Student Literary Magazines Face and Embrace the Digital Reality
Dr. Curtis Gruenler
When I was hired for the position of co-editor for OPUS, Hope College’s bi-annual student literary magazine, I began to consider how I could work to further the mission of this print publication: to represent the creative work of the student body. I sensed the need to somehow reinvigorate the periodical and catalyze its evolution into a medium that can aptly reflect the range of skills and interests of today’s Hope students. By asking questions like, “What is the purpose of a print or digital literary magazine?” “How can a digital format best meet the objectives of a literary magazine?” and “What would the process of transitioning from print to digital publication look like?” the possibilities became more clear. OPUS could benefit from the opportunities offered by digital literary magazines, which are able to showcase new kinds of creative expression such as multimedia projects, projects including animation, and audio and video creations. Online access also increases a publication’s capacity to disseminate every type of student work, deepening the impact of being published in a private school’s literary magazine. This project follows my search for answers to the aforementioned questions. I have conducted scholarly research on the various components and aims of the digital literary magazine as a genre and have sought to extract what supports their survival and success. Additionally, I investigated other digital literary magazines, both undergraduate and professional, to look for possible models and potential obstacles. This knowledge, derived from a combination of theoretical research and analysis of existing publications, can be applied to other aspiring literary journals. The culmination of my project is the creation of a specific, practical plan to digitize OPUS, which I hope to enact in the future. This transformation could serve to bring OPUS to the forefront of the digital literary world.
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