Now in its third year as an official student publication, Nueva’s student-run Journal of Literature and the Arts, affectionately known by its staff as “Lit Mag,” is gearing up for its spring issue, which will be published in June.
The staff of the magazine, made up of students in all four grades at the Upper School, has begun the process of publicizing the journal’s open submission period, gathering student writing and visual art for consideration by the curation and copyediting boards.
Editor-in-chief Anika K., a twelfth grader, described how the Lit Mag embodies some of Nueva's most important values, “I think the most important thing about Lit Mag is that it’s student-run. Over the years, we have had to figure out all these things that we never realized about publications. We talk about content with the administration, and we come up with resolutions for any issues that arise.”
When asked about the different facets of the journal, eleventh grader Audrey C., a member of the curation board, also reflected on the student-centered focus, responding, “It’s made by the students for the students; we’re shaping the narrative told by what is represented in the magazine.”
The importance of the Lit Mag is not only the empowerment involved in the process of editing and publishing the final product, but also in the opportunities it offers to the entire Nueva student body. Students can submit work they’ve created in classes or outside of school. “Lit Mag represents all different skill levels, all different mediums. We represent a diverse group of students who have a diverse group of passions and talents and skills," said twelfth grader and publicity editor Ashley R.
In addition to the experience of hands-on, project-based learning offered by the magazine, the Lit Mag also offers students design-thinking opportunities, specifically in the iteration of the journal's editorial systems. Through an iterative process of re-envisioning the magazine’s editorial structure, the masthead has evolved this year to include an editor-in-chief, a managing editor, and four additional editors who oversee individual boards: design, curation, publicity, and copyediting. The staff also works with a faculty advisor, English teacher Lily Brown, who consults with students and attends editorial meetings.
As Anika said, “At many other publications, the editor-in-chief is literally the one who does everything, but we have a leadership group so we’re not a dictatorship.… We all get to make our own decisions and delegate to our own board members. It’s more of a teamwork thing.”
The staff is carefully considering how to have a flexible editorial process while also avoiding reinventing the magazine’s processes every year for future editorial teams. For the moment, though, the magazine’s staff is focused on creating this year’s product, which they hope will again showcase the breadth and depth of the artistic work created by Nueva’s students.
“I tend to be more literary than artistic," said assistant curation editor and eleventh grader Cameron C., "So I think it’s really great to have a nice forum for as many peoples’ thoughts as we can include in the magazine. Oftentimes, creative writing is so personal, and without the Lit Mag you definitely wouldn’t get to read this much work, or at least see it presented in this aesthetically pleasing way."
In discussing what’s most rewarding about working on the magazine, Anika and Ashley circled back to one of their main takeaways about the process of producing and publishing the journal — how it gives students a forum through which to both share their diverse creative works and learn more about their peers.
Anika spoke to the reactions she has heard from her classmates. “When the magazine comes out at the end of year, people say ‘This is what my peers came up with? I had no idea this person is actually doing all this creative writing, that this person is a playwright, that this person is a super-talented drawer.’ People who don’t traditionally see their work published in a more public way — people who may have just started taking an art or sculpture class — can see their work in the Lit Mag and…”
Ashley chimed in, “It’s empowering.”
“Yeah,” Anika agreed, “it is super cool.”
By Lily Brown, Upper School English Teacher/Advisor
February 7, 2018