Kushagra Kar: Editor-in-Chief


Photo courtesy of Ananya Gupta, OC ’20

Kushagra Kar celebrates sending his last issue of the Review to print.

College fourth-year Kushagra Kar has worked at the Review for the entirety of his Oberlin career, as a Production Editor, Layout Editor, Opinions Editor, and then Editor- in-Chief. At the Review, his coverage has focused largely on the Gibson’s Bakery lawsuit and on administrative changes at the College. Outside of the Review, Kar is an English and History major. After Oberlin, Kar hopes to pursue a career in journalism.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Why did you start working at the Review?

When I was applying to Oberlin, I first heard about The Grape and was looking for jobs there. On the class of 2023 Facebook page, I saw a posting there about a production editor job with the Review. I was like, “That looks cool — I don’t know anything about copy editing, I’m gonna apply to this.”

How has working at the Review changed your experience and perspective as an Oberlin student?

I was an Opinions Editor for a year, then I served as Editor- in-Chief for two years. If there’s been something bad to say about Oberlin, it has been said to me. Every day for the last four years, I’ve thought about the problems with this place. It can feel really hopeless. I was a tour guide, and one of the reasons I said I couldn’t do the job anymore was because when someone asked me a question about Oberlin, my job was to say, “Here’s the good stuff,” which is true, but my answers would always lean toward, “But also, Oberlin is not a diverse school, and in more than enough moments, you’re going to find yourself being alienated or feeling alone.” There’s also the side of things which have humanized the space for me, because as a reporter, I’ve had to talk to basically anyone and everyone who has ever had anything to do with this institution. I think that for all of my understanding of the ways in which I disagree with their decisions — and God knows I disagree with the various leadership of this institution — I understood where they were coming from.

What would you say are the biggest challenges you’ve faced working at the Review?

I’ll start this framing as a personal challenge. We don’t get paid very well, which means that not only is your day-to-day tougher, but also the amount of work that each of us are putting into this is significantly more than we are paid for. As Opinions Editor, I was working a 25-hour week; as EIC, I worked 40 hours every week for two years. I think that becomes really disheartening and makes it difficult to justify to myself why I am doing this job. I think my second challenge as Editor-In-Chief is trying to push my team and feeling anger when something isn’t the way that I wanted it to be, and having to come to terms with the fact that we are doing the best we can given that our circumstances are not ideal. I think it was simultaneously learning how to work better with my team, but also learning how to better work myself and reorient. It’s constantly been that back-and-forth in myself, of what I am setting as my expectations and how much I can commit to get to that point.

If you could change one thing at Oberlin, what would it be?

I would make it so that people ask themselves why they’re doing what they’re doing more often. For instance, when faculty were protesting not having sufficient pay in the spring of 2022, I was upset that students were in that space talking about student pay because while both need to be addressed, they’re tied to different issues. Student pay could definitely be better, it could always be better, but the reasons for our problems are not tied. So I was upset that people were like, “Hey, it’s all pay. Let’s take over this faculty protest and make it about students.” Yes, it’s important to ask that, but why are you asking that now? I would just make sure that every time someone was about to do something, a little voice in their head went, “Why am I doing this?”

What is your favorite Review memory?

In March of 2020, the Review didn’t know what was going to happen. We knew that we’d have to keep reporting, but we didnʼt know if we’d be able to keep producing a paper. Instead of having an end-of-spring-semester farewell for seniors, we had it in March. That night ended up being one of the last times that we, in my first year at the Review, were all together. We had a really great time in the office, and then we all went to Nathan [Carpenter, OC ’20]’s house and sat on his patio for several hours. Then we went to Catrina’s, the last time I went, since it’s shut down. We just goofed around. It was the last time I saw a lot of these people. It’s a bittersweet memory, but it’s also one of my favorite moments because I felt part of something, and that’s when I knew that I’d stick it out with the Review.

Who at Oberlin do you want to thank?

I want to start with former Production Manager Devyn Malouf, OC ’20, for hiring me at the Review and for being incredibly supportive and just a great friend. Nathan and Katherine [MacPhail, OC ’21] as my first two Editors-in-Chief. They’ve both been an incredible part of my life; they’re both very good friends and they continue to provide me with advice and counsel. Kate Fishman, OC ’21, who was Managing Editor and was a pretty big supporter of my time as Opinions Editor. I didn’t get to know Anisa [Curry Vietze, OC ’22] well enough until I started being EIC with her. We fought a lot early on, but we figured out how to communicate with each other, and working with her and becoming friends has been among my greatest privileges. My friendship with Former Managing Editor Gigi [Ewing, OC ’22], who joined production with me at the same time, and we ran the paper for a year together, has honestly been one of my favorite friendships of all time. Emma [Benardete] and Nikki [Keating] have been incredible co-editors this past year. I want to thank the staff that I worked with. I want to highlight the fourth-years who have been such an incredible part of the newspaper. It’s been an honor to work with you. I’ve saved the best for last: Ananya Gupta, OC ’20 and former Managing Editor. There has been no better mentor I could have asked for. There is no one person I’m more grateful for and grateful to than Ananya.