Fresh designs, sharp images and well-crafted stories fill the pages of Oregon State’s newest student magazine, Beaver’s Digest.
Editor Jodie Davaz, a senior digital communication arts major and University Honors College student, feels a sense of pride as her fingers turn the pages. She knows getting to this point and holding the finished product in her hands wasn’t always a guarantee.
Davaz originally fell in love with radio, and worked happily at KBVR FM for three years, until spring 2014, when no one applied to fill the position of yearbook editor.
“When I finally applied, I said, ‘Well, let’s turn it into a magazine,’” Davaz remembers. “It was one of the most stressful and satisfying things I’ve ever done in my life.”
The end of one era, the beginning of another
Already a strong writer, Davaz had to teach herself page design and other magazine skills. And she was not alone.
“It was sort of like the blind leading the blind for awhile,” admits Beaver Digest’s promotions director Maranda McArthur.
About 20 student volunteers worked together to produce the first issue during fall term 2014. They shot photos, wrote stories and laid out pages, slowly working out all of the kinks in the brand-new process.
Davaz’s decision to start a magazine effectively ended the 120-year-long life of the Beaver Yearbook and signaled a new era for student media at Oregon State. She says they’ve heard nothing but positive feedback.
McArthur believes the magazine, free for students and the Oregon State community to pick up from bins around campus, is more accessible.
“They don’t feel the pressure to pay $60 for a yearbook,” McArthur explains. “If you don’t like it, you can’t just put it down because you haven’t invested anything in it.”
A new issue of the magazine will be available each term, three times a year, which Davaz says provides an opportunity to include more students, events and clubs than the yearbook might have been able to.
“It’s also cool for people who want to work for magazines for a living,” McArthur says. “Magazine experience translates more smoothly into the workplace than yearbook experience.”
Adapting to constant change
Davaz says the staff welcomes feedback from anyone and everyone, even if they’re skeptical of the change in format from yearbook to magazine.
“Some alumni had reservations about the change,” she says. “But it’s not like we’re putting all of the old yearbooks in a pile. We’re not saying ‘no more yearbook forever.’ This is just a new way of presenting the same kind of information.”
Davaz says the switch doesn’t signify a turning point in OSU history. Instead, it reflects and responds to a greater change in society, in how people consume media. It’s something that’s quickly and continuously evolving.
“If in a few years, Beaver’s Digest goes exclusively digital, my heart won’t be broken,” Davaz says. “My goal was to make this exist. It wasn’t in the world before, and now it is, and ideally, whoever takes it on after me will increase its online presence and include more community features.”
Beaver’s Digest will be located on the fourth floor of the new Student Experience Center, and they’re looking forward to telling stories about the best that Beaver Nation has to offer for many years to come. McArthur, a sophomore, will remain involved and focused on increasing students’ awareness about the magazine.
“I would love for every student to know what Beaver’s Digest is,” McArthur says. “I want them to know what it is, what it’s about and how to get it. I want people to feel that who they are or what they do on campus is represented in the magazine.”