University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication
How is Flux put together?
The magazine is created in a class: FLUX Magazine Publishing, J475. Offered in the spring term, J475 is the capstone of the magazine sequence. Class members receive academic credits and function as the Flux staff: editor-in-chief, associate editors, managing editor, copy editor, and research editor, art director, art associates, production manager, photo editor, photographers, online staff, business manager, advertising director, and so on. Student staffers plan the issue, allocate expenses within the budget, make assignments, write and edit stories, check facts, shoot and process photos, create artwork, design layouts, create the online version of the magazine, solicit and place advertising, monitor production schedules, and interact with the printer — everything graduates can expect on the job. Flux is their magazine.
Flux staffers can expect to work overtime, so students already engaged in time–consuming activities (special projects and teams, for example) must consider carefully whether they can fulfill the heavy time commitment of staff membership. 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 Mark Blaine is the overall coordinator for Flux. He chooses the staff, supervises planning and production, and sits in on staff meetings. Professor Bill Ryan consults on design, layout, and production. Professor Tom Wheeler is the magazine’s founder and guiding spirit and continues to provide advice and counsel in its operation, and other Journalism faculty have always been willing to contribute their expertise to the magazine.
Layout and pre-print are completed in the Journalism School’s Ballmer Lab. Printing and binding is handled by a professional printer. The online edition is 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, analysis, opinion, feature writing, literary journalism, creative nonfiction, photojournalism, essays, and so on, but not items better left to literary publications such as poetry, fiction, or artwork (except as a layout element). Appropriate articles could include features, investigative writing or news analysis, human interest stories, profiles, or photo essays — any legitimate journalistic form. We 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).
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 — from beginning, to middle, to end — as well as substance. Articles must have a theme, a point of view, and something to say about the subject. Flux is a serious publication. “Serious” does not exclude wit by any means, but it does exclude the goofy and 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. Many magazine editors have said that Flux is the most impressive component of a student’s résumé.
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.) Professor Campbell’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, and we expect several stories and students from that class to wind up in the magazine. Advanced magazine and feature writing classes taught by Professors Wheeler, Kessler, Bassett, Campbell and others also provide essential training and often stories for Flux.
Students interested in being on the Flux graphics staff (layout, art, photography, etc.) should seriously consider applying for Prof. Ryan’s 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.
For 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 perhaps 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 the J475 Magazine Publishing class, or as a freelance contributor (stories, photos, or illustrations.) If you are a Journalism pre–major or major interested in participating in Flux, do:
- Read this bulletin thoroughly.
- Get copies of previous issues of Flux and read them carefully; be prepared to discuss strengths, suggestions for improvement, and ideas for articles, photo essays, etc.
- Start thinking about your application packet and story ideas.
- Send an e–mail message — not an application — to Professor Blaine (firstname.lastname@example.org) so your e-mail address will be placed on the preliminary Flux e–mail list.
Please do NOT:
- Submit staff applications after the deadline.
- Submit a freelance story. Instead, if you have an idea, submit a query letter proposal, a one–page synopsis or summary that tells us what the story is (as opposed to what it is about). See the attached Flux call for queries. 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 you submit a freelance story proposal?
A call for query letters and proposals will be issued during winter term. 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 Duniway room. 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. 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. J475 is open to undergraduate and graduate students. You must submit an application for J475 membership (which confers staff status), but freelance contributors need only submit their work.
Job descriptions will be specified by the senior staff during winter term. For now, simply select a category:
- Editorial (issue planning, writing, editing);
- Graphics (photo, design, layout, production);
- Online (editing, designing or otherwise participating in the creation of InFlux);
- Business (budgeting, dealing with the printer, advertising, PR);
- Other (whatever you think you can contribute).
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, such as special skills in research, teamwork, scheduling, copyediting, online experience, etc. Don’t be afraid to apply for more than one area. 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.
Applications should be on paper; do not use e-mail for Flux applications. An application form appears at the end of this bulletin. Direct your applications and all article proposals to Professor Mark Blaine. Leave materials in the Flux mailbox in the Duniway room; 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.
You may include a résumé, letters of recommendation, clips of published articles, examples of your work — anything you think is appropriate. (Please do not ask Professors Ryan or Wheeler for letters of recommendation.) A crucial criterion will be performance in relevant courses.
All applications should be submitted to the Duniway Resource Center, 134 Allen Hall.