Starting the Presses for Conservative Student Journalists

  • Public-Policy Reform
  • 1980

In 1980, Irving Kristol encouraged donors to support a new conservative student publication at the University of Chicago. Before long, the John M. Olin Foundation and other donors were building the Collegiate Network, a consortium of conservative and libertarian student publications that voiced an alternative to conventional wisdom on campus and trained a generation of writers and editors. Since 1995 the Collegiate Network has been administered by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

Thanks to donor support that paid for printing costs, most of the country’s top colleges and universities had a conservative student publication by the 1990s. Many prominent writers emerged from these publications, including Pulitzer-winner Joseph Rago (Dartmouth Review), ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl (Vassar Spectator), New York Times columnist Ross Douthat (Harvard Salient), commentator Ann Coulter (Cornell Review), National Review editor Rich Lowry (Virginia Advocate), blogger Michelle Malkin (Oberlin Forum), author and Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel (Stanford Review), author Dinesh D’Souza and radio host Laura Ingraham (both Dartmouth Review), and many others. “If everything we have done since was stripped away, leaving only the Collegiate Network as our legacy,” said longtime Olin Foundation head James Piereson in 2004, “we would still proudly say our work yielded enormous success.”