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Why do we need The Clerk?


Welcome to The Clerk – we hope you like it.

Inspiration for this publication came, as many good things do, out of confusion about the world around us. It’s troubling to think of how little one can understand about an event or occurrence before we let them fly on by, unquestioned and unnoticed.

Over the last few weeks, our small staff of 15-ish students has been reporting, writing and constructing what you see here online. While of our some writers have experience working on a newspaper, many are new to the practice of journalism, and what it means when applied to a bubble as small and bizarre as Haverford’s.

We spent a lot of time agonizing over edgy names and finally settled on “The Clerk” (thanks to William Leeser ’15), a reference to the clerk at a Quaker meeting. The clerk is tasked with not only taking minutes and keeping time, but also mediating conflict and acting, more or less, as an impartial guardian of the dialogue.

The clerk recognizes not only the values of the broader community, but also that of the individual. Similarly, good journalism not only clarifies and illuminates issues that dominate our conversations, but also seeks to understand silence and what is behind it.

The Haverford community is remarkably self-aware, and yet in many ways we lack clarity, cohesion and a way to organize the different discussions and debates that occur on campus. While bizarre rumors circulate and threads heat up on the Go! boards, there’s also thoughtful inquiry and conversation between individuals. An independent student newspaper is essential to bringing quality, clarity and fairness to the campus dialogue.

What we hope to create is a place where every member of the community can be a participant in this dialogue. As students, we should feel empowered to not only observe our community and examine its implications, but do so unselfishly. Haverford belongs to many people – not only students, but staff, faculty, administration and alumni. We all have the right to know, understand and influence decisions that affect us. By providing a comprehensive source of news, we hope to promote a transparent environment where decision-making is visible and accessible.

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