By Robin Gericke, Staff Writer
Upperclassmen may remember The Squeeze, a magazine that Asbury’s magazine production class published at the end of each semester. This year, the class is publishing a different type of publication. Instead of focusing on just the campus population, they are broadening their audience. The class is publishing a magazine for Jessamine County that focuses on things to do and places to go in the county.
The magazine, Explore Jessamine, will include reviews of Jessamine County restaurants, a county history timeline, ideas of things to do on the weekends, a map of little towns in the county, a section called ‘What I love about Jessamine County,’ and an article about American Pharaoh, who was raised in Jessamine County.
“One of the great joys of this magazine is the variety of articles that fit within the format,” said Professor Brad Johnson, Asbury’s Marketing and Communications director, who taught the class as an adjunct professor. “The students picked the topics and created a really nice, interesting flow for the magazine. Though college students will enjoy the publication, the audience is so much larger than that. Single 20-somethings, grandparents, soccer moms and sports-addicted dads all have content that will connect with them.” The magazine will be distributed by the Jessamine County Chamber of Commerce.
“The most exciting part of this is that this is the first time Asbury has ever done this,” said junior Sarah Anthony. Anthony serves as an art director for Explore Jessamine. “We’ve never made a magazine for Jessamine County so we’ll be making an impact outside of our usual community. People will be able to see the labors of our hard work and enjoy them for ages to come.”
Johnson said the switch from a magazine designed for college students to a tourist-style magazine is stretching students’ comfort zones.
“The opportunities to learn are so much more broad and ‘real world’ when students research something that isn’t already familiar to them,” said Johnson. “Obtaining photography or setting up photo shoots and interviews is a far greater challenge when it’s with a stranger and not someone down the hall. This class responded immediately to challenge versus comfort, which was very impressive.”
“We’ve never made a magazine for Jessamine County so we’ll be making an impact outside of our usual community.”
The students expressed that the class doesn’t just teach about magazine publishing; it gives them real world experience that makes them competitive in the job market.
“This class has experienced the realities of magazine production. They’ve learned, observed and produced in a way that would serve them well if the opportunity to work at a magazine publisher arose in their future,” said Johnson. “They would enter the magazine publishing workforce with more than some class samples and stories about their own school. They would enter the workforce having literally published a magazine relevant to an entire community.”
Junior Lael Shields, who serves as a designer of Explore Jessamine, explained the process and how every student has a role: The writers’ stories are edited by the editors, and then the stories are given to the designers. The designers work with the writers and photographers to create a layout. There are two art directors who then make sure all the layouts have a consistent style.
“There’s a lot more to it than I ever thought. I didn’t realize any of that ‘chain-of-command’ kind of thing,” said Shields. “I didn’t realize how much uniformity there has to be in a magazine. You know that all the spreads are a little different and vary with each story, but it really has to stay pretty much the same appearance.”
Learning more about the county has also made an impact on Shields. “It makes me really glad to be a part of this county. However briefly I am here, I feel less like I’m just passing through it. I feel like I appreciate more of its history. I feel like a local where I can say ‘Oh yeah, I know this eatery you should go to!’”
Explore Jessamine will be available in early December at the Jessamine County Chamber of Commerce, businesses in Jessamine County and on campus.