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Students Launch Liberal Magazine

By Anton S. Troianovski, Contributing Writer

Three Harvard undergraduates launched a pan-collegiate online magazine dubbed New Deal earlier this month in an effort to promote a proactive approach to liberal activism.

Nicholas G. Karvounis ’05, a former Crimson cartoonist who founded the magazine with Jonathan T. Stein ’05 and Jim L. Fingal ’05, said that he hopes the magazine will encourage liberals to stand for their own ideas, rather than only reacting to the right.

With a mission that states, “For too long, the left has been defined by what it’s not,” the magazine features progressive-themed art and articles by college students from across the country, along with message boards and weblinks to help young liberals “get involved.” The magazine is online at www.newdealmagazine.com.

“It seemed to me that a lot of groups on the left are kind of atomized and present themselves as an opposition to conservative organizations,” Karvounis said. “It struck me that to constantly present your principles as a reaction to someone else’s discredits your idea because it paints you as a bunch of whiners.”

New Deal solicits submissions—accepted in almost any format, including movie clips—from high school students, undergraduates and graduate students from any institution. Karvounis and Stein both stressed that the magazine is not a Harvard student organization.

“We don’t want to have a Harvard stamp on this because we want to organize a disparate group of people, so it’s important we get a cross-campus presence,” Karvounis said.

The first issue’s articles, written by students at Harvard, Brandeis, Boston University and the University of Pennsylvania, cover topics including social security, liberal college professors, responses to terrorism and “God Hates Red States,” referring to the Republican-leaning regions that were hit by hurricanes this year.

Lauren K. Truesdell ’05, spokeswoman for the Harvard Republican Club (HRC), said the first issue’s content does not live up to New Deal’s stated mission.

“There’s too much complaining about [the left’s] own lack of organization, and the magazine still doesn’t offer many new ideas,” Truesdell said.

Truesdell also questioned the purpose of such a magazine, noting that most people who read partisan political journals already agree with them.

“It’s more important for us to be published in news organizations with a more diverse readership,” Truesdell said.

Stein said he expected that the majority of New Deal’s audience would share the founders’ liberal views, but insisted that would not detract from the magazine’s mission. He said what sets New Deal apart from other liberal publications is its focus on fresh ideas and grassroots activism.

“It is essential that this creates action, and that most fundamentally is our point,” Stein said. “We really want to be a place where young progressives can hash out their ideas and proposals, and get responses from other young liberals.”

Tim M. McSorley Jr. ’06, legislative director for the Harvard Democrats, said the club would urge its members to contribute to New Deal, after the presidential election when their commitment to Sen. John F. Kerry’s campaign ends.

“The Dems write quite a bit so it’s great to have different avenues in which we can publish our opinions and ideas,” McSorley said. “I’m excited about it because it’s a new concept and it has the potential to bring a little more presence of liberal commentary to campus.”

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