Since 1891:

a website for friends and alumni of The Brown Daily Herald


Herald launches new web site for friends and alumni: Since 1891

Greetings, Anne A Wootton!

I'm Anne Wootton '08.5, a former metro and senior editor, and The Herald's first Alumni Relations Director.  It's an exciting year at The Brown Daily Herald, and no matter the years or miles that may separate you from College Hill, we want you to be a part of it.

I'm writing specifically to announce the launch of our brand new website for friends and alumni of The Brown Daily Herald, Since 1891 ( At Since 1891, anyone can learn more about Herald projects, and Herald alums can access a private network, post on communal message boards, and register for an alumni e-newsletter and Herald updates. 

Since 1891 is designed to provide you with  networking opportunities and ways to get involved with The Herald again. For example, several alums are mentoring Herald staffers.  Others are planning to come to campus for a Sunday seminar series. Some have made generous donations to our new digitization and financial aid initiatives. We are also planning an exciting Herald reunion event for this year's Commencement Weekend. The number and variety of opportunities for alums to get involved with the Herald will only grow in the coming months, so please get in touch with me if you are interested!

We have ambitious goals planned for The Herald in which we hope all alumni will play a vital role. To that end, one of our major goals is to establish a working alumni network -- because once you've worked for The Herald, you're always a part of The Herald.

At Since 1891, you can read about two major projects in progress: digitization and the financial aid initiative.  Find out if the Heralds you worked on are now available online and learn more about our commitment to keeping the best possible students involved with paper!
Please forward this message to any Herald friends you think might be interested and encourage them to visit the web site and register. And don't hesitate to contact me -- I'm happy to answer any questions you might have or help direct your interest in getting involved with The Herald.
Many thanks and I look forward to seeing you at!

Anne Wootton '08.5

Phone: 401.351.3372 x19

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Visiting The Herald's digital archivists in Cambodia

By Robbie Corey-Boulet '07 (photos by Elena Lesley '04)

It takes 10 minutes via motorbike to get from the office of The Phnom Penh Post, the most recent stop in my journalism career, to the office of the company that produces digital archives of The Brown Daily Herald, where my journalism career began.  

That company is Digital Divide Data, which launched in 2001 as a social enterprise teaching Southeast Asians the ins and outs of digitization and other tasks -- such as data entry and records management -- required by many technology outsourcing companies.    

On a recent Friday, I visited the company's Phnom Penh office with Elena Lesley, who is in Cambodia on a Fulbright and who was The Herald's editor-in-chief in 2003, three years before I assumed the same role.  

The office employs 238 people. During our visit, those assigned to the afternoon shift were busy converting old documents and media publications into digital files and then scouring the files for errors. They sat in rows in the air-conditioned office and stared quietly into their desktop computers. Above them, a sign read, "Vision: To create a better future for disadvantaged people in the developing world."

Many of the company's employees, around 40 percent of whom are female, had finished high school but had no IT training when they were hired, said our guide, Sontheary Sor, an external relations officer. Digital Divide encourages them to pursue higher education. They work for just six hours each day, meaning they have time to attend classes and study, and they are also eligible for the company’s scholarship program. 

In 2007, the company signed a contract with The Herald to work on a pilot project to create a digital archive of the newspaper's entire history, from 1891 forward. Over 15,000 pages have been digitized so far, some of which can already be viewed and searched at the Brown Daily Herald Digital Archive.

Khieu Rotha, 28, the manager of the Herald project, has been with Digital Divide since 2001. Before that, she said, she spent four years working at a garment factory 25 kilometers outside Phnom Penh.  

In her old job, she said, she was getting a paycheck to help support her large family -- she has four brothers and two sisters -- and little else. At Digital Divide, she said, she is getting the skills that can lead to a stable career, one not susceptible to union politics or the fashion preferences of people living half a world away.    

Sor Sontheary said the company follows closely where its employees land after they leave. Human resources staffers guide departing employees through the job application process, helping them to craft CVs and cover letters to market the skills they have acquired.  

Most employees stay at the company for five or so years before moving on to make room for new applicants. This institutionalized turnover, Sor Sontheary said, reflects the fact that Digital Divide was not set up to be a final career destination.  

"Once the employees leave here," he said, "they have a long way to go."

Additional years of The Herald's archives will be digitized as funds are raised. Read more about The Herald's digitization project here.

Update from the newsroom

The 119th editorial board's inaugural issue on January 21 featured appropriately inaugural news, as Herald reporter Sophia Li '11 covered President Obama's historic swearing-in ceremony and the surrounding scene in Washington, DC [article]. Along with the new president came a new flag and redesign for The Herald's print edition, both of which have been well-received by students on campus and alumni alike.

Herald reporters have also brushed elbows with relics of past presidential primaries this semester, as John Edwards [interview] and Howard Dean [interview] both sat down for question-and-answer sessions during their visits to Brown this March. Needless to say, neither politician was very forthcoming about what exactly also-rans do after bowing out of the Beltway scene.

National politicians have been a diversion at Brown this semester, however, as the University grapples with the need to reshape its own policies around new economic realities. After months of speculation on the status of Brown's endowment, President Simmons broke the silence with the prediction of a nearly 30% one-year drop to $2 billion by July 2009 [article].

Since Simmons' announcement, The Herald has been busy covering the revision of long-term plans and the fallout caused by tightened budgets -- including the impending elimination of 60 staff positions by July [article]. After the revelation that the endowment's value was already down to $2.01 billion by the end of 2008, The Herald's reporters have been hard at work reconciling these seemingly incompatible figures and anticipating the lasting effects the recession will have on the community on Brown's campus, in Providence [article] and beyond.

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A successful start for Herald mentoring program

Remember your days at 195 Angell? The Herald continues to attract new generations of students to its office, all getting their first journalistic experience writing about Brown. While Herald student leaders continue to provide new and continuing staffers with advice and support, we have introduced a mentoring program pairing Herald alums with current students to offer advice about life after Brown while keeping alums in touch with what is happening on campus. When you register to join Since 1891, the web site for friends and alumni of The Brown Daily Herald, you can indicate your interest in participating in this program, and feel free to e-mail us at with some details about you: your current field of work, locale, and a short introduction about your interests to match you up.

Below are some stories from Herald staffers and their alumni mentors:

"Speaking with someone who is debating the pros and cons of a career in the field has given me a new perspective on my own experiences as a young reporter and newspaper editor. While I've tried to provide guidance, the truth is the student I mentored has helped me as well. I've found it very valuable to share thoughts and insights about the many changes in journalism with someone who is still able to consider things with a fresh eye. In addition, being an alumni mentor is a great way to keep in touch with what is happening in student journalism and stay in contact with the next generation of reporters and editors." -Gabriella Doob '07, The Shelton Weekly, CT

"My mentor has been a wonderful and consistent source of advice. In addition to being an excellent model of modern journalism -- she runs her own paper entirely -- she remembers the steps she took to get there. I've felt very comfortable asking her questions and her detailed answers have been very helpful." -Alexandra Ulmer '11 

"The Herald mentoring program was a really great way for me to meet other Brown alums with similar interests to myself and to get a greater perspective on how I can use the skills from The Herald in my future. My alum "buddy" gave me a tour of the Boston Globe building and took me out to dinner to talk about her current work as a journalist and her life at Brown (including life outside the Herald -- amazing!). I definitely got the best buddy in the program! This was a great opportunity for me to get life advice while hanging out with a wonderful Brown alum." -Jenna Stark '10

"I really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know a young, enthusiastic Herald writer who shared so many of my interests. It helped me reconnect to The Herald and Brown." -Marcella Bombardieri '99, Boston Globe

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