A new year at the ‘Record’

Welcome to a new year at the Record. The new year here is accompanied by a new board, and I am excited to lead this board as editor-in-chief until next winter. I hope you’ll join in and read along with me in the coming weeks. This paper and those who make it happen are important to me, and I’d like to use this space to tell you why.

We say that the Record is an independent student publication. That means that everything you see here was researched, written, photographed, edited, designed, financed and orchestrated by students. It has been this way, to a greater or lesser extent, since the Record’s founding in 1887, and this student-run value has persisted all these years through a mix of tradition, ambition and pride. Indeed, the success of each issue depends on the commitment of our student body.

Each week, contributors and board members come together, push aside their busy schedules, write, argue and edit, and finally, sometimes against all odds, a newspaper arrives. These students generously give their time and energy to produce each issue for no pay, for you. On a campus where not every student has a significant extracurricular commitment outside of athletics, there are a few students that put out a weekly newspaper at great personal cost. If they don’t write, it doesn’t get written.

They do it because the Record isn’t just important to them, it’s important to the community. Faculty, alumni, parents, town residents, prospective students and you read this paper every week. Organization, talent and hard work produce a consistent, self-aware and original newspaper that informs opinions and decision making right here, right now. The Record makes the only attempt at the College to regularly consolidate the various perspectives of students, faculty and the broader community into objective, comprehensive articles bound for wide distribution. For better or for worse, this student publication is as official as it gets.

Here in our office, as in our library, we have stacks of archival issues. Opening an arbitrary page in these archives allows a glance into the world of the College at the time of writing. News stories, planned events, op-eds and even advertisements compose an invaluable history for almost any given week of the academic year. This newspaper is perhaps the richest and most permanent memory of the College as an institution. If we define ourselves in relation to our historical past, then the Record has much to tell us about who we are. The stories written here today will inform the stories of the future. Today, you can log on to the Internet Archive and view a growing database of our past issues, digitized by College librarians, and see for yourself.

Most importantly, I think, these archives catalog what students thought about and how they thought about it. Peek into the 1920s and I’m sure that many of you will be amused by the views of the fraternal men who ruled the school. We have this insight into their lives because the paper cataloged the experiences of its writers.

Believe it or not, but this very issue is a catalog of your experience here. Read and listen for your voice. If you find it in these pages then I’m happy to have found a place for it. If you cannot find yourself here, then I urge you to do something about it. This is your newspaper. Write, photograph, form an opinion, tell us about it. We’re here in our second floor Paresky office for writers meetings on most Wednesdays at 8 p.m., eager to find a place for you.

Ben Eastburn ’15 is an art history and computer science double major from Palo Alto, Calif. He lives in West.