Please join us for Fall Grad Board Sunday, October 19

15 10 2008

All Independent alumni are invited to join the Grad Board and student editors at the fall Grad Board meeting this Sunday, October 19, at the former Hilles Library in the Radcliffe Quad. Business Board begins at 10 a.m., and, after a break for a sumptuous brunch in the Quad House of your choice, Editorial Board will run from 1 to 3 p.m. We’d love to see you.

– S.A.

P.S. We think we remember that there’s no resident parking restrictions in Cambridge on Sundays, so you’ll actually be able to park along Garden or Linnaean Streets.


Alums on the leading edge of the news business

11 07 2008

Independent alum and former Wall Street Journal Assistant Publisher Dick Tofel ’79 has become the General Manager of an Internet-based news organization dedicated to investigative journalism, which it believes, not without reason, has suffered mightily from the cutbacks arising out of the supposedly adverse financial condition of traditional paper-based media. It’s called
Pro Publica.
In addition to Dick, it’s run by other distinguished journalists, such as former Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Paul Steiger. However, he’s not an alum so we’re not really interested in him.
We’re not surprised by Dick’s move to electronic media as he’s helped the Grad Board and student editors with advice on how the Independent can make the change from paper to Internet.

Pro Publica General Manager Dick Tofel

Pro Publica General Manager Dick Tofel

– S.A.

You can help your firm and the Indy

30 06 2008

This year, thanks to alumni support, the Independent has a summer advertising sales manager, Jenn Chang ’11. In formulating the Indy’s ad sales strategy, the Grad and Executive Boards agreed that national advertisers present the most appealing opportunities and that’s whom Jenn is reaching out to.

This is where you come in. If your investment bank, consulting firm, graduate school, retail colossus, great metropolitan newspaper, or other enterprise is interested in reaching Harvard undergraduates (and many are), why not put your recruiting and marketing colleagues in touch with Jenn? The Independent offers both print- and Web-based advertising options that reach all undergraduates much more cost-effectively than the alternative.

Jenn can most easily be reached by email. Her mailbox is jychang; the undergraduate domain is You’ll be helping both your firm and the Indy.

– S.A.

Alums in print

19 05 2008

Former Independent Editor-in-Chief and influential blogger Matt Yglesias ’03 has written a book entitled Heads in the Sand: How the Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats.
Judging by the title, he seems to take a somewhat dim view of responding to terror attacks by invading countries that had nothing to do with them. More specifically, according to the jacket copy,

In Heads in the Sand, fast-rising political observer and commentator Matthew Yglesias reveals the wrong-headed foreign policy stance of conservatives, neocons, and the Republican Party for what it is—aggressive nationalism, or, to be impolite, a new version of old-fashioned imperialism. He then examines how Democrats and progressives have responded to the conservative agenda, from mistakenly labeling it isolationism to repeated calls for big, bold, new ideas and the failure to actually produce any.

Writing with wit, passion, and keen insight, Yglesias reminds us of the rich tradition of liberal internationalism that, developed by Democrats, was used with great success by both Democratic and Republican administrations for more than fifty years. It was, in fact, the foreign policy strategy that revived Europe after World War II, established the United Nations, and won the Cold War.

Based on the principle of promoting global order through international law and stable institutions, liberal internationalism is far from perfect and not nearly sexy enough to appeal to chest-thumping hawks. But, as Yglesias demonstrates, exercised with patience, flexibility, and restraint by nine American presidents, it has produced more peace, prosperity, and international harmony than any other approach.

Sounds like the kind of guy who would give away the Sudetenland.

Here’s Matt (on the right) with his former colleagues at an Independent event in NYC:

Matt Yglesias and friends

We’re more than happy to put in a good word for any literary (or other) work produced by an alum. Just let us know.

– S.A.

Alums in the news, presidential campaign edition

12 05 2008

Independent alum Trevor Potter ’78 is, according to the usually reliable New York Times, the lawyer for the McCain campaign. He was quoted in a May 9 Times article on the latest developments in the endless controversy over the composition of the Federal Election Commission:

President Bush also decided on Tuesday to pull a pending renomination of the current chairman of the commission, David M. Mason, a Republican. Mr. Mason raised questions this year about Mr. McCain’s right to withdraw from the public financing system for the primary.

Advocacy groups that work to counter the influence of money in politics immediately assailed the White House action, arguing it could be construed only as a blatantly political act, meant to benefit the McCain campaign.

“President Bush’s dumping of Mason can only be viewed as a bald-faced and brazen attempt to wrongly manipulate an important enforcement decision by the nation’s campaign finance enforcement agency,” said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, an advocacy group, in a statement.

In response, the Times cited a post by “the campaign’s lawyer and a former FEC Chairman himself, Trevor Potter.”

Not surprisingly, he doesn’t care much for the inference that Sen. McCain had anything to do with Mason’s failure to be renominated. You can read his entire post here and decide for yourself whether the whole contretemps is just another remarkable election-year coincidence.

– S.A.

Report from Grad Board

8 05 2008

Twice a year, the Independent’s editors meet with interested alumni (that’s the Grad Board) to review the state of the Indy. Based on discussions at last week’s Grad Board, the Indy’s in good shape. The editorial product retains its distinctive voice (viz. the cover of the sex survey issue) and trends on the business side are pointing in the right direction. In particular, the paper edition is reliably dropped to each undergraduate door every week, the Web site has been redesigned and is now hosted by a commercial service, Web-based advertising revenue is up and the editors are maintaining a tight rein on expenses. We’ll have a staffer in Cambridge this summer to sell advertising working closely with Grad Board Chair David Smith ’75 (more about that in another post).

The student editors also agreed, no doubt enthusiastically, to pose for this photo in the Indy’s Hilles digs (which are more pleasant than this photo would suggest) so alums could associate faces with bylines:
Harvard Independent editors spring 2008
Left to right, Marissa Babin ’11, News Editor, Sam Jack ’11, Forum Editor, Caroline Corbitt ’09, Editor-in-Chief, David Smith ’75, Grad Board Chair, Amy Yoshitsu ’10, Production Manager, Edward Chen ’09, Co-President, Sally Rinehart ’09, Co-President, Andrew Rist ’09, Sports Editor

– S.A.

Know anyone in the Class of 2012?

9 04 2008

The prospective members of the Harvard Class of 2012 are invited to sample the delights awaiting them during Harvard’s welcoming weekend April 26-27. If you are related to or otherwise acquainted with any incoming freshmen, why not suggest that they check out the Harvard Independent?

The editors are holding an Open House Saturday, April 26 at 2 p.m. at the Independent offices (Hilles 243), followed at 3 by the Extracurricular Fair (also held at Hilles, which houses most undergraduate organizations these days).

– S.A.