Times of Change for The Record

How has The Record, the school’s award-winning newspaper, changed over the years? Serving as the school’s newspaper since 1893, it was established under editor-in-chief Edmund Merrill, Jr. ’94. Currently, The Record is in its 125th year of publishing and continues to attract contributions from students of all grades.

During most of its history, The Record published six times a year. However, when Mr. Keith Moon, instructor in English, history, and Russian language, and Ms. Bridget Dixon-Moon, instructor in mathematics, became faculty advisors in 2006, they wanted to create a more consistent schedule and increase the number of annual issues, instead of publishing issues whenever they were ready to print. In 2008, the newspaper began to print in color. Mr. Moon, said, “I think the goal of The Record is to crystalize students’ opinions in the newspaper.”

Over the years, The Record has made several major changes to its structure. In the past, the paper has only had three editors-in-chief. This year, however, the executive board introduced a presidential position, the designated leader to oversee the digital platform as well as the print. 

Previously, the paper contained an international and environmental section, which focused on documenting exchange students and international travel by students and faculty. Now, these topics are covered by Features.

Recently, the publication has focused on developing a digital presence. Many peer schools’ newspapers are accessible online, and publishing the newspaper online has benefited the school community in a number of ways. Debuting in early October,  the website hotchkissrecord.org allows current students, alumni, and parents to remain in closer touch with school news. Under the Archives section, community members are also able to read past issues.

In addition to creating an online platform, the digital board curates the newspaper’s Instagram and Snapchat accounts. The newspaper’s social media profiles have allowed the Gen-Z population of the school to stay updated conveniently on events like Spirit Week, athletic games, and political news. Ms. Joan Baldwin, director of archives, said, “When there was no Internet, the school newspaper was the school community’s main source of information, [so] having the newspaper online is very fitting for this generation.”

This year, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) recognized journalistic work from the last editorial board rotation. Tina Guo ’19, Nicholas Lorentzen ’20, and Michael Zhang ’21 won top honors from  for their cartoon, photography, and article submissions, marking the first CSPA win for The Record since 1994. Ms. Rosemary Davis, archivist, said, “I have been noticing an upward trend toward high-level journalism for the past few years.”

The newspaper now also gives artists a showcase for their work. In the past, most issues of the publication only contained photographs. However, with the visual art program becoming more prevalent in the lives of students, more artists are interested in drawing cartoons, which are now included in most issues.

The newspaper continues to feature the work of writers, artists, and photographers in a bi-weekly publication that keeps the school community updated and informed. The Record was founded 125 years ago with the intention of bringing students together to bring relevant stories to the members of the school’s community to the surface. Although it has evolved over its history, the paper continues to share student voices and report on news pertinent to the school and the greater world.