Benjamin to be acting publisher for The Dartmouth

by Maria Harrast | 11/6/18 3:00am

On Nov. 3, Zachary Benjamin ’19, current editor-in-chief of The Dartmouth, was appointed as the newspaper’s acting publisher. The change in leadership occurred in light of the resignation of former publisher Hanting Guo ’19 at a meeting with the newspaper’s Board of Proprietors on Saturday. Benjamin will manage the duties of both editor-in-chief and acting publisher until a full-time replacement is found.

“The reason I’m being appointed is primarily because the paper needs to have leadership, and there wasn’t an obvious candidate who could fill the position right then,” Benjamin said. “I do not intend to stay [in this position] for longer than I need to.”

In recent years, leadership positions of the editorial and the business sections have been designated to two individuals. However, this separation of responsibilities was not always the case for The Dartmouth, nor other college newspapers. The Harvard Crimson’s business and editorial sections are currently managed by one president, and during a period of The Dartmouth’s history, the paper moved from having both an editor-in-chief and a publisher to having a president who led both sections of the paper.

The Dartmouth re-divided the position of president in 2006, following conversations between Kevin Garland ’07 and Dax Tejera ’07 about the benefits of an editor-in-chief and publisher managing distinct sections.

“We were aware that the idea of one person running an independent business and going through the process of editing the daily paper was a huge job, and we knew that there was a different way of doing it,” said Tejera, who is also a member of The Dartmouth’s Board of Proprietors. “With two people running the two elements of the organization — the editorial section and the business section — you can have much more success.”

As acting publisher, Benjamin said he is working to keep his editorial and his business responsibilities separate. While the editor-in-chief focuses on the paper’s content, the publisher is concerned with the paper’s finances. As a result, the two roles do not frequently overlap, he said.

The newspaper’s two executive editors will continue to read all stories from the editorial section and provide an independent perspective without any relation to the newspaper’s business section.

“I don’t intend for [the acting publisher position] to affect my role [as editor-in-chief] at all,” Benjamin said. “The concerns that are going to be coming up editorially are the same as what we’ve always faced, and I’m going to work to make sure that we’re publishing independent content.”

Benjamin said that he is currently seeking a full-time replacement for publisher and is planning to reach out to potential candidates in both the editorial and the business sections of The Dartmouth. He and Tejera both agree that it is in the paper’s best interest for the roles of editor-in-chief and publisher to remain separate.

“Papers like The New York Times and The Washington Post go back to this model, and I am of the belief that it is good for [The Dartmouth] to follow in the footsteps of storied newspapers because there’s a proven track record,” Tejera said. “We continue to believe in that structure, and this is a brief moment where [The Dartmouth] is going to consolidate the roles, but that won’t last long.”

Guo declined to comment.