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Student Journalist Spotlight

The Student Journalist Spotlight is an occasional Q&A with the most influential, innovative, and outstanding college media superstars making a difference in print, online, and on air worldwide. To nominate a student for a spotlight, e-mail Dan.


Windsor Hanger, Harvard University, publisher & president, Her Campus

(In the spotlight September 2009)

Windsor Hanger recently endured one of the longest hours of her life.  On the night before last week’s launch of Her Campus, a new online magazine for college women co-founded by Hanger and three Harvard University classmates, an unexpected error message appeared on the home page.

As Hanger recalls, it took staffers roughly 60 minutes to restore the site to launch-worthy status. “We were all frantic,” said Hanger, 20, a Harvard senior who serves as Her Campus Media LLC president and publisher and plans to work for the magazine after graduation. “The stress level continued to escalate until we finally got it fixed. When we finally got the error taken care of, we all jumped up and cheered.”


A similar excitement has greeted the arrival of Her Campus, a student-produced “hub for everything college women need to know” that its founders wittily dub “the collegiette‘s guide to life.” From a journalism perspective, the most groundbreaking aspect of the magazine is not its focused gender but its medium of presentation.  As a Boston Globefeature noted, “Running the company solely on the Web is not only more cost-efficient than a traditional print magazine, but also easier to update, more environmentally friendly and more appealing to their readers who are [according to Hanger] ‘on their laptops all of the time.'”

For her astounding professionalism in helping jumpstart a site that women (and men) can be proud to make a part of their campuses, Hanger is a worthy recipient of CMB’s first Student Journalist Spotlight. Please note: The previous sentence was not written in error. 🙂

Windsor Hanger, Co-Founder, Publisher & President, Her Campus Media LLC.

Windsor Hanger, Co-Founder, Publisher & President, Her Campus Media LLC.

Write a six-word memoir of your experience creating Her Campus so far.

Her Campus: exciting, exhausting, incredibly fulfilling.

What first sparked your personal passion for journalism?

My work with Freeze College Magazine, Harvard’s fashion and lifestyle magazine, was absolutely where my passion for journalism was sparked.  I really enjoy the creative process.  In addition, as journalists, people will open up to us, which lets us tell stories that wouldn’t otherwise be heard.  For Freeze, I was able to interview Alexis Maybank, one of the founders of Gilt Groupe, as well as Miss America 2008, Kirsten Haglund.  Both experiences were phenomenal.

Describe the moment of Her Campus creation.

It was the summer of 2008.  Stephanie Kaplan, a dear friend of mine and the current Freeze editor-in-chief, and I were talking on the phone about how much fun we had working on Freeze.  We realized that we both had been thinking about how amazing it would be to be able to devote all of our time to an online magazine.  We had both been independently thinking the exact same thing and when we shared our thoughts with each other, we realized that this was something we absolutely had to pursue.

What has been the toughest part of the experience?

Balancing the workload of being a full time student while starting and running an online magazine has been exhausting for me and my two co-founders, Stephanie Kaplan and Annie Wang.  [The Crimson also mentions a fourth Harvard student involved in the magazine’s launch.]  We spend an incredible amount of time in the office working on Her Campus and it’s hard to pry ourselves away to go to class and to the library.  We want to work on Her Campus all the time!  As a senior, I’m also trying to write my Thesis- no easy task while running a business!

Any advice for j-students looking to jumpstart their own publications?

Make sure that you are passionate about the topic of your publication.  It takes a lot of time and energy to start a publication.  If you are not passionate about what you are doing, you will quickly lose focus.

What specific Her Campus features do you envision being audience hits?

One of the things that makes Her Campus special is our My Campus section.  We are expanding to different colleges across the country, setting up “My Campus branches” where students can find individualized content written specifically about things going on at their school.  With the My Campus branch model, we’re going to make it possible for almost any school across the country to have their own fashion and lifestyle magazine.  We’re actually currently looking for campus correspondents interested in starting branches at their schools.  People can apply here:

In the current media landscape, why does Her Campus matter?

With our targeted, individualized content, Her Campus is setting an example for the future of online magazines. We hope to perfect the online magazine and help magazine journalism make a smooth transition to the digital world.

You wake up in ten years. Where are you and what are you doing?

In ten years, I am the president of a digital media conglomerate which owns a set of online properties targeted at women of all ages.


During the past academic year, Dan Reimold posted a number of “Student Journalist Spotlights” on his previous blog College Media Matters.  Click here to read the best posts.


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