Signature Course: Electronic Magazine

Catie Graves, Staff Writer

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Students sit at rows of computers, their faces lit by the screen. Some are quickly typing on a Google Doc filled with highlights and comments. Others face screens showing Adobe Programs with multiple tabs open. All are intently working to finish the creation of their electronic magazine.

Electronic Magazine, commonly known as “Ezine”, is a signature course for freshmen where small groups of students create an electronic magazine about a topic of their choice. Along the way, students learn how to use different design programs, such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. They also learn fundamental journalism skills such as interviewing and article writing. Jill Giulietti, one of three Ezine teachers, said the course is beneficial to students because it allows them to meet new people during a year of transition.

“It’s a really good stepping stone for freshmen because it introduces them to each other,” Giulietti said. “When they work in groups, they get to meet each other and know some people that they get to see every day.”

Students are encouraged to try and interview a lot of different people, from hikers to business moguls. Freshman Meera Das, whose magazine was about movies, interviewed Joe Bleakley, the art director for Lord of the Rings. She also interviewed Marcus LaPorte, production designer of Spy Kids.

“It was inspiring to talk to people who had done such amazing things,” Das said.

Freshman Ireland Cole said she also enjoyed being able to interview different people that had a connection to her topic. Getting interviews is one of the first steps of making the magazine, after deciding on their article topic.

“[Interviewing] was a really good experience,” Cole said. “I got to interview a lot of interesting people that I wouldn’t have had a chance to meet.”

Throughout the Ezine cycle, students must meet many deadlines, as getting things turned in on time is critical for the production of the magazine. Freshman Sam Fischer said working on a large long term project was new for him, and it helped him learn how to manage his time.

“There’s lots of different parts to our main Ezine that eventually need to be compiled in the end, so we need to prioritize and decide which ones we are going to work on when,” Fischer said.

Ezine also contains a design element. In addition to writing a feature story, students each make infographic-esque alternative story formats (ASFs) and putting together various page layouts. Das said she enjoyed the chance to be creative.

“Personally, I love creating things and writing articles, so Ezine was a really good class for me,” Das said. “I especially liked using [Adobe] Illustrator to create graphics.”

According to Das, when the magazine is finished, students can look back and see their progress throughout the semester.

“In the end, it was extremely rewarding to see the finished product of the magazine,” Das said. “I loved Ezine.”