Student Journalist Spotlight: Paras Bhayani, Harvard Crimson

Paras Bhayani, managing editor, The Harvard Crimson


Twenty-three hours.


Riding the Amtrak train between Chicago and Boston takes 23 hours each way. It’s a trip Paras Bhayani knows well. The Chicago native and Harvard University senior has refused to fly back-and-forth between Chi-town and Beantown for the past two years. Why? “Trains can save the world,” he wrote last December. “That may sound a bit hyperbolic, but it’s true. Traveling by train—instead of plane or car—reduces carbon emissions, weans the nation from oil, and revitalizes dying communities. “


Paras Bhayani is the current managing editor of The Harvard Crimson.


The train-tripper and world-saver is also a student journalist who matters, earning a CMM spotlight specifically for his current role as The Harvard Crimson managing editor, making him second-in-command of a 200-student staff putting out one of the top student newspapers in the world. Below are some thoughts he shared with CMM recently about his work, the role of the Crimson, and the current state of journalism:


Write a six-word memoir of your Crimson experience so far.


Trying, but with an enormous upside



To all the campus newspaper and j-student haters out there: Why does The Harvard Crimson matter?


We matter because we are the only check on the Harvard administration. The University’s policies are extraordinarily influential, but administrators also like to formulate policy without oversight or sunlight. As editors, we do see a great deal of mismanagement or skewed priorities . . . and it’s our job to bring to light the voices–students, faculty, or city residents–that the administration would rather not hear from. Our non-news content sections, notably our sports, arts section, and magazine, are significantly more student-oriented and fun to read, but our vital oversight role is truly what makes The Crimson matter.



What is the coolest part about being Crimson ME?


Knowing a great deal about Harvard and being able to immediately shine a spotlight when you hear a story that needs to be told.



What is one thing people don’t understand about the job?


Even though I am nominally “in charge” of a large news gathering staff, the staff is composed entirely of volunteers. As a result, all change at The Crimson, be it to our internal management or to our coverage, requires either consensus or a near-consensus combined with an inclusive process.



Funny newsroom moment.


When Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers and an editor of The Crimson during the 1950s, quietly walked into the newsroom during Commencement 2007. We were stuffing newspapers while blasting “Baby Got Back” perhaps a bit too loudly.


Check out the full interview here

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