Newsroom visit: The Harvard Crimson student paper

Harvard Crimson

Harvard Crimson [Photo: Ron Reason]

[CAMBRIDGE, Mass.] I enjoyed a visit this week with the editors of The Harvard Crimson, whose redesign I directed a few years back. No time like the present to see how this classic, sturdy design has fared, and to see what plans if any are in store to move it forward. A few observations of note:

  • The staff has been extremely loyal to the design – perhaps Harvard is a place where tradition matters, more so than at some other schools where the design of the college paper seems to change with the whims of every semester’s incoming editor.
  • As always, I admired the volume of information produced by the Crimson team, in a school with no formal journalism program and where everyone (like a recent design editor) seems to be “a double major in economics and psychology.” (Skills truly needed in today’s newspaper market!)
  • When I asked the dozen or so editors in attendance at my session “how many of the Crimson staff typically go into newspapers?” the response was, “not many.” They didn’t seem to think it was personally a big deal; a Crimson editorship is considered great on the resume, and a good skills-builder in terms of communication, leadership, creativity, teamwork, etc.
  • Got a sneak peak, and gave my two cents’ worth, at a nifty redesign of the Crimson¬†website. (Link here.)
  • Some of my favorite content in print or online was the saucy mix at the Crimson’s FlyByBlog. Conservative it’s not. Actually would like to see more of this lively flavor find a home in the daily paper.
  • Have enjoyed working with Design Chair Alee Lockman in providing suggestions for speakers and topics for a Crimson Academy, a pre-semester training program she and the editors are putting together. Fantastic idea, bringing in outside expertise for quick workshops, particularly since the staff doesn’t have the support of a traditional J-school faculty or newspaper advisor.

My best wishes to the Crimson team in moving forward, and thanks for maintaining the strength and spirit of our 2004 redesign! Related: Pages from the redesign, including reader’s guide to the changes.

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