The final project has two components. First, each participant will conceive, create, and publish their own individual webzine. And second (but happening simultaneously), we’ll together concept, call for submissions, create, and publish a collective class webzine.
But what is a webzine? According to dictionary.com, it’s “a magazine published on the Internet,” implying that “zine” is simply short for “magazine.” However, it’s also good to notice that “webzine” has the word “zine” within it, so we should understand the history and ideas behind “zines.”
Physical “zines” are typically self-published, made economically with any available materials and equipment like paper photocopiers. They're often created with a specific audience in mind. Because they’re independently published and distributed, often zines are about a very specific subject matter. Personally, I consider zines a good way to work out a specific idea when you can’t necessarily write a whole book about it yet. Since they're easy to produce, you can make multiples easily and distribute to whichever audience you intend. Your individual webzine can serve a similar goal and embody a likeminded spirit to its physical predecessor.
While you are creating your individual webzine, we will simultaneously as a class create a collective webzine. Together we brainstorm, decide on an idea, figure out a structure, create roles, solicit submissions, organize those submissions, design, code, and make public. To do this, I will structure the class so that we stay on schedule. The special roles for this project (editing, design, code) will be assigned to any willing volunteers. We’ll publish our webzine by the last day of class. This collective webzine happening simultaneously could provide a good model for you working independently on your own.
This is a publishing project, so know that you're putting something out into the world that isn't just for yourself. Which audience are you trying to reach? Pick a specific one. Where and how will people access your webzine? How will you tell them about it? We’ll discuss various methods and techniques specifically available to online and digital publishing, such as email, social media, peer to peer, word of mouth, etc.
To begin the process, you will give an approximately ten minute presentation on two things you are deeply passionate about. The two things should be as different from each other as possible. Also, we as a class shouldn't necessarily easily guess these two things based on what we know about you already. Like a phoenix, your webzine will be born from the ashes of this presentation...
Part 1. Individual Webzine
- A unique title
- A unique domain name (Here are instructions)
- A statement of purpose
- All original content—your own, mostly. Do not use “filler” content.
- A specific audience in mind (Who is your webzine for? Does it fill a specific hole in terms of what's available now in the world? You don't need to necessarily state your audience anywhere, but your audience should inform your webzine and how it becomes public.)
- A specific publishing strategy (By near the end of the semester, you will make your webzine public in a way that resonates with your webzine's purpose. Also, consider publishing schedule. For example, is your webzine just one publication? Or is it part of a series, does it have issues? How often is it published?)
- For some aspect of your zine (small or large), solicit submissions from at least two others in the class. This could be small (like commissioning someone to draw your logo or consult on your webzine's name) or large (have a someone write an article or piece). These roles or bylines should be properly credited somewhere on your site.
- Design and create a physical object that goes along with your zine
Part 2. Collective Class Webzine
- Helpfully contribute to the dialogue so we can together agree on an idea, call for submissions, and eventually publish something great
- Create a submission based on the prompt
If you'd like to help organize submissions, edit, design, code, or otherwise author this collective class publication, please let me know. I will assign special roles to willing volunteers.
As stated in the original syllabus, your individual webzine will be graded on its quality.
Please consider two aspects:
Original approach. Your webzine should employ an original, personal approach that comes from your own process of questioning and thinking. Your webzine should take a stance. It should be memorable.
Functionality, craft, and presentation. Your webzine should achieve its goals and not break. It should feel well-considered on multiple levels. Your attention to detail in design and code should work to support your overall concepts.
- Paul Chan, "To Publish or Perish" lecture (2012)
- Meg Miller, Interview with Rachel Rosenfelt (2017)
- Gwen Allen, "Magazine Statements, 1798–2013" (2016)
- Seth Price, "Dispersion" (2016)
- Triple Canopy, "The Binder and the Server" (2012)
See Calendar for specific dates. This is subject to change.
Week 1 — March 4
- "Grocery list of interests" activity
- Look at physical zines
- Look at online webzines
~ Spring Break ~
Week 2 — March 25
- Everyone presents about "two things"
- Collective: Concept brainstorm worksheets (homework)
Week 3 — April 1
- Guest: Bill Wurtz
- Look at publication methods
- Individual: Meet in small groups. Show content and rough site sketch of your webzine in Dropbox Paper.
- Collective: Look at ideas and group them, talk about what's feasible
Week 4 — April 8
- Individual: Meet one-on-one with Laurel virtually. Sign-up here. Show continued development of your content and concept, either two separate concepts or two visual directions for your webzine, development of your content and sketches, several rough code mockups (just to show the ideas), your purchased domain name, a mission statement (can be in-progress) for your webzine.
- Collective: Concept decided by Laurel, Meg (of Are.na), and Willis. Release submission prompt to class, due next week.
Week 5 — April 15
- Demo: Setting up custom domain name
- Individual: Meet in small groups to see progress on webzines—content and visual prototype. Also go over your publication strategy / schedule (How long will your webzine last? Will it be published over time? When will it be updated, if ever? Be realistic but also true to your project) and distribution methods (How will you let people know about your webzine? Will you send an email? Mail some snail mails? Post a flier? Talk about it on social media?). Show a schedule (could be a calendar or table) and some drafts of your distribution method (could be emails, fliers, social media posts, etc.).
- Collective: Submissions due via Dropbox Paper. Assigning of roles and collaborative activity for editors, designers, and developers.
Week 6 — April 22
- Individual: By this day, you'll have published your webzine in some way. Come to class ready to show and tell (with any documentation screenshots or photos) how it went. Is there a future for your webzine, will it continue to publish?
- Collective: Volunteers design & code.
Week 7 — April 29
- Individual: Readings of webzines aloud in-class.
- Collective: By this day, we'll have published our collective webzine. Maybe since it's an onion, we'll have published the first layer or two (TBD). We'll talk about the layers to come.
- Celebrate with cake! :)