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After Summer Restructuring, Counterpoint Is Back

By Jennifer Lane
Associate News Editor

After a summer of foundational reorganization, the MIT-Wellesley journal Counterpoint has returned to campus with a vow to publish monthly on "issues important to MIT," said Counterpoint Publisher Richard Y. Lee '97.

The five-year-old journal nearly folded this summer when three of its staffers graduated and one resigned, said Counterpoint Editor Han Y. Huang G. The journal has changed both is format, focus, and publication frequency.

These changes alienated several staff members, Huang said, but most are excited and looking forward to this year.

One such change this fall will be in advertising, Lee said. This is the first year that Counterpoint will sell significant advertising space, he said. Counterpoint sold relatively few ads in previous years, when it managed to stay solvent by publishing small and infrequent issues, Lee said.

Counterpoint has already published two issues this fall, up from a total of only three for all of last term.

The journal started off the year with an issue featuring a frank review of fraternities, written by Jason P. Davis '98. While the article didn't receive any formal negative responses and enjoyed many positive ones, copies were found thrown in trash cans in the Infinite Corridor and the Student Center shortly after distribution ["Counterpoint Issues Trashed; Contained Fraternity Review," Aug. 26].

The current issue features, among other articles, a story about the Playboy "Women of the Ivy League" pictorial and a memorial piece to Professor Emeritus of Physics George Bekefi, who died in August.

Journal to offer forum for debate

Counterpoint's motto this year is "to state the truth effectively," said Huang. The journal will deal primarily in investigative journalism, he said, in an effort to counteract a mentality common at MIT "that we are here to accept, and not question."

In so doing, Counterpoint aims to end the "lack of in-depth journalism related to MIT," Lee said. He said that no student publications currently offer any investigative journalism.

Among these issues is students' lack of self-esteem, Lee said. Last year's senior survey had indicated this was a problem, he said. "There are a lot of professors at MIT that want to shoot down students. We want to figure out if it is necessary to subject students to that torture," Lee said.

"MIT seems to be a place with no purpose," Lee said. Counterpoint would like to see whether MIT is interested in creating leaders among its student body, "or if it is happy churning out tools for companies."

In addition, Counterpoint hopes to have a unique readership, and a high subscription rate, Lee said. Future issues will be mailed to parents, alumni, and even new freshmen in the fall.

"We want to hear reactions from people. We have nothing to hide,"Lee said.

Practical matters need attention

Counterpoint will need roughly $16,000 this year to cover printing costs, Lee said. MIT has pledged to give Counterpoint $250 this year; Wellesley's contribution has yet to be determined.

The single biggest problem Counterpoint currently faces is the lack of a secure space, said Huang. The magazine currently shares office space with the Technology Community Association, and does not have its own phone line or computers.

"All our work is currently being done in our rooms or on Athena," said Huang, who presented a loose-leaf binder that he said functions as Counterpoint's travelling office.

"Basically, we're homeless," Lee said, "like a travelling vagabond of a magazine."