Taylor Doherty, current senior and The Chronicle’s special projects editor, accompanied the Duke men’s basketball team on their August 2011 trip to China to produce stories about both the basketball games and the University’s growing presence in China. He shared his thoughts on covering the trip in a recent interview with Yeshwanth Kandimalla, a Chronicle local and national editor and student employee in The Chronicle’s Office of External Relations.
How did you balance your time and attention covering both the sports and news aspect of the trip as well as taking photos?
Being responsible for both the words and the visuals made me approach our coverage differently. I took pictures that I hoped would work well with stories, and would have the effect of making the distinct parts fit well together. It also gave me the opportunity to learn something new. I had never taken a photo for The Chronicle before.
How would you describe traveling with the alumni group? How did it change your perspective on the trip?
It was a great experience. The people on the trip loved Duke basketball and thought that the experience was a great way to see new parts of the world. The trip had its complications, such as issues with the plane on the first day, but my sense was that the group genuinely enjoyed the experience of being so close to the program.
How was the China trip an impetus for The Chronicle to explore new avenues, such as social media and the website, for coverage? Do you think the Chronicle fully took advantages of those avenues in this trip?
This trip represented new opportunities for us to interact with readers. For example, throughout the trip, I would tweet from my personal account and then The Chronicle’s social media accounts would retweet me to reach all of our readers. We had thousands of readers following our updates, and many would send me questions and messages about the coverage. Some readers wanted box scores, so I was able to take photos and quickly upload them. Others had questions about what the players were up to, like how they were spending time during all of the travel.
What aspect of the trip made the most lasting impression on you personally? Did that shape the way you approached your coverage?
The best part of the trip was getting a sense for the place where Duke will open a new campus. When I was news editor, we wrote a lot about the Kunshan campus, and this trip brought the place to life. Now, whenever we write about the campus our paper will be able to provide context that other news organizations will not. We’ve been on the ground. We’ve seen the campus and its city, and that’s invaluable.
The Chronicle is grateful to Allison Creekmore ’96, Fred Klein ’76, Peggy Krendl ’94, James ’79 and Davia ‘80 Mazur, and Andrew Rosen ‘82 for making gifts or pledges to help underwrite Doherty’s trip.