With the ocean to the left, the mountains to the right, and plenty of flowing rivers and lush forests in between, the University of Oregon provides the perfect base from which to explore breathtaking new places. Seeing the need for an outdoor publication to highlight the natural beauty of the area, School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) student Kyle Hentschel created O2, a quarterly adventure and travel magazine.
O2, short for Oregon Outdoor, is run by a small but talented group of UO students that includes journalism major Hentschel as editor-in-chief, a photo editor, two designers, two business strategists and a social media coordinator. O2 produces travel and adventure features, business Q&As and personal profiles of people who are involved in the outdoor industry.
Although the print magazine is mostly Oregon focused, O2 provides content from many areas around the Pacific Northwest.
“The O2 team is all from here, so the stories are rooted here, but our photo gallery has content from Oregon, Washington, Canada and sometimes California,” said Hentschel. “We always include an international section and a Pacific Northwest section.”
The inspiration behind O2 came in part from something an SOJC faculty member said during one of Hentschel’s classes. He recalls the professor saying, “Figure out what you lose all your time doing, and then try and find a way to use that for your career in journalism.” This powerful idea became the driving force behind O2 magazine.
Hentschel also felt that because the UO is known for its adventurous student body, it needed a publication to represent the outdoor interest and community — and that was a sentiment the entire O2 team could get behind. “Right now on campus there is the same form of magazine that focuses on arts and culture. There wasn’t really an outdoor magazine,” says public relations major and O2 Social Media Coordinator Megan Ganim. “Since there’s not really a travel magazine in the state of Oregon either, there is a lot of potential for O2 to grow.”
A successful Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $5,000, got the magazine off the ground and helped the O2 team turn their vision into a reality.
O2’s staff, which has published two issues so far, has been working hard to produce high-quality stories and images. Upcoming stories for the spring issue include a business feature offering readers a closer look into the local food community and food distribution industry.
O2 isn’t fully integrated online yet, but the team hopes to make all content available digitally soon. Copies of the most recent edition of O2 are available around the UO campus and in outdoor retail locations in Eugene, Portland and Bend. For issues three and beyond, O2 hopes to expand to other areas around the state, including Mt. Hood and the Oregon Coast.
“Working on O2 never really feels like work,” said Hentschel. “Our ‘meetings’ are full of laughs and tangential conversations. We flip through magazines, compare notes from the past weekend and revel in collective enthusiasm for what we have created.”
Story by Nicole Rideout ’16