Vassar Today

Hot Off the Press: New, Improved <em>MISCELLANY NEWS</em>

By Lindsay Dawson ’05

Every Wednesday night at 7, a dedicated group of students gathers in the College Center to spend hours heatedly debating issues facing Vassar College. Topics range from salacious details from the weekly security report to recent developments in the administration to popular culture. Out of this assembly, each week’s Miscellany News is born. But the paper might seem unfamiliar to alumnae/i who remember retrieving it from their dorm’s lobby and reading it faithfully every Thursday. With the stewardship of its dedicated new editors, the Misc (as students call it) has undergone a major face-lift.

Emma White ’05, former editor in chief and current contributing editor, remembers a day when the paper’s financial insolvency and lackluster student interest almost doomed it to obsolescence. Since she joined the newspaper staff in fall 2001, “we have made a concerted effort to improve its quality,” she said.

Thanks to the dedication of its recharged staff, alumnae/i can now peruse the Miscellany News’ online edition with their morning cup of coffee. The website, a result of working closely with Web designer Ian Crowther ’04, was launched during the spring semester and features the paper’s current issue alongside archived material. In addition it allows readers to comment on articles through a blog-based system. The Miscellany News also boasts a sleek redesign courtesy of design editor Tiffany Chow ’07.

The paper’s editors are a loyal bunch whose affection for their weekly rag is matched only by their work ethic. “We all recognize that we are obsessed with the Miscellany News, which may be unhealthy for us, but it certainly benefits our readers!” quipped Judy Jarvis ’07, co-editor in chief. When President Fergusson announced her retirement mere hours before the final draft was due to the printer, the editors scrambled to conduct interviews, compose articles, and reshuffle the news section in order to break the story in the Miscellany News on the same day that the New York Times did.

Without the backing of a faculty adviser or the training of a journalism department, the staff manages to weld together a publication each week that straddles a journalistic spectrum between hard-hitting news stories and humor pieces with headlines like the recent “President retires, Bard invades campus.” Its editors cite the paper’s independence not as a liability but as its greatest asset. “We look to ourselves as leaders, but also as learners. This is an exciting way to work long-term as well as week to week, creating a feeling of empowerment among the staff, encouraging us to take risks as well as be conscious of the effects of our decisions,” said Senior Editor Rachel Wolff ’07. And for those who work on the Miscellany News, the risks have paid off.

Visit the Miscellany News online at its new Website,