The collaboration of three classes and professional mentors allow students to gain real-world experience and reach beyond the classroom to alumni of the A.Q. Miller School when Update magazne is publshed each semester.
Andy Nelson, R.M. Seaton professional journalism chair, and the journalism and digital media sequence chair, has been involved with Update magazine since 2010, when he taught the class that prooduces the alumni publication for the A.Q. Miller School. Currently, the photojournalism class he teaches serves as the photo staff for the publication.
Nelson said one of the most important aspects of the publication is students seeing how the real world functions.
“It’s always tricky when there is coordination between different classes and people, but that’s how it works in the real world,” Nelson said.
As a 1975 alumnus, Nelson brought priceless experience to the magazine through his students. Nelson said his students are taught to put their best foot forward.
“I always hope that regardless of the publication (students) bring the best quality of their work,” Nelson said. “You have to understand you have to give 100 percent every time you go out.”
Jacinda Dent, editor in chief of the Spring 2014 Update, and junior in journalism and mass communications, was excited to begin the semester with her team, who worked continuously throughout the semester.
“Overall, I hope to make a product that represents our great school as well as we possibly can,” Dent said. “I want to make sure that alumni know how important they are to us. It’s great to be able to make a product surrounding them and their successes.”
Along with the production of the magazine, the magazine and feature writing class creates blogs, writes feature stories and submits a final project to a potential employer.
While the classes primarily work with their instructors and peers, the students develop a mentoring relationship with professionals within the K-State community as well.
Steve Lee, co-owner of S&N Design, brought his experience with alumni publications to Update magazine this semester. Although it is his first time working with Update, Lee said he hopes to bring more creativity to the publication through a design style, which will transition from print to web.
“I think that print is becoming a lost art,” Lee said. “Design transfers from print to web. The essence of design doesn’t change at all.”
Lee said he is eager to help students learn more about publication design. He said if he can help make the publication communicate with alumni successfully, his job has been fulfilled because communication is the key to any publication.
“There are many ways to communicate,” Lee said. “Writing is one of them.”
Lee said Update communicates with alumni through writing and design and his job is to help enhance the communication between the two.
“I’m trying to make communication clearer, the story more compelling and make (readers) come back for more,” Lee said.
Clear communication with the alumni isn’t limited to the print version of Update. For the last three semester, a student in the Web Techniques class helps design the online version of Update.
Although Update has had an online presence since 2008, collaboration with Kelly Furnas’ class beginning with the Sping 2013 issue has helped Update tackle the world of digital media while giving web students an important outlet for their work.
“For the past two semesters we’ve had a student in my class take on Update as a project,” Furnas said. “The final assignment is actually creating, from scratch, a website.”
While some students create personal profiles or take restaurants as clients, in the past year a student from Furnas’ class has taken Update magazine as a client. Prior to 2008, Update was only downloaded in PDF format onto the A.Q. Miller School’s website. Furnas chooses not to give the students too many guidelines on their websitesand allows the students to come to him for technical advice.
“My role is not being the one that says the website needs to look like ‘this,’” Furnas said. “I want to give the students as much freedom and as much empowerment to do their own work.”