University News

New political publications aim to fill void on campus

Contributing Writer
Thursday, March 15, 2012

Recent months have seen the rise of non-partisan political publications on campus. The Brown Politics Memo and Brown Political Review, two online publications that aim to publish unbiased student articles about national and international politics, were both formed to address a lack of student-run political journals, their creators said.

Ben Kutner ’14, a Herald senior staff writer, and Olivia Conetta ’14, Herald copy desk chief, are in the process of creating the Brown Politics Memo. Their web-based publication aims to “promote good political writing from students” and “get people involved in politics,” said Ben Resnik ’15, a contributing writer for the newly founded news site. Divided into five sections – Brown, state, national, international and election news – the journal’s creators hope it will become something “read outside of the University,” Resnik said. 

The group does not intend to seek recognition from the Undergraduate Council of Students, which would classify it as an official University publication, because they prefer to remain independent, Resnik said. The publication “is not beholden to budgets and administrative restraints,” and members are not “relying on University funding,” Resnik said. He also expressed confidence in the magazine’s future, noting the “creative energy” members have already displayed. 

The Brown Politics Memo does not need UCS recognition “as long as it is self-sustaining,” said Laura Curlin ’13, who recently joined the Brown Politics Memo as a contributing writer. 

Because the website was launched earlier this month, there are still relatively few students involved, Resnik said. 

Curlin said she believes Brown lacks a non-partisan political publication because “political science majors are more involved in activism” than in writing. This is her first experience with journalism, she said, adding that she hopes the site will be a “great way to get another perspective on politics.” 

The Brown Political Review, which was recently rejected for UCS approval, was founded by Zachary Ingber ’15 and Felix Tettey ’15. Taking a similar name to the Harvard Political Review, Ingber said he sought advice from the president of the Harvard publication, who recommended the group begin with a website. The council did not approve the student group due to its similarity to another student journal on campus, also titled the Brown Political Review, said Mae Cadao ’13, chair of the UCS Student Activities Committee. The other journal is part of the Brown Political Theory Project and is not seeking funding from UCS, Cadao said. She said the council has been trying to reduce overlap between student groups due to funding issues and considered the two groups “similar enough that the possibility of collaboration would be feasible.”

Instead of appealing the decision, Ingber said the Review will see if it can merge with the existing Brown Political Review. 


–With additional reporting by Margaret Nickens