Working with the York Review
Written by: Eva Saville '22
When most students sign up for a class, they expect lectures or maybe a few group projects or essays. They don’t expect the opportunity to run multiple campus publications. In the Publications Management course with Dr. Travis Kurowski, Associate Professor of Creative Writing, that’s exactly what you get.
The Fall 2021 Semester was my first time in the course and my first time working with any type of publication. I’ve taken classes and learned about the publishing process, but never had a direct hand in it myself.
The class worked in three small teams of about four to five students: the print team, the website team, and the rough draft team. The print team worked on the physical version of the magazine, the website team worked with the online publications, and the rough draft team worked on the podcast.
In Fall 2021 I worked on the print team with Professional Writing majors Jonathan “Jon” Lehr ’22, Rylee Presswood ’25, and Literary & Textual Studies major Khiara Moore ’23; though a large amount of the work we completed required the whole class to work together. In Spring 2022, I got the title Editor-in-Chief and worked mainly by myself on finalizing the issue we started the semester before, while also assisting the other teams when they needed my input.
Taking on the task
The process in making the magazine itself seems both complicated and simple at the same time. We needed to solicit submissions from students for the new issue, vote on those submissions as they came in, and start formatting the new issue so it would, hopefully, be completed by the end of the semester. It was not.
In the beginning of the class as we tried to plan out the semester, I thought it would be easy. It seemed like just a few steps. Then I got into working and realized that there are weeks of work in just completing the first step of making posters and announcements for submissions.
We all had a role in the group to make things go as smoothly as possible. Jon was our team leader and he worked mainly on designing Issue 28 and finishing Issue 27 from the previous semester. He also took the lead in class when they voted on submissions. He worked on a lot of in-person promotions by making tables for the York Review in the Iosue Student Union and at the Student Involvement Fair.
Rylee and Khiara worked mainly on social media. Rylee focused on Instagram promotion while Khiara made fantastic TikTok videos. They also stepped up and took on whatever work needed to be done, regardless of what that was.
My main job revolved around the collection and organization of submissions. This was something that seemed simple enough, but ended up being much more complicated than I originally thought. We had the whole class vote on submissions almost every Friday, and we worked with anonymous voting. When collected, the submissions needed to be reviewed, organized, and made anonymous for the rest of the class to read. That job fell to me.
I needed to create a system that kept all submissions anonymous for the rest of the class, but also versions with names so I could keep everything organized for later in the semester when we sent out our decisions about each piece.
In my next semester with new people in the class, I no longer had the same team to work with, and since the class was considerably smaller, my team ended up just being me. This didn’t really end up being an issue because most of the work I was doing was working in InDesign on formatting the magazine and making sure all the details were done to the best of my ability. It was exhausting, and I think for the first three months of the semester all my free time was spent staring at a screen and hoping what I was doing was going to look good.
A learning experience
In Fall 2021 I think I managed my job well over the course of the semester. The only time I felt overwhelmed was closer to the end of our submission deadline when we had about 60 submissions in the course of a week. I needed to organize it all quickly and effectively for the rest of the class.
I had a role that the class really needed me to do well with, because the rest of the work relied on my task. This made me want to work in a way that made things easier for them and gave me a sense of pride whenever they mentioned how easy I made things for everyone.
Spring 2022 was a completely different story. The work I was doing really only affected me and, as a senior graduating at the end of the semester, there was always something I needed to be working on, whether it was the magazine, my senior project, tutoring work for my job in our Writing Center, or some other project; there was always something that needed to be done. Now that the magazine is printed, I can say that even though there are mistakes, I’m proud of what was accomplished and that I even made it through this semester.
While Dr. Kurowski oversees the course, he allows us free time to work. Besides the publishing experience and the idea some tasks are going to take longer than you expect, over the two semesters I took the course, I think Publications Management taught me a lot about personal responsibility and the ability to rely on a team to complete our work.
Building that bond
The course ends up being such a small group of people which, honestly, works well for the class. Everyone always has a part to play, and everyone gets to know each other well enough where you can discuss your thoughts on submissions freely and have intelligent discussions without fear of judgement from those around you.
We also had weeks of discussion about Amish romance literature and days where class time consisted of DMing Robert Downey Jr. on Instagram asking him to sponsor the podcast. No one questions it, that’s just how it goes, and we all enjoy it.
It’s a demanding course. I do think the reward you get in the end is worth it. As someone who wants to work in publishing, the knowledge about the process itself is beneficial, but learning how to really work in a team and the pride that comes from seeing a project you worked on from start to finish in a physical book adds so much more to the experience. So no, Publication Management isn’t a typical lecture-based class, but it teaches you just as much, if not more.
Feel free to reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or questions.