Two in Two Thousand: Zoe Harvan ’17 and Matthew Borin ’17

We met Matthew Borin and Zoe Harvan when we were brand-new section editors. Throughout our time on Record, we have had the pleasure of working with them as executive editors and editors-in-chief (EICs) and, more importantly, of becoming their friends. We sat down with them to talk about their experiences leading the paper.

Okay, guys, what were your first impressions of each other?

ZH: Well, we were entrymates, so… [Laughs.] We were like the only people in our entry who were going to the writers’ meetings for the Record – but we didn’t, like, go to them together…

MB: Well, we sort of did sometimes.

ZH: Yeah, we started to. So, this one time we didn’t go to together, and I went upstairs and all the cool section editors were talking – they might’ve been taking a group photo – and they were all in pajamas and they had cans of coke and it was some sort of inside joke, and I’m pretty sure I could’ve still gotten an article, but I just poked my head in and then ran away and didn’t take an article. And then I saw Matt and I told him about it – and then we became EICs!

Yeah, like the next day!

MB: Now Record’s not scary anymore either! Everyone should come to writers’ meetings.

ZH: Plug! I don’t know. I think I thought Matt was kind of aloof.

MB: You seemed friendly and Midwestern.

ZH: [Laughs.] Opposites!

How did you first meet?

ZH: We played a game where you had to say which item of food you’d bring to a picnic, that started with the first letter of your name.

Was that on the first day of college?

ZH: Yup, first day of college. [Laughs.] And I said zucchini, because it’s the only thing that starts with the letter of my name! And Matt said …

MB: Marmalade.

What were some highlights of your partnership as EICs?

ZH: I thought hiring was great. Shout-out to the sophomores and two juniors! [Laughs.] I don’t know; hiring did feel like a highlight. It was just fun. You, me and Evan [Wahl ’17] just powering through those few days. And they were really cute and nice and good at their jobs. And [our editorial on John] Derbyshire was a whole thing.

Was that editorial a higlight or a lowlight?

ZH: I think our editorial was good … I mean, that felt like a highlight in terms of working together, because when we had to editorialize on Suzanne Venker [the semester before] it just felt like it was a pretty heated editorial conversation.

MB: We kind of just went in circles in the meeting.

ZH: So, with Derbyshire, we sat down ahead of time and came up with questions for how we wanted to structure it. And the Board wrote a really good editorial, I think, and I thought the conversation was very civil.

And what were some challenges you encountered as EICs that you did not anticipate?

ZH: I think … editing. [Laughs.] I knew it would be really time-consuming, but I think I didn’t expect how brutal that first Tuesday was going to be. Oh! The first Tuesday during classes, I woke up the next morning and our delivery-person had quit, so the paper hadn’t been picked up!

MB: That you could’ve anticipated, because it happened all the time.

ZH: [Laughs.] It hadn’t been delivered, so Evan and I had to drive to Pittsfield and pick it up, but before that I did cry in the bathroom in Paresky. [Laughs.] I think after the first two issues it got a little bit better, just knowing what you were in for … We had some late nights.

MB: Yeah, I’d agree that I thought the editing was going to be a lot. But you sort of just get it done.

ZH: I think we worked together well! I mean, I figured we would.

MB: Yeah, we did disagree, but we disagreed infrequently.

ZH: I was kind of an “anything goes” sort of editor, and Matt had standards for the paper. [Laughs.] But I think with that it was helpful to know that we each had our own semester to make calls. So, if I wanted to publish television reviews and Matt didn’t, I did that during mine and we didn’t do that when he was EIC.

MB: Yeah, I mean you have to compromise more than I thought going in.

ZH: Yeah, it was figuring out a balance, and making sure everyone felt like their section was their own.

What do you each miss most about Record?

ZH: The people! [Laughs.] I miss Tuesdays, where you’re just kind of hanging out in the board room and everyone’s going a little stir-crazy. So maybe like crazy Tuesday nights specifically.

MB: Just the weird things that people say as the day goes on.

ZH: Yeah. I think there aren’t many other experiences like that, in terms of getting to know a group of people.

MB: I second that.

What do you think you got most out of Record?

ZH: Well now I’m crying. Put in that I’m crying.

MB: We don’t print stuff like that.

ZH: Editor ’til he dies.

MB: [Laughs.] Well, I think writing for a newspaper is a good experience for anyone.

ZH: I don’t want to give a resume-ish answer, but I think it really does teach you how to work as a team, and how to balance a bunch of different things at once. I don’t know, I think it really helped me figure out what I want the rest of my life to be like in some ways, just because I really loved getting to put something together every week with people I really cared about. Plus, it was cool to see that Matt and I could work together in that capacity.

MB: And I feel like now I have pretty good knowledge of the inner workings of a small liberal arts college. [Laughs.] Not sure when that’ll come in handy.

ZH: And you have Frankie [Paris ’18] and Michael [Green ’18] and Neena [Patel ’19] and Ryan [Kelley ’19]!

MB: Oh yeah, my news family!

ZH: [Laughs.] “Team News” has really never been stronger. They had a spaghetti dinner a couple weeks ago.

What’s your favorite article each of you wrote while you were on Record?

ZH: Well, as a features editor I think I wrote a lot of silly articles. Oh, I did a co-op ranking! That was sort of fun to write, but it’s kind of hard to write reviews of co-ops as an underclassman because you can’t swipe into any of the buildings. But I did my best and just didn’t see the insides of some of them! [Laughs.] But the first or second article I ever wrote for Record was about things to do in the Berkshires, and that spawned our nudist resort article, so. That’s what really cemented my passion for features. [Laughs.] And I learned a lot about the Berkshires as a wee freshman! What about you, Matt? You wrote about actually substantial things.

MB: And fun things sometimes, when I was pressed into service for features. [Laughs.] I don’t know, I liked an article I did where I got to interview a lot of the student activists. I don’t know if it ended up being that great of an article – it was probably too broad – but it was just interesting to get to talk to a ton of people and sort of get to understand where they were coming from. Probably one of the best things about doing journalism is getting to talk to people and hear their perspectives.

Yeah, how did you guys balance the personal and the professional?

ZH: I think that was the weird thing about when I was EIC. Since a lot of our friends were abroad, it felt like the bulk of our lives was Record for a little bit.

MB: Yeah, we also talked about Record outside meetings all the time. Like we’d always leave the editorial meeting talking about whatever the issue was.

ZH: Sometimes we’d have to ban Record as a topic of conversation.

MB: [Laughs.] Yeah, but whenever there are Record people together somewhere they talk about Record. If you have more than two …

ZH: Oh, this is what I wanted to say! [Laughs.] It’s not good. It’s just because I used to be features editor so I’m really excited to be doing this. Because I used to always do the 1 in 2k interview, and now I’m in it!

  • The threat of mob violence on the Williams College campus prevented Suzanne Venker from speaking to the students. Derbyshire should have been allowed to speak and the Record should have been much tougher in defending him. Zoe isn’t the only one in tears over the Record.