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Monday, November 21, 2005

goings on

Happy Monday morning! I hope you're all sober and caught up on your sleep from the weekend, it was a good one of the ol' Crimson. So, what's goings on?

Well, as always Chip is rattling some cages with a call for a black people's solidarity that has started an interesting little give and take about racial and class identity. I'm sure he'd love people to chime in and keep the conversation moving. Katie notes the good stuff happening with the Harvard Green Campus Initiative and encourages us all to turn off our lights and whatnot, feel free to share your thoughts with her. And, as always, an interesting conversation has started related to my post on the Crimson's new leadership that includes interesting reader thoughts a pretty drastic lack of racial and gender diversity, the power of various jobs, and, of course, my complete lack of rationality. Share your thoughts about all of that.

Hope you're week is starting well, share some wisdom with us, and Happy Monday!

CORRECTION: As noted below, my reference to one anonymous reader's note that a Crimson editorial chair was the president of a Final Club is not correct. Many apologies, I will be more careful with anonymous comments in the future. Thank you for the correction, that's what comments are partially for, although I admit that it shouldn't be necessary.


At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To play devil's advocate: should simple racial/gender diversity be the ultimate end of organizations? For example, if there are three positions, five very qualified white males and three unqualified females, should an organization elect a female anyways?

I think organizations have this dilemma all the time. Personally--and I'm going to borrow a quote from a recent lawsuit v. UCal--I think that stressing diversity for diversity's sake in any organization would have a "chilling effect." Once you undermine the strict merit-based parameters by which to judge people, you ruin the incentive system of your organization and you risk appearing arbitrary. The effect on morale would be utterly killer. I'd challenge anyone on these points.

Now I do believe racial and gender diversity should be a goal. But it's way too simplistic to write, as you do implicitly in this post, that a "drastic lack of racial and gender diversity" is automatically a bad thing. It's not ideal, fine. But would the alternative of a less qualified, more diverse group of people be any better?

Finally, I'd urge you to consider the diversity on the crimson as a cyclical phenomenon. Two years ago, women filled the top three slots on the newspaper. Last year, a woman was president of the crimson, and there were ~1.3X as many women on the masthead as men.

At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, just to head off the "correlation between Ed Board and Final Club leadership" argument before it begins: Michael Broukhim is not President of the Fox, nor, to my knowledge, does he intend to be. Elections for the Fox's leadership are in the spring, not now. So there's absolutely no way he could be President.

To continue in this vein. Golis, you've set yourself up as force to bring The Crimson and the Ed Board to accountability--to complement their "monopoly" on campus discourse. How can you seriously expect to do this credibly if you don't even fact-check what you write?

Now, I admit, everyone makes mistakes. And it's good that I was able to head this one off, just as I'm sure Crimson readers often alert the newspaper of mistakes it makes. But if CC is going to transcend the level of gossip, there needs to be a higher standard than taking unsubstantiated, anonymous comments as fact.

At 12:20 PM, Blogger andrew golis said...

many apologies, see the note above.

At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out shoot.thecrimson.com (login: turkey, password: shoot) for the new leadership's thoughts on the diversity question and much more.

At 1:37 PM, Blogger katie loncke said...

to devil's adovcate anonymous, i hope you're not equating observing or even bemoaning a lack of diversity with calling for symbolic representation, or 'diversity for diversity's sake,' to fix the problem. a lack of diversity is bad when there's room to increase diversity without sacrificing quality. while there may have been a lack of qualified non-male, minority, and minority non-male applicants in the pool of applicants this time around, do you believe that minorities talented enough to excel in top Crimson positions don't exist at harvard?

if they do exist, and if they do have a stake in campus media production, the real question becomes, why aren't more minorities and women joining the paper in the first place? and if in fact they are joining in representative numbers, then why aren't they applying for top-level positions? and if they are applying, then why aren't they being selected? (none of these questions are meant to insinuate anything, since i have no idea what the levels of diversity are at these various stages, but i think they're important questions to consider).

do you agree with golis's observation that 'the people who know who runs what' ultimately rise to the top in media relations at harvard? if so, do you think this reality already threatens to 'undermine the strict merit-based parameters by which to judge people'? do you think it's possible or likely that a person's race, class, gender, or combination thereof could affect (positively or negatively) their access to the kind of inside connections necessary to work their way up the ladder?

At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

from briefly looking through the shoot papers, I don't see any discussions of diversity anywhere...

At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look harder...

Marra: "I am committed to fostering diversity on staff. When we lack diversity on all fronts, including racial and socioeconomic, our coverage suffers from a lack of perspective, and our editors lack information about campus events and issues. Productive relationships with ethnic groups are the first step towards recruiting minorities."

Seward: "We continue to hurt from a lack of ethnic diversity at The Crimson. Our coverage of minority groups is suffering—and often nonexistent—as a result. And though we have made some important strides in reaching out to diverse student groups, we need a concerted recruitment effort that begins at pre-frosh weekend, finds its roots in the comp, and does not let up until we have succeeded, however many years it may take. The Crimson’s homogeneity is perhaps our greatest vulnerability, and combating it will require an effort on par with projects like the capital campaign, website redesign, and switch to color publication. The diversity of our staff and leadership is no less important."

Hemel: "The news board can’t expand significantly if it culls most of its staff from a narrow demographic subset. The AME(s) and/or comp director(s) should ask the leaders of campus religious and ethnic organizations to give us time at their introductory meetings so that we can make presentations about the comp process. It’s a win-win situation: those organizations will benefit by strengthening their connections to the news board, and we’ll benefit with a larger staff that more accurately reflects the make-up of the undergraduate population. Moreover, by sending the AME(s) and/or comp director(s) as news board ambassadors to religious and ethnic organizations, we’ll improve The Crimson’s relations with groups that may feel marginalized by our coverage. We’ll attach a human face to our product. And we’ll come back to 14 Plympton with a bucket-load of story ideas."

Peguero: "We should actively seek to recruit at racial minority/ethnic groups. We must not only regularly meet with and listen to diverse communities: we must become one. These groups gather for dinner once a week and open the floor to guests. Those of us part of these ethnic communities should pub the Crimson Comp early in the year at these meetings and emphasize the need for greater minority representation on the Crimson."

And those are just a few examples.

At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would also hesitate from lumping together racial/ethnic and gender diversity. The Crimson does have a challenge in attracting and keeping people of different races and ethnic backgrounds on staff, one that the paper is well aware of and actively trying to address. But there are many powerful women on the Crimson currently, and have been consistently in the past. In addition, the news executives (who make all decisions regarding content of the front section) have been overwhelmingly female for several years running and the upcoming guard continues this trend.

At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Katie Loncke:

(from the first poster)

Agreed, it is very bad that a more diverse group of people don't stay on with the crimson. I think you will be seeing a vigorous outreach effort starting next semester, courtesy of some Crimson alums.

However, like I said, diversity can be somewhat of a cyclical thing. So although next year's masthead may look bad, no one expects that trend to last (and actually, if you look beyond the top leadership positions to include all executives, you'll find 34 of 87 are women, and 29 of 87 are minorities).


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