Learning by doing: Students launch magazines
When students enrolled in JMS 441 (Magazine and Feature Writing), a course not offered since before the pandemic, they were not entirely sure what to expect. By the end of the semester, they successfully took a magazine from ideation to execution with the launch of two magazines: AMOR, a publication focused on contemporary arts at SDSU, and Backstory, which tells the stories of the people and places of San Diego. For the AMOR team, it was a concept that naturally emerged.
“When we were brainstorming ideas,” explained journalism major Serena Neumeyer, “we quickly realized that we all shared a common theme in the feature stories we wrote – they were about students pursuing their passions. Art comes from that passion and what our magazine is trying to do is show how passion drives different art forms like music, pottery, photography, fashion and even journalism.”
David Coddon, the professor of JMS 441, guided the students throughout the process while allowing them to make key decisions. This approach ensured that the final product authentically represented the group's vision. Journalism student Madison Geering, who was the editor-in-chief of Backstory, appreciated Coddon's approach.
"Professor Coddon has been one of my favorite instructors at SDSU. The creative freedom he gave us and the collaborative nature of the course made it a class I looked forward to every week."
Jazlyn Dieguez, the editor-in-chief of AMOR, gained valuable insights into leading a diverse group.
“Something I have taken away is the importance of adaptability in editorial decision-making, especially when dealing with tight deadlines. I made sure to find a balance between various perspectives while staying true to the identity of AMOR."
Reflecting on the experience, Dieguez is proud of the outcome.
“Although the process was time-consuming,” Dieguez commented, “it has been very rewarding to see our magazine come to life.”
Geering was also happy with her fellow classmates.
"I’m most proud of the connections I made with my team. Everyone I worked with is so talented and each of them have important things to say."
The students are exploring ways to keep their passion projects going with new issues in the spring.