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Harvard's 148-year-old student newspaper gets its first Latina president

Raquel Coronell Uribe will become the first Latinx president of the Harvard Crimson student newspaper.
Raquel Coronell Uribe
Raquel Coronell Uribe will become the first Latinx president of the Harvard Crimson student newspaper.

Raquel Coronell Uribe, a history and literature major from Miami, will become the Harvard Crimson's first Latinx president in the student newspaper's 148-year history. She takes the helm in January.

"It's a huge honor," Coronell told NPR. "Even if it took 148 years, I'm thrilled that I get to be in the position to be that first person."

Coronell currently covers police accountability as a reporter for the Crimson, where she's written stories about the university's search for a new police chief among other issues. She also serves as a social media manager and edits the newspaper's daily email newsletters.

Journalism runs in her family. Coronell was born in Colombia, but her family was forced to move to the U.S. when she was 6 in response to death threats because her father was an investigative reporter.

In fact, both of her parents are journalists. And growing up around their work sparked her interest in the field.

"The lengths that people were willing to go to hide investigations and hide the truth just highlighted the importance of it so much more for me," Coronell said.

"Especially as I've become more aware of what happened as I've gotten older, it's just made me want to go into journalism even more, because I can't think of something more impactful than providing vital information to the people around you and allowing them to make informed and better decisions," she added.

Chosen as the Crimson's next president following an application process that required an essay and dozens of interviews, Coronell said she hopes her selection leads to more Latinx presidents in the future.

"I'm hoping that opening that door will allow it to stay open," she said. "That's what makes me the most excited."

Coronell , who heads up the Crimson's internal Latinx affinity group, said she wants to make the outlet more inclusive for Hispanic and Latinx students, who are typically underrepresented in student newsrooms. She wants her fellow students to "feel like they can explore this field before they go out into the quote unquote real world and an industry where they are also underrepresented."

She said she also wants to focus on digital innovation at the paper and continue the legacy of the previous presidents of the Crimson, which bills itself as the nation's oldest continuously published daily college newspaper (though other papers might disagree).

"I'm constantly in awe that I get to work with such brilliant people, such brilliant journalists. We're all students so we have a full course load and are dealing with student things but at the same time are very passionate about student journalism, about informing our community," Coronell said. "It's an inspiration to be able to work with them every day, and I'm really grateful that I get to lead us into a new year."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.