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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, March 2, 2024

New sections of the Daily enhance reporting

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The sign for The Tufts Daily office is pictured.

Editor’s note: The Daily’s editorial department acknowledges that this article is premised on a conflict of interest. This article is a special feature for Daily Week 2021 that does not represent the Daily’s standard journalistic practices.

The Tufts Daily has continually rearranged its content throughout its 41 years of print. Today, we feature some of the newer forms in which our words are reaching your eyes (and ears)!

Audio

For most of its life, the only sound the Daily produced was the satisfying crinkle of newsprint. Then, in the fall of 2018, the paper hit the airwaves — or, more accurately, the streaming services.

“I love podcasts, for a couple reasons,” Hannah Harris, the Daily's executive audio producer, said. “It brings more life into stories, essentially … It can be a little bit more intimate.”

Harris is especially fond of the way podcasts tell journalistic stories creatively. "With audio you get to expand more upon [a story] and add emotion into it, while still giving the facts and telling important stories.”

Another perk of podcasting, Harris added, is that it “lends itself to being very easily accessible, like when you’re walking to class you can just listen to a podcast." 

Right now, the Daily has three ongoing podcasts: "The Rewind," which covers news; the investigative podcast "A Blight on the Hill"; and "Take Town," the sports podcast. 

"The Rewind," which just released its first episode of the season last Sunday, focuses on “expanding on the news” in order to “go more in depth and … powerfully tell the stories that matter to the people in the community,” Harris said. Episodes air on a weekly basis.

"A Blight on the Hill" dives deeper into different issues at Tufts, often with a more serious tone and critical approach, according to Harris. Some future subjects to anticipate this semester from Blight are divestment from private prison systems and an examination of Greek life at Tufts. Blight’s trailer came out on Feb. 20, and the podcast will release episodes monthly. 

“Take Town” is the Daily's sports podcast. According to the pilot episode, narrators Matt Goguen and Aiden Herrod“aim to tackle everything from NFL free agency to the Kevin Durant Twitter beef and anything else in between.”

According to Harris, the Audio section is still relatively small, with about 10 people regularly contributing to “The rewind” and attending meetings. “Honestly we’re still in the growing and creating ... process, and I think we’ll be there for a bit,” Harris said.

Harris is eager to get to the point where Audio has “a stable way of doing things." To get there, Harris and the rest of the Audio team will continue to develop training for the section — how to properly record, write scripts, choose their words carefully and ultimately tell engaging and powerful stories.

Podcasting has really taken off in the last few years,” Harris said. “I remember no one used to talk about listening to podcasts and suddenly everyone has their favorite podcast, so it’s a really exciting opportunity for newspapers or news publications to expand upon their stories and give a different type of content.”

The Audio section is actively taking members and accepting pitches for a fourth podcast. If interested, please email tuftsdailyaudio@gmail.com.

Investigative

For a daily newspaper, especially one whose motto is “Where you read it first,” every night is a scramble to stay on top of the news cycle. However, the Daily has one section that doesn’t get caught in the rush: the Investigative section.

The Daily's Investigative team produces long-form, research-intensive pieces. Its lack of a regular schedule allows its writers to really plunge into issues and examine them from all angles before publishing.

According to Jess Blough, the investigative editor for the Daily, the Investigative section was "the brainchild of a lot of really passionate news writers who knew that they wanted to devote the time and energy into more long-term projects.”

The Investigative team published its first article, “Activism at Tufts,” in the spring of 2017

“It was not premised as automatically uncovering something but at the same time did end up revealing important information, and I think that's how a lot of investigative stories start and how the section got started," Blough said. "You get into a news assignment or features assignment and just keep digging … and then you end up with this story idea that becomes something that requires a lot more research and interviews and source material but also has a lot more sides to it.”

According to Blough, some investigative pieces may require compiling existing data and organizing it in a digestible format for readers — for example, an article published in the fall of 2019 on Tufts faculty political donations. Other investigative stories involve more in-depth reporting, replete with interviews and careful inspection of sources.

Many investigative articles include both skill sets, like the “Dark Money at Tufts” series, which came out in the fall of 2018 and spotlighted the university’s acceptance of large donations from seven controversial organizations. “That was a longer multi-part series that really included both the data that was available and required a bit more digging into, where is this money actually going, what is it being used for, is it causing political influence,” Blough said.

Working for Investigative is a months-long commitment. In addition to compiling data and sometimes having to invoke the Freedom of Information Act to access undisclosed information, long-form journalism requires “talking to the same sources repeatedly,” Blough said.

Investigative reporting can have a steep learning curve. “We are always figuring things out … especially when it comes to organization and access and how do you communicate with administrators who just don't want to communicate with you,” Blough said. “It can feel very discouraging as a budding journalist or someone who's trying to take a critical look at these very real issues on our campus — to get that not explicit but implicit pushback.” 

Although difficult, facing those journalistic challenges can be a deeply rewarding experience too. According to Blough, the Daily's Investigative reporters are constantly working together to figure out how to handle these barriers. “I think that’s the great thing about the Daily ... that it’s created to be a learning process — which, you know, is why the Daily makes mistakes a lot but it’s also why it’s such a cool experience to have in college.”

By the time writers get their bylines in the paper, Blough said, “it ends up being a passion project for people who … have been submerged in that kind of culture of being critical of Tufts and seeing … all the shortcomings of Tufts University, of which there are many, and trying to take that … information that has been revealed and turn it into something that is accessible for readers [and] also really well done.”

Investigative wants your feedback! If you have any story tips or ideas for what you want investigated, please send an anonymous tip via the Daily website or email investigative@tuftsdaily.com. 

Viewpoints

The very first printed copy of the Daily displayed an endearing amalgam of content. From its slanted squash article balanced precariously atop track and basketball, to its adorable little weather graphic, to the date set in two different fonts, the Feb. 25, 1980 issue was truly a baby newspaper just finding its feet. At a quick scan, one finds that no Opinion section existed. Instead, above one article decrying tuition hikes and “decaying” facilities, one large word hollered in bold: “VIEWPOINT.” 

For many years, the Daily’s Opinion section was really two sections: editorials/letters to the editor and viewpoints, which included Opinion articles from the Daily staff as well as op-eds from the broader public. The Daily's “Viewpoint policy” of 2004 described the section as “an open forum for campus editorial commentary,” and welcomed “articles on campus, national, and international issues.”

In the fall of 2007, “Viewpoints” disappeared (indeed, a quick search of the word “viewpoint” on the Daily website yields no results for the section after September 2007). Op-eds got their own heading and eventually merged with editorials/letters to form the umbrella Opinion section we know today. 

Since then, Opinion articles written by Daily staff fell by the wayside. If published at all, they had no clear home. 

“We previously didn't have people publishing their bylines in the paper in the Opinion section   if they were writing for the Daily,” Priya Padhye, executive opinion editor, said.

This semester, they're bringing the “viewpoints” header back.

Viewpoints are bylined Opinion articles written by staff or contributing writers,” Padhye explained. Unlike the case in 2007, the viewpoints header no longer includes op-eds. 

While the Editorial Board is meant to reflect the views of the Daily, viewpoints are supposed to represent the views of individual writers.

“What I really like about viewpoints is that they provide a more expansive opportunity for students to really exercise their own voices, to kind of develop their own stylistic choices and write about issues they’re really passionate about from a different lens than they might have in the past on the Editorial Board," Padhye said.

The viewpoints label also gives writers an opportunity to contribute their thoughts on issues outside of the Tufts campus. “With viewpoints you have a little bit more flexibility to talk about external issues as well, so larger socio-political events and things that might not be happening right here on campus,” Padhye said.

Padhye is looking forward to reading all commentary from members of the Tufts community. “I’m really excited to see the excellent content writers produce, and I’m also really excited to see the conversations that viewpoints can foster.”

From long-form journalism to social media and audio, the Daily's current multimedia content looks quite different from the original pages that came out of Curtis Hall’s basement 41 years ago. Now and for years to come, we are committed to restructuring our content in order to clearly and effectively bring you the news, features, arts, investigative reporting, opinions and sports you need and love. 

Happy anniversary, Tufts Daily. See you on Monday.