Introduction: The Dartmouth Review is Dartmouth College’s only independent newspaper. Founded in 1980 by Gregory Fossedal, Gordon Haff, Ben Hart, and Keeney Jones with faculty adviser Jeff Hart, the sometimes controversial publication rose to national prominence in the 1980s on its provocative reporting and willingness to challenge the stale orthodoxy and culture of political correctness on college campuses. Its famous alumni include Laura Ingraham and Dinesh D’Souza. It is currently published biweekly from its offices on Main Street Hanover. The current President is Matthew R. Zubrow, and the current Editor-in-Chief is Sandor Farkas.
Our project sought to understand this relatively clandestine and often misunderstood Dartmouth student organization. For our project, we interviewed senior Review staffers as well as outsiders of the organization to understand how outside and internal perceptions of the organization differed. We also attended meetings of the Review and took pictures of various sights around the office in an effort to collect material folklore.
Conclusion: In the end, we unveiled an organization with a unique culture and irreverent good sense of humor. Most of the folklore collected consists of legends, traditions, and jokes, although our collection only scratches the surface of the organization. Much of the folklore of the Review is only privy to the membership and is not accessible to outsiders. In particular, much of the very large historical body of the Review‘s folklore was not recorded. Staff members were reluctant to share the details of certain items of folklore to nonmembers, explaining why the interviewees were remarkably thorough in some instances (such as in recounting certain legends) and rather vague in others (such as in describing traditions like the Gala).
The folklore of the Review serves an important purpose for the organization. Considering its relative isolation from mainstream campus culture, the folklore brings the organization together and allows it to form its own identity. Reviewers tend to have a unique and somewhat contrarian sense of humor, and this humor is present throughout the organization’s folklore. They also tend to have a certain formality in the performance of their folklore. Furthermore, the Review‘s folklore paints a picture of an organization that is quite different from what popular perception suggests. We hope that this project sheds some light onto the reality of the Review as compared to the often untrue stereotypes directed toward it.
Collectors: Brian Chen, Charles Springer, Yun Chao Chen
Tags: dartmouth review, newspaper, publication