This episode of The Podcast by StyleCircle was recorded in early December of 2020.
BELLA: Welcome to The Podcast by StyleCircle. My name is Bella, and I’m here with,
BELLA: …and you’re listening to Episode 4 of The Podcast by StyleCircle.
The land where StyleCircle operates has an important history, present and future that we need to understand and acknowledge. This land is called Turtle Island, and it is originally the home of many Indigenous peoples. It is the unceded traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee, the Wendat and the Mississaugas of the New Credit. We acknowledge and respect these nations as the past, present, and future true inhabitant people of this land. What is today known as Toronto is located in the Dish with One Spoon Territory. The Dish with One Spoon is a treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share the territory and protect the land. We want to recognize that we are sharing this land on which Toronto sits with each other.
BELLA: Hello, hello, hello! I had like, a little RuPaul moment there. I hope that everyone’s doing well and staying safe, um, how are you Sam?
SAM: I’m good! This is my first time on The Podcast.
SAM: So, I’m nervous but excited.
BELLA: That’s good.
SAM: Yeah, thank you for having me!
BELLA: I think we’re going to—yeah, of course! I think we’re going to do great today, because I think like, today’s episode is really exciting for both of us cause like, print is something we both really like and something we both want to pursue in the industry.
BELLA: For me, actually we had a little mini-conversation before recording this, um, it was ever since I watched Devil Wears Prada, I had like, my moment of like, I need to work at a fashion magazine! But you said your moment was a little different.
SAM: I think I just always to the fantasy of working in print.
SAM: Like, it seemed so like, at the top of everything and like, I mean, kind of that whole Devil Wears Prada idea of like, being the people deciding what fashion is—it just sounds exciting and like, so cool!
BELLA: Yeah! Even just the scene of her looking at the different belts and it’s like, “I don’t know, they’re so different!” And like, it’s just, because it is just like little things like that do matter. And from an outside perspective it doesn’t really seem like they do, but they actually matter.
SAM: They really, really do! And, somehow, it all just comes together in print. Which is wild because, I know we’ve both heard the whole idea that print is dead, which is such a struggle to hear when you’re literally studying print, but I don’t know, I guess that’s what we’re kind of unpacking today.
BELLA: Mhm, like, I know that we both heard before coming to Ryerson specifically was that the print industry was dying out and like, we needed to transition more so to digital, and it’s kind of really discouraging when you hear it, especially when you’re, like you’re studying print. But while we were researching this topic, we came across an article by Business of Fashion, and they actually talk about the fact that um, print is actually kind of making a little bit of a comeback, and just readjusting.
SAM: Yeah, I mean the article was talking about how Highsnobiety is publishing their own print magazine, and they were sort of tackling the issue that they’re going into print in a very digital heavy landscape, especially when a lot of their target market is Gen Z, and those are, you know, Gen Z is, they’re digital natives, and so one of the things they’re doing with the publication, which is called HighSTYLE, is they’re actually bringing in a lot of the sort of Instagram formatting, and um, introducing a digital-first mentality to print, which I think is so interesting as we look at like, ways to keep print alive and like, um, keep new audiences engaged in print media.
BELLA: Yeah, for sure! I also liked the comparison that they um, made in the article to like, the generation of CDs versus like, vinyls, like that nostalgic feeling of bringing back, kind of, print, because our generation, like you said, is so native to digital platforms. Like, we are nostalgic for holding that print issue and like, I guess an age before digital was the only thing, so um, I like that little comparison that they did because I definitely think that that’s why Highsnobiety is bringing it back as well, because there is that interest, and there is that like, desire for print, still, just not in the same way.
SAM: Mhm, for sure. And I think that that ties home a lot because so many of us here at Ryerson do get involved with student publications—I mean, we are a student publication.
SAM: And we do, the majority of us all do print issues annually, and—because there’s such a inherent like, connection that you make with your work when it is printed in physical, so I think it’s so important to sort of keep that conversation alive so that we can keep exploring it as a medium.
BELLA: Being a part of StyleCircle it’s actually really cool because you get to see a lot of that print process, and we actually do an annual book launch because it doesn’t make sense, really, for us to do like, a monthly thing like, for example, Vogue does, because the amount of time that goes into a print issue and the necessity for a print issue isn’t like, the same. But that’s just specifically for our—like, just for StyleCircle, and we’re actually going to be talking to other executives from three Ryerson publications, RADMag, The Eyeopener, and the New Wave to learn about how students are providing print and how they’re proving it to continuously be vital in the industry.
SAM: Yeah, so, when we come back from our little intermission, we’re going to be speaking with Rhea from The Eyeopener, uh, to hear a bit more about how production works over there!
BELLA: So, we’re here with Rhea Singh, Rhea, how are you?
RHEA: Pretty good, how are you?
BELLA: I’m doing well. Um, did you want to tell us a little bit about yourself?
RHEA: So, I’m a fourth year journalism student and as of, like, just a couple days ago I was the Arts and Culture Editor for The Eyeopener. So, I won’t be returning next semester, but it was, it was a really good run and I did enjoy it and I’d recommend it to anyone. But yeah, I’m pretty much in journalism, and I’ve been reporting on social activism and arts for the past year or so.
BELLA: Okay, so how did you kind of like, start off? What—kind of like, when did you first get with them and also what was kind of your first position and, I guess your duties and responsibilities?
RHEA: So, I was a volunteer with them in first year and I did this story which was like, I—it was originally supposed to be a story on this one photography student who was doing this really cool project, basically it was kind of like, to defy the program because the program wasn’t super inclusive, but we ended up just like, turning into a piece about, you know, how BIPOC students are represented in the photography program, and it was really interesting because we got to hear from a lot of students. I actually—one of the students who we interviewed is now one of my closest friends, which I really appreciate from the whole story, which is great!
BELLA: Oh, nice!
RHEA: So, and yeah, ever since then, I pretty much reported on news and arts, uh, more so news for my second year, but then around my third year, or sorry, my second year, I decided to run. I didn’t get it the first two times, but the third time, I eventually did get the arts position, and it was, its amazing. Like, the atmosphere at The Eye is super inclusive and its super community based. It’s pretty much a bunch of people that I started my first year with in J-school, and we’re now in our fourth year so it’s like, very bittersweet, and I mean, as an arts and culture editor, you’re pretty much talking about, you know, the art that happens on campus, things that happen on campus in terms of art, but also the cultural aspects of, you know, like, why is this art happening. Like, there’s always political influences, like, whether its intergenerational trauma or mental health, like, there’s so much that’s like, within art that people don’t just paint a picture because they think it’s pretty, there’s like, always a reason, which is really cool and I’ve learnt a lot from that.
SAM: Um, for people who don’t necessarily know what the role of an editor entails, can you walk us through, sort of, what your, I guess, like, basic responsibilities are?
RHEA: Yeah, so, um, like, it’s actually pretty similar in terms of, like, pre-COVID, but, we have, like, less print days. Uh, we do print like, I think, we do print every two weeks and its pretty, its honestly pretty fun, like, its stressful like everything else is stressful, but, um, its, so as an editor, you delegate new volunteers, and you pretty much create this safe space for them to be like, to write stories about, you know, your specific section. So, for Arts and Culture, it would be, like we talked about before, like, stories that delve into art on campus, or certain social justice stories that have to do in relation to art. Like, example, if you were doing a story on, like, Indigenous beadwork and how it was, it’s changed during COVID. So, it’s really cool because in the position, like, you’re very much learning on the spot everything, but I have learnt so much more than I have learnt in my program, which is really cool because it’s like a mini experience of being in a real newsroom, even though it pretty much is a real newsroom.
You’re, you have this, like, schedule of online and print, and online is like, every week, or like, every time that we don’t have print, and then print is every so often just because, you know, there isn’t a lot of people on campus, and pre-COVID, it would’ve been like, print every week, and then occasionally, if you would like, you’d have an online story. But it’s really cool transitioning to online because, like, I pretty much take in all my information from news organizations online, so it’s been pretty accessible to a lot of people, which I mean, COVID is obviously a horrible, horrible thing, but that’s the one thing I’ve learnt through the pandemic is how like, people are so easy to adapt to online super quickly. So, yeah!
SAM: Because The Eyeopener is still publishing print, I mean I see it on like, Instagram stories, like, “Oh, that’s interesting,” um, what is, like, what’s that process like? Like, do you feel people are still, I mean they must be still like, picking up copies and everything, right?
RHEA: I mean, personally, I, I still love the idea that we’re doing print, like it’s, there’s something like, very, like, not nostalgic, but I don’t know if that’s the right word, but it’s very like, tangible, print, so you can actually like, flip through the paper. And I like to like, pretty much like, scribble all over the page and like, basically make comments even if it’s like, “Wow, this is amazing! I love this so much,” but like, I think it terms of like, the whole print process, it’s a way to kind of like, have that pre-COVID environment in terms of, you know, we have print on campus, and even though there aren’t so many people going to be on campus, and its mostly people who either work or are just walking through campus, that’s a little reminder of like, you know, a time that we used to have when it was everywhere, and like, we were all everywhere—pretty much, on campus. So, I think keeping print alive for The Eyeopener was a very good decision because, you know, it’s a very big part of university culture and it still remains there, even in the midst of a pandemic.
BELLA: I think it’s so important, like, especially because we’re surrounded by like, technology all the time, every single day (especially right now), so even seeing the print copies of The Eyeopener if like, I’m walking downtown on campus, it’s just such a like, it’s just a nice like, reminder of kind of what it was pre-COVID, kind of like what you said, and it’s also, it’s nice to have something physical to hold in your hand and to be able to like, flip through it yourself. Um, so yeah, I think that’s like, super cool.
RHEA: Yeah, and even with like, print it’s—sorry, with online, we don’t get that chance to have this like, cover and back to back pages that—we do have it in terms of like, a digital version, but that only comes out when we print, and it’s just so much more like, I don’t know like, we, well, we used to, before I was the Art and Culture editor, me and my friends who are in journalism, we’d collect the papers, and we’d be like, it’d be like, um, just this collection of these different covers, because like, this paper we volunteer for, we work for, like, it’s a very big part of our journalism culture, so we loved having those. So, the idea of like, keeping them on campus, even it’s, you know, once a month, or once every other month, or however long someone wants to do it, it’s still like, it’s nice to see it there, it’s nice to almost be like, “Oh, people still remember that we’re here,” you know, people still remember that, even if we’re not on campus, this university still exists, even though it’s all online.
SAM: Yeah, that makes so much sense. I mean, I know I do the same, I loved like, when we were all on campus, I loved collecting them for the covers and everything because it feels like, almost in a way it feels novelty, but then I know that, from the sort of like, content-creator perspective, when I see my own work published in print, like, it feels very important. Like, there’s so much significance in having it like, published in a physical copy and it almost makes it like, seem more real. I don’t know if you share that experience at all.
RHEA: Yeah like, I remember, uh, the first story I ever like, got on cover, for like, when I was a volunteer, I was so excited. And me and my friends we like, pinned it in like, on the wall of our house—it was like the only decoration that we had in this entire area, it was like the wall was white and we just like, pinned it and it was there and so pretty. But it’s like, nice, and when you become an editor, you want to do the same for your volunteers, you want them to have that like, really heartwarming experience of having their, whether it’s the cover, or just like, on the front page, or the first couple pages or wherever, it’s really nice to see that printed and a lot of the times, it’s also really nice like, to show like, your friends and your family like, “This is what I’ve been doing, this is like, all the hard work I’ve been putting into!” Because volunteers work incredibly hard, like, my section would not run without them at all, like, they’re fantastic. And it’s really important to like, basically be like, thank you for everything that you’ve done, and print is that thank you as well, because you can have that physicality with them.
SAM: Right, yeah absolutely. I mean, like, speaking for StyleCircle, it’s the same exact thing like, we would not run without our contributors like, there would be no content to publish like, we could not possibly develop all of it. Um, and I guess speaking about putting a lot of work into the issues, I know that you were heavily involved with like, the last issue that was published. Do you want to talk about that a little bit?
RHEA: Every year, like, every semester we have three special issues that come out and this year we had the Fun and Satire section, the Biz and Tech and Arts and Communities basically teamed up, well, what’s actually really funny about that—me and the Communities’ editor like, live together in the same house, so it like, worked out like, pretty well, we’re roommates, so we pretty much just like, every time we would be like, “Hey, have you done this? Is it done?” we’d be like, “Yep, we’re on it!” We were on each other a lot which is good because this issue was really important and it was like our issue that talked about social justice and um, movements that are going around in the city, because even though the Eye is very focused on Ryerson issues and Ryerson stories for Ryerson students, it’s really important to note that a lot of these social movements are youth-led, or they affect students in a very big way, like climate change, Indigenous activism, and even like, rent activism—they all play a part in terms of the future of a lot of students, like either whether they’re going to go work in certain sectors that deal with that, or whether that they themselves are going to be affected by those things. So, uh, it was really cool putting it together because it was pretty much every story I’d ever wanted to have in my section, and then we just like, put it together in this one thing, and me and Kiernan kind of had that same mentality, where it was, we’ve always wanted to talk about these stories but, you know, this was our one chance to pretty much cover it all. And it was really bittersweet, again, because I was leaving and it was the last thing that I did, and I was like, “This is so cool, I’m like, really proud of this!” And I like, cried a little, which was really fun but uh, yeah it was great working with Kiernan because he is like, incredibly talented, and he got like, he put in so much effort and like, love into this issue. So yeah, like, I think a lot of times, especially with mainstream media, we don’t really see the coverage of certain social issues that are student led or youth-led because they’re viewed as protests, or they’re viewed as just momentary things, and when they are covered, they’re covered like, once in a while. But like, to talk to the students and to actually like, listen to their perspectives, and like, hear what they had to say was really interesting, and it’s a lot more than just social justice—it’s pretty much something that’s going to affect, like, everyone! So yeah, it was pretty cool, it was fun!
SAM: Oh my gosh, that’s such a good way to like, close off a term!
BELLA: Yeah, it’s your big bang out!
RHEA: Yeah, it was pretty much, I was really like, I didn’t even realize it until my last week and I was like, “Oh, shit! —like—this is the last thing that I’m going to do!” Like, oh my god, this is the last thing that I’m going to do before I like, graduate, and I was like, very happy with it but it’s very sad at the same time. But you know, someone else is going to get the position who’s like, so much more talented, or who is going to do a fantastic job, so I’m really excited to see what the next person is going to be doing as well.
SAM: I feel like that’s such an interesting thing to bring up, like keeping, so—so someone’s going to like, take over your position right, and that’s—and the hope is for every position to be taken over by someone else, so like, do find that there’s a sense of responsibility in terms of like, making sure that that turnover happens and that you’re like, creating um, and environment where like, the publication can like, stay in production so that like—I think of it as, um, at least when we’re trying to develop more resources within like, our publication, is sort of like,, having those things there so that students in the future are able to access them and they’re still able to have this platform to showcase your work, you know?
RHEA: Yeah, no I totally get that. Yeah, there definitely is this, um, this kind of like, unspoken thing when the next editor comes over, it’s like you have—this editor has done this thing, so if you want to continue it, you’re more than welcome to continue it, but the relationship that has been built not just with me, but like, previous editors from like, years and years and years ago with like, equity centers, and when it comes to covering certain BIPOC issues like, you know, when we’re voting someone in, its usually someone who has also worked with The Eye quite a bit, or has volunteered quite a bit, so we’re familiar with their work and like, I really hope, and we do trust that, you know, the next person who comes is going to maintain these relationships and continue to tell those stories, because for a lot of people, the news is not a safe place for them to have conversations about stories that they’re scared to tell, and that it might even put them in a vulnerable position, so even if a student paper can provide that and provide even the complete opposite of that, which is creating a safe space for them and making sure that their story is told as accurately as possible without glamorizing it or like, victimizing certain narratives, like, the next person who comes, you want them to be like, what you wanted to see in the news to change and what you’ve tried to do to change at least, what the narrative of what journalism is, because its storytelling, but you don’t want to make a community isolated and feel uncomfortable.
BELLA: And then I guess, final question, um, we’ve all heard the expression, “Print is dead,” do you agree or disagree?
RHEA: Um, I—before I came to Ryerson, I completely agreed with that, like I was so scared and I picked Journalism knowing that was a thing, and when I got here, print is very much like, not going anywhere, like, there are obviously certain publications that have closed down just in terms of money and in terms of things that have happened because they were legacy papers, but they no longer can afford to be legacy papers, but even if you look at things like The Walrus and Toronto Star, and even like, The New Yorker, people still pick up those papers and people still buy it.
I was talking to my friend about this the other day, because, it’s like records and stuff like that, it’s like, print is very much so vintage, but it’s very much alive today. So—and like, people still buy records and people still play records, and I think it’s very similar in that sense, but also there’s that tangibility of like, having a New Yorker in your hand, or having The Walrus in your hand and reading it, because I know with a lot of journalists as well, there’s this love for having print in your home and having print in your purse or on hand, because like, you can get that same experience online.
BELLA: Alright, well thank you so much for joining us today—it was super education, I learned so much!
RHEA: Yeah, I’m really glad.
SAM: Yeah, it was so nice to get to talk to you about this!
RHEA: Thank you, I really appreciate it, this was a great conversation!
BELLA: Thank you!
So next, we’ll be talking to Alex La who is actually the Art Director at RADMag, after this!
SAM: So, hi everyone, we’re here with Alex La, wo is the art director over at RADMag. Alex, do you want to introduce yourself a little bit?
ALEX: Yeah! Um, so outside of that I am a fourth year graphic communications management student, and outside of RAD and school I am a freelance brand strategist.
SAM: That sounds so exciting—so much going on!
BELLA: Yeah, you sound so busy!
ALEX: It’s weird cause like, everyone’s slowing down, and I’m like, “Oh my god, my plate is amped up!” And I’m—hopefully— this is like, a great position to be in, so I’m totally not complaining that my plate is a bit full.
BELLA: For sure!
SAM: To sort of start us off, how did you get involved with RADMag?
ALEX: Um, it was quite a turn of the tables. In first year of my first month at Ryerson, I didn’t want it, I didn’t want to do it like, it was just like, not appealing. I saw the magazine, I thought, “That’s cool, it’s just not me, not on brand like, not what I want to do, this isn’t like, where I want to be involved with and there’s other things are Ryerson that I could do.” Come the end of my first year and the application came out, I was like, “You know what, let’s do it!” Don’t know why, didn’t know what the urge was, but I applied and I interviewed well, and that turned into something that has also been really rewarding and very propel—has propelled me to doing a lot of different things that I’m so grateful for. But near the end of first year, I kind of transitioned on as assistant and director and I transitioned into becoming the full art director after Issue 9, so now we’re on Issue 13, it’s been a while—I’ve actually been on the team for three years.
SAM: That is a long time spent with a publication! What did you start with if you were starting in like, an art direction role?
ALEX: I started as the Assistant Art Director—that was the title, but it was never formally known as Assistant Art Director, it was just, “You’re the incoming Art Director.” It was always that and I’d felt very comfortable with what I’d been doing, but even onboarding like, I realized my role is so much more, I could be doing so much more. I proposed so much things that are outside of the traditional Art Director role, and had made it become a lot about brand and marketing and partnerships, and even though my main responsibility is Art Director, it’s only like, one third of what I do for RAD.
SAM: I know that part of that did involve a rebrand that you were very heavily involved with—can you talk to us a little bit about that?
ALEX: Yeah! It was something that I pitched in my interview—mind you I was in first year, it was quite ambitious near the end of my first year, um like, it was like, big third year energy, but in first year—it came out of nowhere for me, but it was something that I mentioned that yes, we have such a great platform, we have such great content, but the language isn’t speaking to me, the language isn’t necessarily speaking to any of my friends either, so commonly felt the identity no longer supported the content. So, that kind of kickstarted my deep-dive into looking at typefaces and like, looking at what we’ve done and what we are. So, we have still pulled an element of print—that CMYK—it’s just a little more dialed down. So, part of that was also looking at how we experience RAD, and yes, we are print, but we are also digital, we are also community through our events. I’ve seen people at SoopSoop interact with our magazine, so we’re all these things, and we’re not just a publication, and that was really understanding that kind of insight so that that is communicated in everything we do as not only a student group, but a brand.
SAM: Do you think that like, part of your, um, perspective on that came from your major at all? I know with RADMag it’s a lot of people being drawn from different areas of Ryerson, and we can only really speak from the fashion communications perspective—which doesn’t necessarily lend itself to ideas like that—like you said, big third year energy.
ALEX: Yeah, like, it took a lot of ego like! So, I would say that I did draw a lot from our program, it really did focus on management, but more than anything, I drew from in-person experiences in real life. Little story, I saw the Ace Hill ad in Issue 9 and I was like, “Oh, cool. They’re a cool brand,” and then I proceeded to connect with them. Then near April, I saw a posting, they just general posted an outreach, and they were looking for a designer and I was like, “Hey, hi,”—never met them, never seen them. They responded and actually got back to me by two o’clock the next day like, “Great—we’ll see you next Tuesday!” Haven’t talked to you, have had no prior communication, and here we are: I’m still employed by them.
Seeing and working real time in an industry and seeing that and being exposed to all of that while education is being taught in real time, while working with RAD—they all kind of informed one another, and I think that’s why my views are kind of different than a traditional student.
So, I think, in that way, the brand has extended itself outside of Ryerson.
BELLA: So, as of right now, do you think employers treat print and digital experience different on a resume?
ALEX: Yes, because I have been in the position to hire. To look at resumes—and I’ve looked at a fair share—I’ve been on both ends of interviewing and staffing teams and being interviewed, there’s a lot of different skills that kind of encompasses what you want to do or might want to do, but I think it’s more so they don’t look at them differently perse, but they look at them different in how they relate to the role.
More than ever, it’s emphasizing cross platform, cross media, and employers actually value both, but they need to be at like, a [competence] that makes sense.
BELLA: Um, so with the launch of Issue 13, how do you see readers interacting with print copies in a pandemic?
ALEX: Yeah, I mean, we are in front of our screens now more than ever, and I think the magazine always is a great reminder of unplugging. And I think we’re now looking at print not to inform us, but as a luxury. Print has become this kind of accessible self-care, if you will, to take your time away from the constant messaging and attention needing that our screens often, uh, make us feel. We are looking at print to unplug and disconnect, and a form of minor self-care. So, in terms of RAD, we are looking to emphasize digital focus, but we’re encouraging people to go support our stockists. So, whether that be talking to our stockists and being like, “Hey, we don’t have an issue,”— do you want to talk them through the issue? That’d be great!
We’re doing things like our photoshoot contest that was recently happening where it really embraced like, the imperfect qualities and really asked our audience to participate and not be too boggled down by high production. They were given like, the weekend to do a photo assignment based on our prompt that was inspired from our in-house editorial, Mirror, Mirror. So, that is a great way to invite participation and kind of put people in the creative mindset, without having too much of a pressure to create polished work.
SAM: Yeah, cause like you said, that’s such a great way to invite participation that also encourages readers to get creative, in a new way that I don’t know that people would’ve been thinking about it that way if COVID had not necessarily happened. I feel like COVID is really pushing a lot of this creative thinking into like, problem solving of how people do connect with platforms that are mostly digital and like, how you make that feel authentic still. So, I think that—I mean, activities like that, especially when people can have direct communication with, you know, either a brand or a publication or whoever it is so important in like, recreating some of the experiences we look forward to in person. I mean, with that in mind, we do know RADMag as like, the publication to throw a really good launch party. How are you guys sort of rethinking this year’s launch?
ALEX: Our gears have definitely been turning behind the scenes. We want to work with our community in that narrative of supporting local businesses and local start-ups. So, we’re really looking within not only our community at Ryerson, but also we have this community of really individually or collectively artistic and creative and like, this is an asset, so we’re looking at partners and brands that want to connect to them and want to provide their platform to do something. So, it’s kind of being like the middleman between the students, our community, and with brands, and creating something that hasn’t been done before.
SAM: Um, do you think it’s like, now more than ever, it’s important to be connecting with community partners in that way?
ALEX: Yeah! We’ve always strived to be connected with our community and like, I can’t even imagine when Ace Hill was on board for RAD, and they’ve been a long-time community supporter, but also looking at Ryerson’s entrepreneurs because there’s so many—we have so many zones, incubations and whatnot, and even looking within those to like, be like, “Hey! We love what you’re doing, you align with our audience, let’s think of a way to not only bring your product to life, but bring ours to life.”
SAM: Are there any other projects you guys are working on, coming up? Or you personally? I mean, give yourself a plug!
ALEX: Give myself a plug… I—for RAD—we are working with a Toronto brand to launch this contest that I’m very stoked about, so more to come on that if you follow @offlinerad, um, but for me, a bunch of legal work and NDAs, so I can only say so much, but I’m currently working with Warner Music on a couple of projects, so that’s been fun to kind of have my hands in and keep myself busy, besides my highly theoretical schoolwork. So, that’s what I’m up to!
SAM: Very good! Alright, last question, and it’s, we’ve all heard the expression that print is dead, a lot of us, when we entered our majors heard that expression and it was very nerve-wracking to hear.
SAM: Through your experience, do you agree or do you disagree?
ALEX: Might be biased because I studied print production and management, so we are equipped to answer that question as an FAQ type-thing. So, I mean, it’s not dead—it’s changing. I think that we still have the big names that play and will always hold a really big presence, Vogue, you can say it, it’s on a resume, it looks great. Um, so the name still holds significance, but I think we’re no longer devoted to one. We’re not “one is the gatekeeper” because of online media, and there’s so many alternative niches that you can throw yourself into. So, print isn’t dead, it’s changing in how we consume medias and how we kind of curate our shelves. Like, I’m not loyal to one magazine, I have so many and I love collecting them, I have so many, and you can see that with many different things like, you’re no longer brand-loyal to one thing. Like, you look at your makeup collection and you’re like, “Oh shit,” there’s like fifteen types of lipsticks and different brands and one’s off by this colour. So, we want to curate and we want a really nice curation of things around us. In that sense though, print isn’t going away but we look at print to kind of have as a display, and we want different publications and publications that we do collect to reflect our aspirations and our inspirations. For that reason, print isn’t dead.
BELLA: In conclusion—
ALEX: In conclusion, yes, print isn’t dead, it’s changing.
BELLA: Okay well, thank you so much Alex for joining us, I learnt so much, I’m sure Sam did as well.
ALEX: I feel like I’ve lectured! I’m like…
BELLA: No, but it’s great! To like even just see all the work you’ve done and just like, just to hear that you’re just reaching out to these people, and it’s not by coincidence, you’re doing these things purposefully and like you said you’re using your toolbox and like, you’re trying to find everything you’re doing. And I admire that because I think in our industry especially like, reaching out to people and communicating and building relationships and networking is so necessary and important, even if it involves print. So, I like that like, little integration.
ALEX: Yeah, it’s totally something that you just need to be a conversationalist and have conversation. No one loves being networked to—I’ve done my fair share of networking and been like… I could’ve been less clingy. So just have good conversation, and you can only do that if you’re exposed to different mediums, so not just getting tunneled into a blog channel, but print as well.
SAM: Absolutely! Thank you so much.
ALEX: Yeah, no worries.
SAM: I did, I did learn so much.
And to close off our interviews for today I actually went aside and had a conversation with Zan from New Wave, to talk a little bit more about what that publication is up to.
SAM: So, hi everyone who’s listening, I’m here with Zan, she is the Managing Editor of Creatives over at New Wave. Zan, do you want to introduce yourself quickly?
ZANELE: Yeah, hello! I’m Zan, you can also call me Zanele, um, my pronouns are she/her, I’m a third-year English major, and yeah, I’m the Managing Editor for Creatives at New Wave and I really enjoy it. It’s been my first year doing this job.
SAM: Oh, what were you before that?
ZANELE: Before that, I was Creatives Editor—one of the Creatives Editors, so there were two of us, I was just working more closely with writers, but now I’m working more closely with the editors. So, it’s just a little step up like, “Oooh, promotion!” But yeah, and before that I was just a writer, so it’s been a steady growth, its cute.
SAM: Yeah, I remember when you first started working with them! And for people who may not know what a managing editor does, do you want to give us a little like, recap of your position?
ZANELE: Sure, uh, so, as managing editor for creatives, I’m mainly working with the editors to edit a writer’s piece, after they create their first round of edits. I’m looking at like, story structure, flow, things like that, just trying to help a writer develop their ideas, though I’m not usually in direct contact them. I’m also helping on like, the administration side and working with the Editors in Chief—our wonderful Editors in Chief who are Emily Peotto and Vanessa Quon (I believe that’s how you pronounce her last name) Yeah, and so it’s just a bit more administration work, like writing copy to go out to contributor lists and finding people to write for us, um, and kind of just like, growing what Creatives could be as a section under New Wave, so that’s been really exciting. But, yeah!
SAM: Nice, cool. In terms of coaching people, what does that look like at a publication where you have students coming in and this might be their first interaction with a publication?
ZANELE: Right. I mean, one thing that we’ve wanted to be really intentional about is making sure that people feel comfortable and like their work has value. And obviously, creatives deserve to be paid for their work, so it’s important that, since we’re relying on volunteers, that we make sure that all of the writers who are coming in are, uh, coming into and environment where they feel like their work is appreciated, and has value, and that they as writers are being appreciated. And then for staff members, I think that something that we try to work on a lot is making sure that everybody is involved in the process, um, that nobody just feels like a throw away, or that there’s no hierarchy. Obviously, there’s people that are at the higher levels, like the Editors in Chief, but everything is a conversation and everything is collaborative, and that’s what makes New Wave so exciting, at least for me. Then, obviously, it being a lot of women on the masthead—actually, right now it’s all women on the masthead, which is exciting, so it’s just like getting to empower each other and getting to work together—just creating a very safe and welcoming environment.
SAM: Wow, yeah that’s so important, um, I think that one of the great things we get to do with student publications is develop sort of a community space, for like, people to, as you’ve said, feel like it’s a safe space where they can share their stories and everything, um, I guess with New Wave, part of that looks like, um, I mean, especially on the website it’s like, talked about as a feminist magazine. Um, what does that mean for New Wave, because I guess we all have different ideas as to what that looks like.
ZANELE: Right, I mean, I’ll just speak for what my own perspective of New Wave’s feminism means to me, but I think that we want to be particular in saying that this is an intersectional idea of feminism, because I know that a lot of the time, feminism can feel very constricted and only actually servicing like, a certain group of women, instead of really living up to what the whole concept of feminism is about, and especially in this modern day, so we want to be and we’re trying to be more intentional about being intersectional and like, right now what we’re looking at is accessibility, and how we can be better in terms of that, especially in the online world, because I just think that there’s a lot that we don’t know, and there’s probably a lot of gaps in how we are fulfilling feminism in our magazine. And so, I think that we’re trying to constantly make sure that we’re keeping our ears open to critiques, and you know, any issues that people have and want us to work on. And I think that that’s what you should be doing especially if you’re going to use the title of feminism or if you’re going to use any type of like, social equity/equality title. I think that you should always be learning to grow, and I think that that’s something we’ve been focusing on a lot this year is just making sure that we’re never being elitist in like, our status as like, a feminist magazine, and making sure that we’re constantly up to changing and evolving in a way that suits and fits everybody and is accessible to everyone, so yeah.
SAM: Yeah, I think that’s such a good point like, cause obviously a publication’s goal is not just, um, I mean, when you’re a student publication you have a responsibility to the contributors, you’re trying to give a platform to, but obviously, like, negotiating that with the people that read the publication, making sure that their needs in a publication are being met and everything. You did mention accessibility and I feel like that’s a huge topic right now especially since, with the pandemic and everything’s going digital, and in some ways it’s a really good thing because certain tools are becoming accessible, or even free for a lot of people who might not have had access to resources in the past, so what do you feel like New Wave is doing to be an accessible publication for readers?
ZANELE: Um, so, I’m actually in this course called, Writing for Disability Activism, uh, which is a great course—I recommend that anybody take it if you’re interested—but one of the things that we’ve been learning about is alternative-text and the importance of that, and captioning, and how hashtags could be an easy way to be accessible and make sure that it’s easier for people to find certain content in a way that’s recognizable. So, we’ve been trying to do that, we’re trying to implement captions and alternative text on all of the visual art that we have, so that people can click that and read a simple, but still creative description of the art that we have in case that they can’t really view it in full, or in the way that we can. And another way is just trying to make sure that like, even on the masthead side, making sure that we’re always having conversations that feel accessible to everybody. I think that like, everybody has different communication styles, and often we always go towards whatever’s easiest for us, so one thing that we’ve been trying to do a lot is making sure that we’re asking our masthead and just contributors like, “What is most comfortable for you?” We’ve put out a few surveys just asking how we can be better, and yeah, just always trying to keep that in mind and like, and sometimes our Editors in Chief will give us like, articles to read, um, that will just make us more informed in the way that we’re behaving with the magazine, and I think that that’s been pretty great. So, there’s still a way’s to go, but I think we’re on the journey which is a good start!
SAM: So, when I was doing my snooping on the New Wave’s Instagram, I saw that you guys are opening, um, what’s it called, like, submission for the next print issue, which confirms that you guys are doing another print issue.
SAM: What was that decision like? I feel like a lot of publications, especially student ones have had like, a talk about like, are we doing this?
ZANELE: Yeah, I mean, we’re going to—before in the past years for New Wave, there’s usually a Fall edition for print, and then there’s a Winter, but because of COVID-19, we’re just doing a full-year edition, an that’ll be released I think in April or May—probably April—so yeah! The conversation around that, I wasn’t in the room for all of it, I think it was mainly between our Editors in Chief, but I think that we all understood that like, having a print copy of a publication is so, it’s just important, and I feel like it is a different energy than online, and obviously online is amazing, but there’s just something about having the print copy, the physical copy, and we also—you get to be more specific about the content you want in there, you can have a theme, um, and it’s also nice for the writers and the artist that are contributing. I think that it’s great for them to be able to see their work in like, the physical, so I think that having a print copy was something that we were always hoping to do, and that we were going to do, it was just a matter of like, finding a way to do it with everything going on, but yeah!
SAM: Do you think that having every online makes it easier for students to connect?
ZANELE: I actually think it probably does, just because I know, like, during first year, for me, I was so intimidated by even just like, walking into rooms with students I didn’t know and especially like, upper year students—everything just felt super scary to me! But I think like, Zoom and like, not having to have your camera on and just like, the small things of being online have helped people feel more comfortable putting themselves into certain spaces that they usually wouldn’t. And thinking about first year students especially like, I imagine this year is probably really rough for them because this is their first type of university or college experience and everything’s online, but I have seen a lot of engagement with first year students that I was surprised by, and I think it’s probably just because if something’s right at your fingertips, and if you don’t have to fully jump in, you can just kind of be there like, with your mic off and your camera off, it’s easier to get comfortable, so yeah.
SAM: Do you see more engagement from first year students with New Wave?
ZANELE: Yeah! Like, we had—we sent out our contributor list a few weeks ago, and so many first year students signed up, and it was so exciting to see, I was like, “Oh my goodness!” They’re just like, all so ready and willing to write and put themselves out there, and I think that being online has probably like, prepared them for that and just gotten them comfortable with taking the leap, I guess. So, it’s been really nice, yeah! It’s nice to know that the first years are like, surviving their first year because I was kind of worried, I was like, I can’t—I was trying to put myself in the mindset of how I would feel if this was my first time like, going to school like this, and everything’s online and you don’t know anybody, and like, I just, it’s nice to see that they’re all still active in the community and they like, have dreams and they want to do things and it’s just, yeah, it’s motivating to me.
SAM: And so, I guess, in terms of when that print copy really is ready to be released, does New Wave do like, a launch event, or what’s that going to look like, if you can share any details. I don’t know, maybe it’s all top-secret!
ZANELE: I mean, I don’t even know all the details myself! But I mean we usually—we did launches for the past few years, so I think we’ll probably do an online launch. And I actually just went to my first online magazine launch. I think it was for The Continuist? It might have been another one. But yeah, it was so cool! Like, people were reading their work and showing their art, and so I think it would be great if we were able to do that and just, you know, be able to celebrate these contributors and, you know, make sure that they get the recognition they deserve in a cute, digital space.
SAM: I’m so glad to hear that those spaces are still happening, even if it has to be online. TO like, sit down and share your work and still have the, sort of like, supportive moment when you come to like, present everything that you’ve done.
ZANELE: Exactly! It’s very like, wholesome, pure content.
SAM: Absolutely! We did have that whole discussion about how you know, these are—we’re trying to like, develop these safe spaces and everything for these important conversations to happen, and personal stories to be shared, moving forward like, what do you want to see more talked about, or like, what do you think students still aren’t talking about enough?
ZANELE: Well, I mean, I guess we already touched on it but I mean, at least for me, when I was thinking about what I need to work on like, the accessibility issue was big, and I think that’s a conversation that we all need to focus on a little bit more. I think also, I think it’s interesting because Ryerson especially has this reputation of being like, very diverse and like, focused on progression and progressive politics and all of that, so I think that we get a bit comfortable with thinking that we’re doing enough, when usually it’s like, we’re doing the bare minimum. And so I think, in terms of how we could be better, is probably getting deeper into those intersections like, I think that we all know the key words to use and we all, you know, we all say we’re looking to hire like, BIPOC, or like, queer people, blah blah blah, and like, we all use that and put it out there but I don’t think that there’s enough effort to make sure that those people are seeing that content, first of all, or those posts, and that they feel comfortable joining. Like, I think working more on creating those spaces and reflecting that in your administration, in your mastheads and in the content that you’re putting out there, is important. So that’s something that I definitely want to put out there and work on this year, and just getting better at that and more aware that I do not know everything and I cannot possibly have all the answers for different communities that we’re trying to represent so…
SAM: I mean, like you said, there’s a lot of—there’s a lot of talk happening and not enough action. It would be really great to see some, you know, concrete steps—I feel like it’s almost a thing of like, transparency about what you are doing, if only to share that sort of, like, knowledge amongst publications, so it’s like “Well, what are you guys doing?” and like, how can we collectively—cause even though we’re individual publications like, we represent a similar community, so it’s like, I feel like if we can, we should all be doing as much sharing as possible to be able to like, make sure that we’re meeting the needs of everyone as best that we know how.
ZANELE: Yeah, I completely agree. I actually feel like it would be so interesting if like, we all got on a call like, all of the student publications! Because I feel like we have the same issues, and we all mostly want the same things, and so like, collaborating would probably be like, really fun and we would probably grow a lot from it, so that should be something that happens, I hope, this year.
SAM: I would love to see it, honestly!
ZANELE: Right? And like, with Zoom, it’s doable!
SAM: It is! Like, it’s doable, I’m sure other people would be down, so we just need to like, set it up for this huge panel discussion.
ZANELE: Exactly. And imagine like, publishing like, collaborative work. Like, it would just be cool to see like, the intersecting magazines and like, what kind of content we’d create from that. It would just be cool.
SAM: Oh my gosh, I—yeah, I definitely want that to happen, I think it would be so good and important, and like, so much good would come out of it.
SAM: And, um, last question to close it off—very controversial—we’ve all heard the expression print is dead—do you agree, or do you disagree?
ZANELE: I completely disagree! I don’t think that print could ever die. I think that people will always want—there’s just something special about it, and I think that people will always want the like, emotional attachment and the nostalgia, and just, um, the memories attached to a print edition of something. I think that it—I feel like it helps set the legacy of like, whatever publication you have, so I don’t think print will ever die—and I don’t think it’s dead right now!
SAM: Wonderful! Well thank you so much for taking the time to have this conversation with me. I really appreciate it! I feel like I’ve learned so much about your perspective and also what New Wave is doing and everything.
ZANELE: Of course! I’m so glad we were able to do this. But yes, I’m so glad we were able to do this, it was good, it was fun conversation.
SAM: Yeah, oh my gosh! Have a wonderful week, and uh, yeah, we’ll talk soon!
ZANELE: Thank you!
BELLA: So, I actually really enjoyed today’s discussions, and I feel like we learnt a lot about the industry as a whole.
SAM: I would agree. I think I learned a lot about what the different publications, specifically at Ryerson, are doing to keep print as a relevant way of expressing creativity for students who are learning about the industry and, and maybe want to go into it as a career. I mean, I know that there are going to be a lot of takeaways for me personally that I would like to bring into both my own work-life, but also StyleCircle as a whole.
BELLA: So, as we can see, print is something that has slowly died out, but there’s a generation of people that want to keep the industry up and running, and it is still very much alive and well today, it’s just different.
SAM: That’s for sure! I think—I mean we had the general consensus throughout all of the conversations that print is not dead, which is very, very comforting and exciting to hear, so…
BELLA: Yeah, it’s nice to—it’s nice to not be the only ones who like, don’t believe that it’s dead and who want to keep it up and running, you know?
BELLA: So, to close this episode, I just want to ask the audience, how do you guys see the next decade of print playing out, and do you guys see it dying, or do you see it continuing to grow and develop?
SAM: Let us know over on our Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin what you think, and thanks for listening in today!
BELLA: Thank you guys!
This has been Bella,
SAM: And Sam,
BELLA: …for The Podcast by StyleCircle. Subscribe to continue listening to new episodes of The Podcast every 2 weeks on Spotify, Apple Music and Apple Podcast. The Podcast is produced by StyleCircle and hosted by Isabella Papagiannis. Administration is by Samantha Cass, Media Production is by Norah Kim, Original Music Arrangement is by Particle House, and additional Contributions from Rhea Singh, Alex La, and Zanele Chisholm.