Over the coming weeks, regular readers of the Record will to start to notice some dramatic changes to our publishing schedule. Starting February 5th, the print edition of the Record will only be published biweekly. Print subscribers should not see a reduction in the number of biweekly mailings they receive, only a thicker single newspaper to replace the previous mailing of the previous two. We will continue to update our website, hlrecord.org, on at least a weekly basis, and hope to dramaticallyexpand our online coverage of current events at the school and beyond, with new features, including blogs and multimedia presentations.
Our decision to reduce our print output and to place more content online has a number of root causes. The first is financial. Early this year, we on the Editorial Board decided to begin inserting four color pages into each copy of the Record. While the new look has made the paper look far more professional, stylish, and alive, it has also contributed to significant cost increases. At the same time, the economic downturn, and its effect on the legal services industry in particular, has reduced some of our prospective ad revenue. We decided we would rather maintain the paper’s quality over its quantity, its fresh new aesthetics over its frequency of publication.
When the Record was founded in 1946, it was a crucial source of news and information about the activities of the law school’s administration. But its frequency has become decreasingly necessary at a time when most essential law school news is delivered by email instantaneously. More recently, the relocation of student mailboxes in the school itself has, among other factors, reduced same-day readership among students. Meanwhile, the replacement of the Record as the school’s official mailout with the glossier, less critical eye of the Harvard Law School Bulletin – an issue pointed to by Harvard Board of Overseers candidate Harvey Silverglate ’67 as a manifestation of the “corporate” university – has reduced dependence on the paper among alumni. Still, we believe that independent, student produced content is a necessary, particularly at an institution that sometimes falls short of embodying the lofty principles it teaches in its classrooms. Demand for the Record has never been higher, it’s just that this demand is not appearing in print form. We are seeing our highest traffic totals ever on the hlrecord.org website.
By expanding and upgrading our web content, we hope to capture not only increased student interest, but increased interest from an outside world eager to look inside our vaunted but often secretive institution. At the same time, we hope that, in a world in which infinite information is available at the click of a mouse, a richer print edition, bulging with more of the sort of features that have always given the Record its independent touch, will be more worth picking up.
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