In the Word of Editors Past
TIM WALIGORE ‘01
There’s nothing like misplaced confidence to give you the incentive to pursue an unlikely objective. While I was interning for The New Republic, I came to realize that I enjoyed opinion journalism and I wanted to fight the battles of campus politics. That summer, Dan Pollock ‘01, Michelle Chui ‘01 and I hatched our plans while drinking in an Adams-Morgan dive called The Common Share. I suggested we name the paper The Dartmouth Free Press.
Once back in Hanover our task seemed daunting. We almost quit, but at the last moment we were convinced that student support would be forthcoming if we pressed on. So we did.
We were a small group of people working late nights. I’d stay up for two days without sleep to put the issue to rest, completely exhausted. We often had difficulty finding writers and always struggled to find cover art. The paper was eight black and white thin pulpy pages.
We published on late-breaking fraternity incidents, campus protests, and concluded with an issue that considered the virtues and complications of Greek de-recognition. We wanted to shift the campus discourse leftward, and did: The debate on our pages was not Gore v. Bush, but Gore v. Nader. People began to speak of three campus papers, with The Review on the right, The Free Press on the left, and The Dartmouth in the mushy mediocre middle.
JEFF VARDARO ‘02
It was easy to tell things had changed by the time The Dartmouth Free Press started its second year. For instance, I would list my most important contributions to the DFP’s first volume as lobbying strongly for making the cover white instead of pink (seriously), lending our photographers my digital camera from time to time, and convincing a friend to draw a cartoon of an elephant sitting on the White House.
By then we had a full-sized staff, complete with ideological differences (this was new for us, as we had long since alienated the faction that lost the white-or-pink argument). There were differences over free trade, differences over war in Afghanistan, differences over how best to respond to The Review?s jabs. The issues we faced in our second year were not necessarily more important than the issues we faced in founding The DFP, but they were certainly different. By the time we started up for the fall, thanks to the summer staff’s issue introducing us to the Class of 2005, the questions we were dealing with were everyday questions. The ’05s saw us as an established feature of the Dartmouth political landscape. And to our surprise, they were right. We had enough funding and staff to keep us publishing, so all we had to do was learn how to function when our most important job wasn’t staying afloat, it was how to make our work not just permanent, but relevant. It was difficult, but it became easier the more room we gave the ’05s to express their own visions for The DFP and Dartmouth’s progressive community.
KUMAR GARG ‘03
The beginning of the third year of The DFP had all the makings of a disaster. The elections the year before had caused some internal feuding, and some top editors had left. Others editors felt burnt out, and most of the top staff were ‘03 seniors that were looking ahead to a bleak job market and a world of thesis pain. Worst of all, the editor-in-chief, yours truly, no longer wanted the job.
At the first unofficial meeting I held in Homeplate, I eagerly looked for a successor. The meeting however was a disaster, and no one seemed willing to even put in their share of time. As a COSO member, I see student groups die all the time and I could see the impending death of The Free Press before me.
Using one of its nine lives though, The Free Press survived this moment of senior staff weakness. New, unsolicited and hard-working ‘05 talent began to arrive at early meetings. They took the work with eagerness and I was buoyed by their can-do attitude.
And this staff was decidedly different than early pioneers who started the paper: much more focused on the national liberal-conservative divide than the left-right campus one. Rather than rage over the Greek system, anger and frustration with President Bush’s march to war found a voice in the pages of the paper. Instead of worrying about The Review, they focused instead on The Dartmouth and its inability to accurately report student protests.
By the time I stepped down in the spring of my senior year,The Free Press was a different place. Far from being in danger of dissolution, The Free Press was flush with a hard-working and young staff that vigorously vied for top positions in the senior staff elections. Accolades rolled in: The Nation rated us one of the top ten alternative campus publications in the country, and COSO awarded us Best Publication of the Year prize.
CLINT HENDLER ‘05
Our readers are not only the reason why we publish, but you let us know where we go astray and praise us when we’re on target. Both are vital services, and we thank you for them. And we thank you for being an audience, and for taking the time to consider our opinions and appreciate our work.
This paper only exists because of the monumental work of our staff, which through writing, editing, photography, web design, distribution, layout and graphics has involved hundreds of Dartmouth students. On behalf of editors in chief, past and present—Tim Waligore, Jeff Vardaro, Laura Dellatorre, Karsten Barde, Kumar Garg, Graham Roth, and myself—we thank you a thousand times over. Our staff over four years is far too numerous to list here.
I know what you’re thinking: we look pretty young for 50. Much recognition should go to our layout gurus, Meredith Esser and Austin Larson, for giving us a new look just in time for our fiftieth issue. Their work stands on the shoulders of that of Steve Zyck, Laura Schniedwind, Meredith Brooks, Richard Jay Nussbaum, and Kumar Garg, who came before and in one way or another helped to lift this paper above the early days of basic, bland, and boring design. We like the design we’ve got now and will be sticking with it for a while.
This paper is a precocious toddler: we’re still a bit awkward on our feet at times, but we’re fun to have around, at times surprisingly perceptive, and bound to grow. Be sure to keep an eye on us.