For aspiring writers, it’s one thing to learn how to use correct grammar and punctuation, and another thing entirely to understand the complete process of getting something published. For sophomore Ashley Bower, the opportunity to create content for Outlook magazine gave her and her classmates a peek into the real world of publication editing.
Since 1995, Union College’s Magazine Editing class has created feature content for an issue of Outlook, a publication with circulation to more than 30,000 Seventh-day Adventist homes in the nine states of the Mid-America Union Conference.
“My end goal is to teach at a university or college, so I will probably find myself teaching an editing class,” said Bower, a sophomore English language arts education major. “It was interesting to work in the extra dynamic of creating content for a major publication. I learned tools that a class doesn’t necessarily provide—such as learning to work with different people to bring content together.”
The class, which was started by Chris Blake and has been taken over by new communication professor Lori Peckham, has varied in size over the years as has the number of pages they have to work with. The four students in the fall 2017 Magazine Editing class developed 10 pages of content for the February 2018 issue.
They brainstormed ideas along the theme Outlook had already chosen for the year: Building up the body of Christ. After deciding to focus on “embracing our cultural differences,” the students wrote, edited, checked, and rewrote their own and each other’s work. Outlook editor Brenda Dickerson ’86 provided guidance, goals and deadlines, and held them accountable along the way.
The small class size also made it easier to constructively critique each other’s work. Bower didn’t expect the class to go so deep into the writing process, but was glad the experience of writing for broader audiences motivated them to be even more detailed in their work.
“Once the magazine came out, it felt unreal to see my name in a tagline,” Bower said. “I was published!” The publication also proved exciting for her father, a pastor in North Dakota, who was able to showcase his daughter’s work to church members and friends.
Outlook editors over the years have found their readers appreciate the perspectives of the Union College students in these annual issues. “Each year we look forward to this issue,” wrote Joe, a member in his 70s who responded to a recent Union Magazine Editing class issue. “My wife and I thanked and praised God many times as we read through this edition. Our local and national church need to hear out our young people!”
By Yvonne Kanyi, student writer