WHY PRINT A MAGAZINE? I’ve been asking myself that a lot lately. In the digital age, it seems to be a constant question.
For Garnet & Black, a publication whose print readership has been on a steady decline over the last few years, it’s an especially valid question. Our funding is mostly from the student activity fee, which means we exist mostly for you, the students. But how involved have we actually been in the Carolina experience? Have we been a staple of your experience? Has our work and mission - all the money, energy, and time - been worthy to the students?
Honestly, I’m not sure that it has. From the beginning of the last spring semester, the G&B editorial staff discussed our purpose with Garnet Media Group's professional staff advisors. Is the content we’re putting out serving a group bigger than ourselves? Is our content truly representative of our campus, offering something for everyone? We came to accept that it wasn't, and because of that our audience was decreasing with every edition we put on racks. When I hired my team of mostly new editors, I was a little embarrassed to share with them this realization, but it also came with a great sense of humility.
With this change in direction came a new focus on empathy. How can we connect our campus? What can we do to bring students from different backgrounds together to make a more understanding and safe environment for the marginalized and oppressed groups at UofSC? At the same time, how can we inspire students who still have more history to learn to pick up our magazine and actually read those stories? We knew we would have to give everyone a reason to pick up our magazine. This year, we’ve been working to make that a reality. With that change in direction, we had one final conversation to have: revisiting our purpose on campus.
Our mission is unlike our partners within Garnet Media Group. We may indirectly hope to inspire, educate, and inform our community, but our main desire is to impassion the creativity and empathy on this campus. As a magazine, we have a unique opportunity to create, report, and educate all in one. Our stories will always change, but I hope our newfound purpose will stay for a while.
That purpose is this: to provide new and unique information and perspectives to members of the USC community, while putting the perspectives and voices of underserved and underrepresented communities at our forefront. G&B serves not only as an institution to question the status-quo, but act as a hub for artists and creative minds at USC where beginning writers, artists, and various young professionals have the chance to be published.
So, all that to answer, why do we print a magazine?
We print a magazine because in a digital age, it’s different. You can run your fingers along the ink and feel the emotion in our writer’s words. You can see our photos under the shade of a big tree, or the umbrella on a beach, or in the dead zone of the mountains, and never struggle with a glare or wi-fi connection. You can pull out our magazine anywhere on the road, on a plane, or in the middle of a lake and give your eyes a rest. We print a magazine so our design ties together the emotions on the page to let you empathize with us. We print a magazine because we want to provide a platform for student’s work. To showcase the talent, passion, vision, growth, and empathy budding on our campus everyday.
We print a magazine because it’s what we believe in. We hope you believe in it just as much as we do.
You can find our magazine on racks around UofSC and Columbia tomorrow.