Breaking tradition: Crimson Record newspaper transitions to city-wide magazine format


The first issue of The Crimson-Record from 1899.

Nikhil Warrier

The Manual newspaper publication formerly known as the Crimson Record has now transitioned to a long-form magazine format called On The Record.

On the Record’s co-editor-in-chief Erin Woggon (12, J&C) said that last year’s Crimson Record newspaper staff felt that they needed a change in the way they selected stories and formatted the publication.

“We found that the materials we used made our quality of design not look as good as we originally made it on the computer, so we knew that we wanted a format change,” she said. “We were also looking into things that could allow us to broaden our audience and to appeal to more people than just Manual. So we got the idea of doing a youth magazine that’s distributed at Manual but also around Louisville.”

Josh Jean-Marie (12, J&C), On the Record’s other co-editor-in-chief, said that the staff also sought to differentiate itself from existing J&C endeavors.

“We felt like we needed a way to increase our readership and to really put something out new,” he said. “We knew that Manual RedEye and Manual AM were overlapping with the news we were doing, but we were putting it out at a slower pace. With this youth magazine, we want to bring something fresh to Louisville and try to fill a void that we felt wasn’t being fulfilled.”

Jean-Marie said that that the new magazine format will put a far greater emphasis on the publication’s design.

“We are going to have more design-heavy material, a lot more photos, and the magazine itself will be a lot more visually appealing,” he said. “All of our writing is going to be long form feature journalism.”

A prospective increase in readership is not the only predicted positive outcome of the changes to the publication. Liz Palmer (Journalism) believes that since On the Record will be a local youth magazine, it will provide a never before seen long-term medium for Manual. Palmer also hopes that the changes will allow teens in Louisville to express their unique voices.

Manual’s resident print publication was originally founded as The Crimson literary magazine in 1899. The Crimson converted to a newspaper in 1955 due to popular demand, changing its name to The Crimson Record. The addition of ‘record’ came from the now-defunct Louisville Girls School’s newspaper, The Record.

The Crimson Record started publishing in the fall of 1955 and continued into last May, when the staff changed the name to On The Record in an effort to broaden the publication’s audience.

Alumni Director Mike McDaniel said that he believes the changes to the publication will be particularly meaningful to alumni who have known and loved The Crimson Record for decades.

“When I was in school, [The Crimson Record] was very important to me,” Charles Sayre (Class of 1970) said. “It was a lot of news–a lot of people learned about newspapers and how they operated. I did not work on the newspaper, but I had several friends that did, and I was interviewed a couple of times for it.”

Woggon said that the On the Record staff is planning to make a concerted effort to honor the legacy of the Crimson Record.

“We want to honor where we came from, so we ended up coming up with a compromise, and we’re going to write a story about the name change in the alumni newspaper,” she said. “Our first priority is to represent Manual.”

On The Record will begin distributing in mid-December. The publication will be available in local businesses such as Please and Thank You, Heine Brothers and Quills Coffee.