Literary Arts Students Gain Hands-On Publishing Experience with Point of Change Magazine Tuesday, June 8, 2021
"It was an awesome experience because we as students were in charge of putting this together, rather than being given instructions on the entire project."
Students in the Department of Literary Arts and Social Justice's Arts Activism and Publishing course gained real-world publishing skills this spring by launching the University's first student-run literary magazine, Point of Change. The online publication of poetry, essays and visual art provides a platform for student artists and writers of various genres to express their creativity and individuality while raising awareness for social issues.
In addition to working in teams to handle each level of the publishing process, students heard from guest speakers throughout the semester, gaining insights from professionals working in the field.
Check out the Q&A below to learn how students benefited from the hands-on experience.
Shannon Hartnett '21
Hometown/High school: Munhall, Pa.; Steel Valley High School
Dream job: An editor for best-selling books. When a reader flips to the acknowledgments section of a book, I want my name to be there.
As part of the editorial and submissions team, we developed the submission and proofreading guidelines, including acceptance letters, publishing agreements and task lists. We made sure that our magazine was inclusive and diverse. I collaborated with Dr. Barrow to make a reading schedule for the class so each submission was carefully considered. I also helped manage the magazine's email account and communicated with contributors.
Each work can relate to another’s experience at Point Park. There are some that speak on race, LGBTQIA+, feminism, mental health, etc. I think many students can relate to at least one, if not more, of these topics. College is a time to explore and find yourself, and some of these experiences become defining moments for students. It is important to read works that you can relate to that help to validate your own experience.
Olivia Penrod '22
Hometown/High school: Pittsburgh, Pa.; North Hills High School
Dream job: Editor at a book publishing house, fashion magazine or owning my own local editing business
As part of the editorial team, I helped proofread within the essay and short story genre. I also helped create content tags for certain pieces.What were your favorite aspects of bringing this project to fruition?
In all honesty, when I first signed up for the class, I didn’t realize we would be creating a full-blown literary magazine pertaining to art activism, but I was so excited when I found out! It was an awesome experience because we as students were in charge of putting this together, rather than being given instructions on the entire project.
What I really loved about working on this was, not only reading various pieces from incredibly talented writers and poets, but also that the creators were given the freedom to openly express themselves through their work. There are so many different writing styles, and one is not superior to the other. We embraced that diversity with this magazine, and I’m so thankful that we didn’t change the tone or original voice of the creator.
Haylee Gilmore '21
Major: English/Creative Writing
Hometown/High school: Trafford, Pa.; Penn Trafford High School
Dream job: Published author
I helped with website design and content management, including writing, critiquing content and uploading photos and submissions.
It’s definitely not easy. I didn’t realize there were so many factors and responsibilities to creating and publishing a magazine. Thanks to this experience, I understand how websites, such as WordPress, operate and how to create something amazing. If I were given the option to do something like Point of Change again, I would do so in a heartbeat.