In the spring of 2020, nine students in Union’s Magazine Writing class wrote the feature articles for the May 2020 issue of Outlook magazine, a publication of the Mid-America Seventh-day Adventist Church with a circulation of more than 30,000. The project has become an annual tradition for the class taught by Lori Peckham, herself an editor whose experience includes managing both Insight and Women of Spirit.
The issue celebrated a 25-year relationship that began in 1995 when then-communication professor Chris Blake asked the publication if his class could produce an issue every other year. Editor Roger Morton agreed, and the project has become a valuable learning tool for communication majors ever since.
“This project gives our students the unique opportunity of working with an editorial team at every step of publishing, including brainstorming article ideas and writing approaches, as well as revising after receiving one-on-one feedback on their drafts,” said Peckham. “At the end of the project we have a publishing party at which the students receive their printed copies and a check. They are now published (and paid) authors, with real-world experience and material for their portfolio.”
Over the years both the magazine and the class has changed—including transitioning from Magazine Editing class to Magazine Writing and the class writing for an issue every year instead of every other year.
Peckham continues to be grateful for the student experience. “We are blessed that Brenda Dickerson and the Outlook team give our students this opportunity each year,” she said. “They are excellent at coaching students through the editorial process and helping them celebrate their accomplishment.”
Read a brief history of the Outlook partnership by Cody Hagen, an international relations major and Ramsey Mesnard, a graphic design major, both from Nebraska.
The issue explores a variety of themes connected with building a stronger relationship with God.
- “Kindness Saves a Life” by Lacey Stecker, a communication major from Indiana
- “Why Am I an Adventist?” by Juliet Bromme, a communication major from Florida
- “Distinguishing Our Desires from God’s” by Gabrielle Nappi, a junior English major from Mississippi
- “Taking Time for Teenagers” by Ashley Bower, a May 2020 English language arts education graduate from North Dakota
- “Can Addictions Stop God from Loving Us?” by Diana Celaya, a computing major from Texas
- “Terrified of You” by Maria Kercher, a public relations major from Nebraska
- “A Long Walk to Cheer” by Sunday Koung, a communication major from Nebraska
The students in the class are required to submit their writing to at least three publications, and all nine students this year received acceptances from other publications. Ashley Bower’s article about white privilege, entitled “It’s My Dream Too,” was purchased by Message magazine. Lacey Stecker, Maria Kercher, and Diana Celaya will have devotionals published in the 2022 North American Division women’s devotional book.
Eight of the students had stories bought by Guide editor Lori Futcher, who spent a week on campus speaking to classes and mentoring student writers. When she received the students’ final drafts, she responded in an email to Peckham: “Your students are making me very happy today. . . . They have learned what I consider to be the most important thing I learned in Magazine and Feature Article Writing: how to use critique to make your work better!”