Sunday, August 05, 2007

To The Chronicle’s New Editor

Readers Note: Trinity junior David Graham is the new editor of The Chronicle, In a recent article he introduced himself to the Duke community and outlined what he hopes The Chronicle will accomplish under his editorship. I you haven’t already done so, I hope you take a look at what Graham wrote.

I've just sent Graham the following electronic letter.


David Graham, Editor
The Chronicle

Dear Editor Graham:

I read with interest your July 25 article, Living up to the billing.

I wish you well as you begin your editorship. The goals and Chronicle services you highlight are impressive and important for Duke. I support them with just a few exceptions.

I’ll share one of those exceptions with you now.

You say:

For those of us who write for The Chronicle, it was also a very exciting time, as we competed and rubbed elbows with top-notch reporters and got to follow a story of national interest. At the same time, it became almost a single focus for us, consuming much of our time and the pages of this paper.

But with Nifong out of office, charges dismissed and most of the loose ends of the case tied up, both Duke and The Chronicle are ready to move on.
Ready to move on?

The Chronicle? OK, you're the editor.

The Allen Building? For sure.

But Duke?

As the last academic year was ending, Duke students took ads in The Chronicle calling on the Group of 88 to explain why they did what they did and to apologize. About 1,000 students endorsed a full-page ad that asked President Brodhead to finally stand up for them.

I wonder whether many of those students weren’t thinking of things like Brodhead’s silence on May 18, 2006 when racists, including members of the New Black Panther’s Party who openly boast of carrying guns, shouted threats, including death threats, at Reade Seligmann.

Brodhead has never explained why he didn’t speak out then and hasn’t since.

Has The Chronicle ever reported on Brodhead’s silence? Or the silence of all but a few faculty then and since? What about the silence of every trustee then and since? And then there's The Chronicle's own editorial silence.

We can agree, Editor Graham, there was a time many American universities abandoned their students when they were threated by racists. But that stopped during the Civil Rights marches in the 60s.

Is there even one university which in the last 40 years has abandoned a student as Duke under Dick Brodhead abandoned Reade Seligmann on May 18, 2006?

If there is, how did that university "move on?"

Beginning on March 24, 2006 and for many days thereafter, the Durham Police repeatedly told the public about horrific crimes they said were committed at a party hosted by Duke students.

We don’t know why the police did that? We haven’t even identified and held accountable the police supervisors who approved the false statements the police spokesman was making.

We do know DPD’s repeated and shocking lies about Duke students stirred tensions and angers in the community, thus making Duke/Durham a more dangerous place. While that was true for all of us living here, it was and remains especially true for Duke students.

Shouldn't President Brodhead and "Dick's senior team" get some answers from DPD before they and The Chronicle decide "There's nothing to see here. Move on. Go back to your classrooms. If anything turns up, Sgt. Gottlieb will send us all an email?"

Editor Graham, I don't want this to get too long, so I'll move on now myself.

I look forward to your response, which I’ll publish in full at my blog. It's read by a good many members of the Duke community as well as some journalists and authors.

I’ll also be in touch in a week or so with other concerns generated by your column.

Again, good wishes.


John in Carolina


gracie said...

Don't expect a serious response from Graham. Apparently one of his first decisions was to "pull the plug" on the website's message board. Somebody was offended. Did you ever ask them to close it when someone started a thread just to criticize you?

Anonymous said...

Graham is just doing what the group of 87 wants him to do.

Anonymous said...

Or what Brodhead himself wants. There have been a lot more anti-Brodhead comments than pro.

"Dick Brodhead before he dicks you"

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Many thanks to JinC for the fine series of probing questions addressed to journalists. The gaping void comprising their responses is one of the finest possible indictments of the state of modern 'journalism' - at least in its clubby arrogance phase.

Questions? We don't need to answer no steenkin' questions. WE'LL ask the questions, and edit the responses to frame the story correctly.