This has been a shorter volume of The Stanford Review than usual, spanning a single quarter rather than half an academic year. Nevertheless, even in so short a time, I believe we have achieved everything we hoped for.
Like my predecessors, I have asked much from the staff of The Stanford Review. And they did not disappoint. Time and again the staff has surpassed my expectations, and we are now a better paper than we were at the start of this year. My aim was to return the paper to its founding principles: to promote rational discussion and set an example of journalistic professionalism. I believe we have, in the span of a single quarter, successfully made this return. And judging from what I see the other editors and writers planning and talking about, the Review will get even better.
There were signs that we needed to make this shift. One I remember came during our paper’s twentieth anniversary reunion last year, when many of our alumni wondered why we did not do as much investigative news reporting as we once did. This is one thing the Review can do better than any other paper on campus, due to our flexible word limits and longer deadlines. After the reunion, in the previous volume, we published one such investigation. We published two more this volume, and our paper is now once again committed to investigative reporting. We also instituted more rigorous standards of editing, improved our writing, and generally took the paper to a higher level of professionalism. Even more encouraging, while the paper has continued its tradition of a weekly lunch with a fellow at the Hoover Institution, the Review has also begun connecting with networks of conservative journalists. Perhaps in some not so distant day, a byline in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, The Weekly Standard, or National Review will be a Review alum.
As we transition to a new volume and a new editor, it is my hope that we continue to build on our current successes. Having reestablished our original foundation, we are better positioned to serve our purpose as a journal of thought and an open forum for ideas.
Moreover, more and more student leaders are recognizing the need for a political union on campus. I believe the demand for it is now high enough that it will come into existence by the end of this academic year, if not as a recognized student group then at least as a de facto organizing concept. As we have stated before, the Review will continue to serve its founding purpose, and we will be an integral part of the campus political union when it comes into being.
I wrote in my first note that I hoped students would observe in the pages of the Review the variety and complexity that defines conservative thinking. Throughout this volume what has united us are two composite ideas: a respect for reality’s complexity, and a wariness about oversimplification. This is what will continue to unite the paper and what defines it as the nexus of all campus conservatism. Whatever happens on campus, the Review will remain a bastion of rational dialectic, ready to complicate a discussion that risks falling into oversimplification. We will remain dedicated to accepting complexity, engaging with it, and encouraging others to grapple with it. And we won’t be afraid to occasionally unsettle what some may think are now ‘settled’ questions.
I’d like to use my last few sentences as Editor-in-Chief to thank all of our readers. The Review exists as a forum for ideas, and the discussions and views in our paper have an effect on campus because open-minded students take the time to pick it up, read it, and consider our thoughts. It is my hope that the Review continues to grow as a voice of reason and reflection on campus, and that our readers continue to search with us for that multifaceted and elusive idea: truth.
Yours in searching,
Editor in Chief