The Circle Voice

Groton Alumnus Named Crimson President

A. Banks '16

A. Banks '16

A. Banks '16

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Former Circle Voice Editor-in-Chief Derek Xiao ‘15 has been named next year’s President of The Harvard Crimson, Harvard University’s daily student newspaper.


To Derek, The Circle Voice and The Crimson have very similar missions: “to hold the powerful accountable, giving a voice to those that otherwise would not have one—that’s really what newspapers are for.”  (Although, he notes, The Crimson’s organization is much stricter than that of The Circle Voice.) With three hundred to four hundred staff members, The Harvard Crimson operates on a much larger scale than The Circle Voice, which has roughly forty staff members.


Derek’s introduction to journalism came in Third Form. Like many novice writers, he was charmed by the leadership of older students: “I remember sitting in on the first CV meeting. It was Matt Clarida [‘12] who was the Editor-in-Chief at the time, and just hearing him talk about the purpose of the newspaper I knew that it was something that I wanted to be a part of.”


Throughout his Groton career, Derek worked his way up in The Circle Voice – he served in varying capacities as a staff writer, assistant sports editor, and was eventually named Editor-in-Chief for his sixth form year. Watching JJ Kim ’14 and Elizabeth Salisbury ’14 as Editors-in-Chief during his fifth form year, Derek says he got a feel for which aspects of The Circle Voice he wanted to change.


Appointed the sole Editor-in-Chief of the paper in his sixth form year, Derek recalled his “really ridiculously long mission for The Circle Voice when [he] was Editor-in-Chief”. Indeed, Derek made his mission clear: to provide a quality newspaper that would engage and inform the Groton community. As an Editor-in-Chief, he spent many hours editing and discussing articles with peers. “I used to run back and forth from the old CV office in the basement of Brooks House and my room in Viacava’s,” he says. Often, he would run down to edit the paper and go right back up to make a call – there is no cell reception in the old Circle Voice room.


Upon graduating from Groton, Derek continued to pursue his passion for journalism—he has written for The Harvard Crimson since his first year at Harvard. In the classroom, though, he concentrates jointly in Government and Economics. Derek’s experience at Groton enabled him to discover his talent and exercise his leadership. As a freshman, Derek contributed to The Harvard Crimson by writing as a staff writer. Afterwards, Derek extended himself to cover different campus groups, and was responsible for the roughly 400 clubs and organizations on campus. In this role, Derek wrote about a variety of topics. He especially remembers covering the Republican and Democrat clubs during the election. He also covered social issues, particularly the struggle Harvard had with single-gender theatrical and a cappella groups.  He says the issues with these groups dealt with “providing social opportunities—making sure opportunities are available to everyone”.


The election to the Crimson presidency is a long six-week process. Those who want to be considered go through interviews with members of each of the ten boards comprising the Crimson – Derek says he had 37 interviews in one week . Selected candidates then go through a final interview, and the new president is appointed. “The election this year was fairly competitive,” Derek says. “There were several very qualified candidates who could have also been elected, but I’m very happy that in the end I was the one who was chosen”.

Derek ultimately hopes that his tenure as President of The Crimson will inspire change. “There are moments where you see evidently the power of journalism –– your work can change the debate and the environment of the community’s issues [that] students, faculty, and alumni care about.”

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