editor, Aaron Sekhri, helped me even in those early days when I never expected this opportunity to come. To him I owe a debt of gratitude.

One of the things that Aaron taught me was the unavoidability and promise of the new. It is, to be sure, a strange new world that we face today at The Daily. It seems at times that no industry faces more change than ours.

In an age where newspapers face steadily intensifying pressure from every competitor under the sun, newspapers need to redefine themselves. This is not rocket science; in any case, my path has taken me well clear of Engineering Quad. This is the dilemma that every newspaper faces. It would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that the industry has been facing this problem for over a decade.

What do we know, then? We know that legitimacy is what we have and need to maintain. We know that in this new environment, great writing will be rewarded more than ever. Our edge, as always, is threefold: our writers, our tradition and the resources and talent of the community we serve. Far from choking off The Daily, the Web revolution has expanded our reach and our abilities. I know for a fact that this newspaper extends beyond Campus Drive.

That is, however, only true if we can bring in quality.

What the last decade has taught us is that our readers do not shy away from complexity and nuance. They demand it. You demand it.

The opinions section has the opportunity to bring more perspectives than ever before. We are a space for the entire Stanford community to share its collective knowledge.

That’s why we’re introducing the Op-Ed series, where many different writers can bring their different perspectives to bear on the issues that typify our lives and our society. If we will admit that life is illustrated not in black and white but in subtle shades of gray, this institution is a necessary step towards complementing the quality that our columnists already provide. That’s also why we’re trying to expand our coverage to the graduate schools and to current events. And that’s absolutely why we want more independent op-eds than ever before.

Quality generates legitimacy; legitimacy leads to interest; interest brings in readers; and readers ensure our future.

Volume 244 of the Stanford Daily is over, and Volume 245 has just begun. We have new faces. We have new staff. We have new views, and we certainly have new opportunities.

I will be the first to admit that change is terrifying. But change is no curse. It is ultimately change that brings us possibilities — and possibilities are the foundation of the future.

For those of you who stalwartly read opinions every day, welcome back. To those of you who know me from the sports section, thank you for your support. And to those of you who are picking up The Daily for the first time, keep on reading — we’re glad to have you here.

Your interest has made my job possible. Thank you very much.


Contact Winston Shi at [email protected]

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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.