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As editors of traditional news outlets nationwide debate industry “disruption” and new web outlets crop up every day, two groups of Harvard students are looking to add to the campus media landscape—currently characterized by print establishments like The Crimson, The Advocate, and The Lampoon—with new online-only publications.
The two new outlets are called “The Tab” and “Once Daily” and look to publish regularly online, according to their editors.
The Tab, short for “Tabloid,” launched at Harvard earlier this month under an umbrella media outlet of the same name, which has a presence at more than 40 campuses in the United Kingdom, where it was founded in 2009. It expanded to the United States this year and is now on 22 campuses, according to Alex P.W. Stevenson ’18, the head of the publication’s Harvard section.
The publication’s website is up and running and now features a series of short pieces, which are heavy on photos, the first person, and references to Harvard freshmen. Among other headlines, recent posts include “What do you regret the most from your freshman year?” and “We went on the hunt for cocaine at Harvard,” in which several men wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the Tab logo documented their unsuccessful search for the drug in Widener, Cabot, and Lamont libraries.
Stevenson acknowledges that the site differs from establishment media outlets on campus, such as The Crimson. The Tab’s Harvard staff, who also work with general Tab editors based in New York, are looking to produce brief, unique, first-person articles around student to student interactions, he said.
“Our style and personality is defined by the people who write for us,” Stevenson said. “People don’t mold to us; we mold to people.”
Although new to Harvard, some students from the U.K. were already familiar with the publication when it came to campus. Max Mondelli ’18, a writer for the Harvard part of the site, learned about the Tab when it ran a profile of his brother, a student at Oxford, dubbing him a “BNOC,” or “Big Name on Campus,” apparently a common term abroad.
“It’s stuff you’d bring up while talking to your mates,” Mondelli said of Tab content. “You wouldn’t bring up what Drew Faust is doing with the endowment, but you would bring up stuff about BNOCs on campus.”
According to Lucas F. Hoffmann ’19, another writer for the Tab, the group is experimenting with a range of story forms, from a roving-reporter style piece asking freshmen “When have you felt the most like a freshman?” to the post documenting the cocaine search.
Another online-only publication launched this week, Once Daily, and followed a similarly drug-related theme with its first article, titled “How Harvard Kids Buy Weed.” The first-person piece begs the question, “How does weed get here in the first place?” and follows the writer’s quest to meet campus drug dealers.
Once Daily’s website vows that the site will publish one “must-read” article every weekday and do original reporting.
According to Sam H. Danello ’18, a Crimson sports writer who founded the new site, the publication developed in part with the goal to offer readers one good piece of content a day.
“[Students] don’t have time to read 10 articles a day,” Danello said. “So if you really put out one article that’s really engaging, really high quality, we think that it would be more feasible for students to read that.”
Although both Once Daily and the Tab are based online, Danello said he views his publication as following a different style, with more in-depth reporting based on days and weeks of research.
“A lot of online content today is driven, by necessity, by being popular,” Danello said. “So we wanted to make a publication that focused on topics and articles that students would read, in addition to being well reported and being well written.”
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