What is Flux?
For the past seven years, the School of Journalism & Communication has published the award-winning student magazine Flux. Acclaimed as an attractive, literate, and engaging publication, Flux is a credit not only to the students who produce it but to the School and the University of Oregon as well.
Flux has two principal missions. The first is to give students experience in producing a real magazine on deadline. Employers say one of the most important benefits of journalism schools is hands-on experience. Flux provides that kind of opportunity, where journalistic skills, original thinking and in-the-field experience come together in a high-intensity publishing environment.
The magazine's other essential function is to showcase student journalism. A student's name on the masthead is a valuable addition to a resumé and a source of justifiable pride. Clips from Flux writers, artists, photographers and designers have proved to be valuable in building a portfolio. Indeed, many students have used their association and work (photography, writing, editing, design, etc.) in Flux to secure internships at important magazines such as Time, Scientific American, Mirabella, Mens Journal, Entertainment Weekly, and Vogue.
In 1997, InFlux, the World Wide Web companion to Flux, debuted online. That first issue won a coveted award for site design from HotWired magazine. Along with all the stories in the print version of Flux, InFlux contains sidebars, links, graphics and other material exclusive to the online magazine.
Now we're looking for the students who will create Flux 2000. This bulletin answers some of the most common questions students ask about the magazine.
About the Content of Flux 2000
In the millennium year 2000 we would like to produce a special issue of Flux focusing on the environment. Features, articles, profiles, essays and photo essays about environmental topics such as ecology, natural resources, wildlife conservation, communities in transition, etc., will be given serious consideration. So will other submissions if the topics are so compelling we just cant say no.
How is Flux Put Together?
The magazine is created in a class: Magazine Publishing, J410.Offered in the spring term, J410 is the capstone course of the magazine sequence. Class members receive academic credits and function as the Flux staff: editor-in-chief, assistant editors, art director, art associates, online staff, business manager, and so on.
The meeting times for J410 will be announced during winter term, but in any case staffers can expect to work overtime. Students already engaged in time-consuming activities (special projects and teams, for example) must consider carefully whether they could fulfill the heavy time commitment of staff membership.
Student staffers will plan the issue, allocate expenses within the budget, make assignments, write and edit stories, check facts, spec type, shoot and process photos, create artwork, design layouts, create the online version, solicit and place advertising, monitor production schedules, interact with the printer -- everything graduates can expect on the job. Flux is their magazine.
Journalism students who are not members of the staff may apply as freelancers, submitting articles, photos or illustrations. A limited number of internships are available for highly motivated juniors (and perhaps a sophomore or two) who would like to be involved with Flux.
Faculty adviser Carol Ann Bassett is the overall coordinator for Flux. She chooses the staff, supervises planning and production and sits in on staff meetings. Prof. Bill Ryan, a co-founder of the magazine, helps advise and direct the art and design staff, and to some extent the on-line version of Flux. Prof. John Russial is also available for advice on InFlux. Prof. Tom Wheeler, the other co-founder of Flux, is the magazine's guiding spirit and continues to provide advice and counsel in its operation.
Layout and pre-print will be completed here in the Journalism School's Ballmer Lab. Printing and binding will be handled by a professional printer. The online edition will be prepared by the online editing staff with the advice of the Flux editor and art director.
What Makes a Flux Story?
Flux is a journalism magazine. That term can encompass reporting, feature writing, essays, literary nonfiction, photojournalism, and so on, but not items better left to literary journals such as poetry, fiction or artwork (except as a layout element). Appropriate articles could include features, investigative writing, news analysis, human interest stories, profiles, or photo essays any legitimate journalistic form.
We do not attempt to write stories entailing nationwide research or other tasks beyond our grasp. We do encourage stories that are nationally or internationally based, especially if they have a local or regional connection.
In using local resources, we may cover campus, community and regional stories -- but in such a way as to address a broader audience. Compared to campus-only student publications, Flux is something of a general-interest magazine. Our editorial content does not exclusively target UO students, and is not limited to the local community (no reviews of local bands or restaurants). Note how the premiere issue's feature on Sex On Campus In The Age Of AIDS, for example, and the following issue's Race On Campus section draw from local resources while appealing to an educated, contemporary audience that extends beyond the campus.?
Like any good magazine article, a Flux submission should be more than a mere laundry list of facts. It should tell a story and have a narrative flow, as well as substance. Articles must have a theme, a point of view, something to say about the subject. (See page 4 for details.)
Flux is a serious publication. "Serious" does not exclude wit by any means, but it does exclude the goofy, the sophomoric. It should have a personality but not a chip-on-the-shoulder tone. An attitude of "we're hip and you're not," fairly common among campus publications, has no place here. We are looking for thoughtful, provocative and original work.
Editorial copy must meet the profession's own standards of excellence, ethics and responsibility. Forget about "The 10 Best Pizzas in Eugene." Instead, we will render the kind of editorial content that our training has prepared us for: solid, meaty journalism of interest to a discriminating readership on campus, in the community, and beyond.
What Classes Can You Take To Prepare for Flux?
Most Flux staffers are graduating seniors who have completed most of the magazine sequence requirements. Several classes offered during winter term help groom potential Flux staff members. (You don't have to take one of these classes to qualify for the staff, nor will everyone who takes the classes be chosen for the staff.) Prof. Bassett's Special Editorial Projects class (J408/508) offers would-be Flux writers and editors the chance to write long and short features aimed at the Flux market. Students will gain valuable editorial experience in editing each other's work. We expect several stories -- and students from that class -- to wind up at the magazine. Advanced magazine writing and editing classes taught by Profs. Wheeler, Kessler, Bassett, Campbell also provide essential training, and often lead to stories for Flux. Students interested in being on the Flux graphics staff (layout, art, photography, etc.) should seriously consider applying for Prof. Ryan's winter term Magazine Design & Production class, which has historically produced the great majority of art staffers and online designers. Other professors may make Flux-related assignments in writing or photojournalism classes.
In the past two years, we've created an online team to edit and design InFlux, the online companion to Flux. We need students with some HTML experience, in addition to editing and/or design skills, to join that staff. Students interested in working on InFlux should consider taking the Cyberjournalism class. Flux has also recently begun to work on securing advertising in the magazine and on promoting and distributing it. We're looking for students, perhaps from the advertising and public relations sequences, to serve on the business staff.
By the end of winter term, we should have much of the staff in place, some preliminary designs, and at least a few nearly completed articles ready for layout.
How Do You Get Involved In Flux?
Students can participate in Flux in two ways: as a member of theJ410 Magazine Publishing class, or as a freelancer. If you are a Journalism pre-major or major interested in participating in Flux in Spring 2000:
Please do NOT:
Well-researched and thought-out proposals that identify not just a subject but a story about that subject stand a much better chance of making it into Flux.
How Do I Submit a Freelance Story Proposal?
A call for query letters and proposals will be issued at the beginning of winter term, and freelance queries will be accepted throughout the term. However, the earlier a query arrives, the better the story's chances of making it into the magazine. We expect to receive many more queries than we can accept. The process, like sending a query to any magazine, is competitive.
You can turn in your query to the Flux mailbox in the dean's office. Queries may be accompanied by no more than two published clips (copies of stories you've published) or one manuscript copy of a journalism story you've written for a class. Some freelancers may be asked to pitch their stories to a meeting of the editorial board, or to revise their proposals after discussion with editors.
The editors will evaluate the queries, choose which story ideas will be accepted and assign deadlines to the writers who proposed them. The editors reserve the right to refuse to use an assigned story or photographs that don't meet Flux standards. Writers will work with editors on their stories during winter and spring terms.
How Do You Apply for Admission to the Staff?
Like getting a query accepted for assignment, admission to the staff is also competitive. Because applicants outnumber positions, some applicants will not be accepted. Students unwilling to risk rejection should not apply; otherwise, all Journalism school students who think they may have something to offer are heartily encouraged to apply.
J410 is open to undergraduate and graduate students. You must submit an application for J410 class membership (which confers staff status), but freelance contributors need only submit their work.
The senior staff will specify job descriptions during winter term. For now, simply select a category:
Don't feel restricted by the categories; they are merely for convenience. The important thing is to let us know what you have to offer.
Don't be afraid to apply for more than one area.
Applications should be on paper; do not use e-mail for Flux applications.
Direct your applications and all article proposals to Prof. Carol Ann Bassett. Leave materials in the Flux mailbox in 201 Allen; leave portfolios or other large objects with the secretary there. Materials should be clearly marked and bound, or placed in an envelope or portfolio, not in a loose stack. Be sure the material contains your name, phone number and e-mail address.
In all likelihood, higher editorial positions will be filled by students who have excelled in courses such as The Magazine Editor, Magazine Writing, Environmental Writing, Magazine Feature Editing or Special Editorial Projects, and graphics positions by students who have excelled in Visual Communications, Magazine Design & Production and/or Ad Layout. However, you lose nothing by applying for any position you wish.
An application form appears at the end of this bulletin. You may include a resumé, letters of recommendation, clips of published articles, examples of your work -- anything you think is appropriate. (Please do not ask Profs. Ryan or Wheeler for letters of recommendation.) One criterion will be performance in relevant courses.
Deadline for editorial staff applications: January 18. The editorial staff will be announced during winter term.
Deadline for graphics and online staff applications: March 10. The online and graphics staffs will be announced shortly before the beginning of spring term.