Story and video by Aaron Weintraub
The stairway of Allen Hall was crowded with around 20 UO School of Journalism and Communication students, bunched together for a group photo. Small paper hearts dangled just under the steps where the students posed, conveying messages of both worry and hope for the past and coming year. A large white box of yellow and green cupcakes sat half-opened and half-empty on one of the tables in the atrium, signifying the end of a challenging past few months’ worth of reporting and design. A cluster of students formed around a single laptop, as the staff of OR Magazine anxiously waited for the “Resistance Issue” to officially launch to the public.
The latest release of the award-winning, student-run iPad publication was its seventh. OR Magazine became the first campus publication nationally for tablets in 2011. Each issues features stories in writing, video, photographs and interactive graphics centering around a specific theme, and it brought home a prestigious Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown Award for its 2016 Solutions Issue.
This year, the OR Magazine staff chose the theme of “Resistance” to reflect a strong movement in the state and to check in on the wellbeing of Oregon communities six months into one of the most dramatic political shifts in recent memory.
Editor Abby Beach, a graduating senior from the SOJC, credited her entire staff for coming together for the issue. She said leading the staff was not only an incredible learning experience, but also a privilege. She attributes the strength of this issue in particular to its resonance with the students who produced it.
“We chose this topic for this issue because it was important to all of us,” she said.
Associate Professor Nicole Dahmen serves as a faculty advisor for the staff. “The magazine covers critical and timely issues in the state of Oregon, so the publication is relevant for all audiences across the state of Oregon,” Dahmen said. “In addition, many of the stories in the magazine are relevant for national and even international audiences.”
This year’s publication focused on five stories about industries around Oregon — housing, libraries, parks and wildlife, timber and brewing — that have been affected by recent political shifts and how they are dealing with hardships in a broader sense. You can view the stories by downloading the OR Magazine iPad app from iTunes or the EPUB from the publication’s website.
Jason Yun worked as the head designer for the publication. It was the first time he had ever produced content for interactive tablets.
“You really have to consider the user and devise ways to guide them through the publication,” he said. “A lot of the credit goes to our lead developer, Hailey Pratt, who worked hard to ensure that the user’s experience was as seamless as possible.”
Mackenzie Moran was the head photo editor for the “Resistance Issue.” One of the challenges Moran had as editor was deciding which stories and content would make it into the issue, as she developed close relationships with each subject.
“I’ve learned part of what makes our jobs unique is we hold the power to decide what information our audience knows,” she said. “I hope to carry that focus into my career as I move forward, so that I do right by the subjects whose stories I tell, human or nonhuman.”
The Resistance Issue’s relevance to their lives was not lost on the students who worked on it. And though new students will join OR Magazine’s team for the 2017-18 school year, the conflicts covered in the “Resistance Issue” aren’t going away, and neither is the publication’s commitment to reporting on important issues affecting the state of Oregon.
Aaron Weintraub, BA ’17, recently graduated from the SOJC with a bachelor’s in journalism and a minor in Arabic, both of which he hopes to use as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East. This was his first year working as a digital media intern for the SOJC’s Communications Office. In the past, he studied Arabic and Islamic studies in Keble College at Oxford University and at the Qasid Institute in Amman, Jordan, where he worked as an independent feature writer during the summer of 2016. He has also served as a writer and photographer for the UO’s environmental publication, Envision Magazine. You can find Weintraub’s collection of photography, much of which he took while traveling, at aaronweintraubphotos.wordpress.com. When he’s not writing or shooting photos, he enjoys climbing, biking and other activities that occasionally injure him.