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Vassar Quarterly Letter

Friday, September 9th, 2005 · 3 Comments

I was proud to see my letter to the editor published on page 3 of the Fall 2005 issue (volume 101 issue 4) of Vassar: The Alumnae/i Quarterly. Though the final, printed version of my letter doesn’t seem to be online, below is the version that I had emailed to the editor on June 17. (12.24.2005: I found the online version.)

When I wrote the letter, my concern was that I would miss recognizing someone who was instrumental to the success (print and online) of The Miscellany News of the 1990s. And, unfortunately, I did. My sincere apologies and delayed recognition to Jessica Zahn ’96, the Editor-in-Chief who ran the show when I first got involved with the Misc. my freshman year. Not only did she encourage my involvement with the paper, but she should also be properly credited with having the foresight to encourage Hill A_nderson ’98 and Michael Dillon ’98 to put the Misc. online in the first place.

Dear Editor,

As a former Editor-in-Chief, Senior Editor, Information Technology Editor, and Contributing Editor of The Miscellany News (1995-1999), I was happy to see coverage of the Misc. in the Summer 2005 issue of the Vassar Quarterly. However, what is frustrating for us former editors is to see not only misleading details, but also that the institutional knowledge that we worked so hard to preserve seems to have been lost some time after the Class of 1999 graduated.

The article speaks of “a day when the paper’s financial insolvency and lackluster student interest almost doomed it to obsolescence,” as well as the ability to “now peruse the Miscellany News’ online edition … (and) archived material.” These claims and the implication that this is the first time the Misc. has been online sadden me.

I gave the paper my all during my four years of involvement, which culminated with my role as Editor-in-Chief during my junior year in 1998. During that time, we garnered high advertising and subscription revenues (thanks to the innovative efforts of then-Managing Editor Jonty Yamisha ’99), produced a quality newspaper with in-depth reporting (with News Editors Jennifer A_nderson ’99 and Stephanie Litos ’99, and Senior Editor Jennifer Higginbotham ’99 at the helm), and earned not only the interest, but dare I say, the respect, of the student body. We were well trained by our predecessors, Amanda Spielman ’98, Joe Goldman ’98, and Hill A_nderson ’98, who took the newspaper and the journalistic responsibility that went with it very seriously, setting high standards for those of us who followed in their footsteps; we did our best to maintain that same level of quality.

As for the Web site and online archives, former editors Hill A_nderson ’98 and Michael Dillon ’98 should be properly credited with first putting the Misc. online in 1994. I assisted with and later managed diligently and without fail — along with Shreyank Purohit ’99 — that weekly project from 1995 through 1997. When we left Vassar in 1999, we had accumulated six years of consistent online archives. Some time around 2000 or 2001, apparently, the server went down and the online archives were lost.

Here’s a glimpse of what the online edition looked like in 1998:

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the foresight to preserve more online archives since I thought we had put sufficient infrastructure in place. Apparently I was wrong.

Despite all this, I’m glad to see a revitalized effort in returning the Misc. to its former glory, online and off.


Gabe ’99
Saratoga Springs, NY

Tags: vassar

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Phil // Sep 11, 2005 at 4:25 pm

    Great letter Gabe! I saw it yesterday when the VQ arrived in my mailbox. You guys did a great job with the Misc and I too was saddened to hear of what it later became. Lets hope there are better people in charge now.

  • 2 S-A // Sep 13, 2005 at 12:56 pm

    Spielman was ’97! But I guess you just made her sound a year younger which is flattering for those old timers turning 30 this year. 😛

  • 3 Jonty // Sep 14, 2005 at 3:30 pm

    On a related I’ll be up at Vassar on 9/20, recruiting for my new employwer. I’ve reached out to the Misc. to see if they can cover the event. Assuming I meet some Misc. people, Gabe, is there anything you’d like me to convey to them?