Two new Emerson publications take off

by Beacon Staff • April 11, 2007

How about a lifestyle magazine?

Thanks to students Faye Brennan and Andrea Drygas, the college now has one-em magazine.,Gauge, Stork, The Emerson Review, Gangsters in Concrete, Hyena, The Emerson Conservative, The Urban Pirate, The Berkeley Beacon-is there anything missing among Emerson's roster of on-campus publications?

How about a lifestyle magazine?

Thanks to students Faye Brennan and Andrea Drygas, the college now has one-em magazine.

Last summer, Drygas spent breaks from her retail job reading magazines.

"I thought that it would be really cool to work on a magazine," she said in an e-mail to The Beacon, "but when I got back to Emerson in the fall, I realized that there were no magazines that I wanted to write for."

A friend encouraged Drygas to fill the void. Soon, she was e-mailing everyone she knew and making plans, she said.

As it turns out, Brennan was on the same track.

While at the Castle last semester, a frustrated Brennan decided it was up to her to create an organization catering to her interests.

"We have Gauge and stuff like that, but nothing really for the students who dream of working for Vogue or GQ one day," she said in an e-mail. "I thought of starting my own kind of mainstream magazine, one that would be just like the ones on the newsstands, except it would be all about Emerson."

Once the spring semester started and the two became aware of each other's presence-and of the other's motivation and determination-they were wary of the possible competition.

"We were both incredibly threatened by each other at first, each scared that the other was trying to hijack the idea," Drygas said. But the enterprising sophomore writing, literature and publishing majors were able to work through their initial reservations and get down to business.

It took only six weeks from the first collaborative planning meeting in mid-January for em magazine to launch. Since the magazine's March 1 debut, it's been coming out with new material about every three weeks.

Already on its third issue, and with a fourth on the horizon, em magazine is making a name for itself on campus. Freshman Laura Westman, a theatre studies major, said she's become a fan of the publication.

"It's really interesting," she said. "I don't have to pay for it, and it's written by people I know."

Each issue includes a theme, Previous ones include virginity and music and May's planned theme is spring fling. There are also five permanent sections: Entertainment, Emerson, Relationships, Looks and Features, covering interests such as fashion, movies and sex.

The magazine's Web site currently displays a cover page, with Emerson student Alessandro Miranda as the featured model. Brennan and Drygas explained this is a publication meant for Emerson College students, so, naturally, all the models will be from the school.

Before the first issue of the online publication came out, Brennan and Drygas had more than 20 students actively involved in the organization-writing stories, taking pictures and getting it all up on the Web.

Two issues later, the staff has grown to 85 students, while the magazine's Web site has hosted more than 2,000 visitors and is growing in popularity, according to the editors. The Web site had 652 different visitors during the first five days the April issue came out.

Drygas and Brennan are already running a much tighter organization than they were a few months ago, they said.

"The way we do things is basically like, 'I hope this works,' and when it doesn't, we adjust," Drygas said. They are stricter about deadlines and have adopted a formal proposal process for articles, though they will occasionally provide story ideas to their staff.

Brennan and Drygas said they are also always looking for new members.

"We need all the input and student involvement we can get to make this magazine as well-rounded and student-involved as necessary," Brennan said.

Despite em magazine's success, Brennan and Drygas are having a hard time finding official recognition from the Student Government Association (SGA). According to the SGA, every student organization has to be effective for at least two semesters before it can get any funding or support from the school.

"We're just going to keep producing a great issue each month and hopefully we'll get [recognition] next semester," Brennan said. "I mean, there has to be a reason tour groups are already hearing about em magazine when they're on campus, and we just really want to be officially recognized by the college so we can continue improving our organization."

Brennan and Drygas said they are staying positive and will keep on working. They hope to eventually expand em magazine into print, but until they have been granted SGA recognition or are able to raise funds on their own, the publication will remain in its current online format.

"My main goal for the organization is to have it be one of the main staples of Emerson College, the way The Beacon brings people to this college, like Denis Leary's comedy troupe still brings people here," Brennan said. "That's got to be an amazing feeling."

For a fresh update on what's going on around Emerson College, check out emmagonline.com.