Goodbye from the 2003 News Team

I edited the last article, strung together all the photos, and mapped out the front page for our production staff for tonight, and couldn’t quite believe that this would be the last time. As I thought over the last year, through all of its magnificent highs and a few difficult lows, my thoughts turned to next year’s team. There is a lot I could say, but after considering my options, I thought it might be most helpful to create my Top Five List of Helpful Hints To Survive A Year as News Editor of the Harbus for next year’s team whose Editor In Chief and Publisher have just today bravely agreed to carry forward the Harbus torch into 2004.

Helpful Hint #5:
Despite what you wrote in your application essay, you will need to enhance you skills at motivating and managing peers as News Editor. This is especially important in getting non-staff students to write a Harbus article on next week’s prominent speaker in Burden. Effective incentive tools are: guilt, bribery, sense of honor, blackmail and only as a last resort, threat of physical torture. Despite these effective means, be prepared for nine of ten people to still turn you down, although your yield should gradually improve as the year continues. And you thought all those people on crutches got hurt in IM sporting events.

Helpful Hint #4:
When facing mental block in any article, be sure to foster a group of people who are available at any moment for an extra quote or comment to get you to that next paragraph. My personal favorite is Will Uppington (OH), who, whether it be insightful comments on skin care or soccer highlights, is always a great sport about contributing to the cause. His most recent contribution, “I will never speak to you again,” we consider to be a temporary state of mind.

Helpful Hint #3:
Accept and embrace the fact that most of the student body considers News to simply be a long preamble to the Humor section. Be prepared to be accosted regularly in Aldrich by people who demand to know who is “That Guy” and if “H-BS” can be expanded to two pages, no matter how many times you repeat that you are the NEWS AND CAMPUS AFFAIRS EDITOR. It’s really o.k. About once every three months or so someone will say, “Did you notice that there is a spelling mistake in the first sentence of your article on the front page?” and then and only then you will then have total confirmation that at least one student (other than you) does in fact read the news.

Helpful Hint #2:
When you find yourself at 1 AM patiently explaining for the fifth time to a contributing writer why you can’t actually print such words as SH __ T and P_ N _ S in the paper, take a deep breath and explain (politely because you can’t afford to P _ SS them off) that it’s your neck on the line, not theirs, and that despite how much you would look forward to an intimate conversation with Dean Kester about Community Standards, you think that you can probably handle graduating from HBS without it. While it won’t surprise me if you are slightly more confused about Community Standards at the end of your term than you were at the start, the goal is to try avoiding expos‚ coverage on CNN so that you can be reasonably assured of alumni status at some point in the future.

Helpful Hint #1:
Be prepared for your lack of sleep and reduced social schedule to have a noticeable impact on your own behavior and those closest to you. Beyond doing the obvious preventative steps – such as wiping all social engagements off your calendar on Thursdays for the next year for example – when your closest friends start banning the word “Harbus” from conversation and your partner starts referring to the paper as the “evil force,” consider this to be totally normal behavior. In the many decades of the Harbus’ existence this pattern occasionally emerges as early as mid-February but is almost always in full force by late spring. The key here is to 1) delegate; 2) start praying that Brit Dewey is admitting students into the Class of 2006 who are at least half as good as the News team I have enjoyed this year (THANK YOU Anne Ristau, Kate Eberle, Jaya Tandon, and Carol Winkler); and 3) take yourself down to the Harbus archives in the basement Gallatin and get lost for a while. When the richness of the school’s history recorded in sixty-five years of the Harbus overcomes you, pick up your pen and start editing again.

In all seriousness, it’s been a great year and I am honored to have been a member of this team. Thank you to the Harbus staff (Keith, Dan, Kerry, Seema, Ali, Omar, Chris, Allen, Nick, Todd, Meg, Karen, Jenn, Jenny, & Jess) for your great comradary and good humor. Thank you to Jim Aisner & Catherine Walsh for your encouragement and constant cheer. Thank you to all of the contributing writers who responded to my call, put in the effort and made the Harbus a stronger, more interesting paper. And a special thank you to Mike for putting up with me.

Best of Luck to the Harbus Team of 2004!