Harvard Crimson names first black woman president in paper’s 145-year history

"I’m excited to be part of the movement about thinking beyond convention, thinking [beyond] what’s ‘usually done.’"

Kristine Guillaume, the 2019 President of The Harvard Crimson.
Kristine Guillaume, the 2019 President of The Harvard Crimson. –Amy Y. Li, © The Harvard Crimson Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Harvard junior Kristine E. Guillaume will be the first black woman to serve as president of The Harvard Crimson in the newspaper’s 145-year run, the Crimson announced Monday evening

As president, Guillaume will serve as a liaison between the editorial and business departments of the organization, focus on the long-term direction of the publication, and do her best to ensure that each of the approximately 320 staffers finds value in their work and a sense of community at the Crimson.

In a year that saw Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals add female performers to its cast for the first time in the organization’s 175-year existence, Guillaume is cognizant of her history-making role.

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“I’m definitely proud to be a part of making the Crimson a more welcoming place, and to step into this role as the first black woman,” Guillaume said. “If by taking this role, I help affirm another Crimson staffer’s sense of belonging and ownership over the work that they do, I think that makes all of the hard work worth it.”

Guillaume will replace outgoing president Derek G. Xiao, who said in an email that he “could not be more excited to see the direction Kristine and the rest of The Crimson’s leadership will take the paper in 2019.”

Prior to accepting her new role, Guillaume served as one of the Crimson’s Central Administration reporters, as well as one of three chairs of the Crimson’s Diversity and Inclusivity committee, tasked with overseeing the paper’s initiatives to foster diversity and welcome students of all backgrounds.

As president, Guillaume will have to reckon with an ever-changing media landscape and the difficulties faced by print publications, just like any other decision maker at a journalistic enterprise.

“One big part of my platform is molding the print paper into a digital-first era,” Guillaume said. “There will be a time when we are primarily online or online-only, as much as it pains me to say. So I’ll be working with the technology board very closely this year as we rebuild the back end of our website.”

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A joint concentrator in African American Studies and History and Literature, Guillaume said that she received well-wishes from journalists like David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post after the news was announced, as well as from professors in both of the departments in which she studies.

“I’m excited to be part of the movement about thinking beyond convention, thinking [beyond] what’s ‘usually done,’” Guillaume said. “Knowing that this space is for me is so encouraging.”

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