Quarterlife (also known as Whitman’s littlest literary magazine) and Blue Moon are having to adapt differently to the new circumstances of online classes, changing both the ways in which they employ student workers and the material they’re producing.
When the campus was originally shut down back in March, the two organizations struggled to find a way to incorporate their physical product into online schooling. Quarterlife, which releases two issues each semester, was never able to distribute their final issue. The same is true for Blue Moon, which releases one edition annually.
Quarterlife normally works through student submission. In previous years, students have submitted poetry, paintings and other creative works, which were then printed into physical zines that were distributed around campus.
Now, many of these operations have been ground to a halt or forced to change dramatically due to Whitman’s move online. In lieu of a physical printing this semester, Quarterlife plans to upload new material to a website, including last semester’s back-issue, which will be uploaded in the near future.
Although this change may be a disappointment to fans of physical media, it allows Quarterlife to take advantage of the new digital format. For the first time, the zine will be accepting a much wider range of media, including audio and video.
Last year’s issue was originally planned to be themed as the “Sun Room Issue”, but was renamed to the more apt “Quarantine Issue.” Though the theme for Quarterlife’s next issue has yet to be released, Co-editor in Chief Anna Johnson says it’s likely to be influenced by the realities of the pandemic:
“We’re hoping to tap into the things that we’re all universally experiencing,” said Johnson.
Quarterlife’s short form, multi-release format allows for interesting possibilities. Blue Moon, on the other hand, hasn’t had to change very much in the short term.
“We’re very lucky, in that Blue Moon typically has a lot of our load and our work in the second semester… The big thing that’s changed this semester, is that this when our staff would get to know each other,” said Blue Moon Co-editor-in-Chief, sophomore Lauren Olson.
For the most part, the editors of Blue Moon are expecting classes to return in-person next semester, and still plan on releasing their issue as they have in the past. However, things would get a lot more complicated for the magazine if classes were to remain online for another semester.
“If it does go online (all of that) is gonna need to be thought out a lot more than just converting to Zoom…” said Blue Moon’s other Co-editor-in Chief-Hayden Cooper, a senior English major. He placed emphasis on the difficulty of creating a digital space to hold the staff training that is necessary for large publications like this.
Although the issue is planned to remain in print, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t adapting to the new realities of digital media. In fact, Blue Moon has been accepting alternative forms of media for the last couple of issues and has had a website for several years. Digital media has been becoming increasingly important in publications of all kinds, and quarantine has only accelerated this trend.
Hayden Cooper is an illustrator for the Wire.