Stacked next to copies of the student newspaper in Peirce Hall, the Bookstore and other prime locations around campus is a new glossy magazine featuring a black-and-white cover photo of architect Graham Gund ’63. If it looks like The New York Times Magazine and reads a bit like the Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin, that’s not an accident; the editors used both as inspiration.
Gabe Brison-Trezise ’16 and Henri Gendreau ’16 launched the first issue of The Collegian Magazine in November. “We thought that there needed to be a forum for long-form journalism on campus to take a longer look at some important issues, whether that be more a feature-style profile or investigative pieces,” said Gendreau, an English major with an emphasis in creative writing from Bainbridge Island, Wash. “Our goal was to have a forum for writers and photographers to exhibit their best work.”
Brison-Trezise, a political science major from Thetford, Vt., agrees. “Magazine journalism just provides a great opportunity to explore issues in depth. There are issues at Kenyon that have a lot of depth and nuance to them that we can’t really do justice to in the Collegian.”
Unbeknownst to each other, the two had made independent pitches to the editors of the Collegian last spring to create a magazine. They then were tasked with combining forces to make it happen. “I was a little apprehensive at first because I had my own ideas for it,” Brison-Trezise said. “You have to compromise.”
The biggest disagreement they had was how often they would publish. “I originally envisioned it being more frequent,” Brison-Trezise said. “But Henri, ever the voice of sanity, pointed out that it would take a lot of work to put out more than one a semester.”
In fact, putting out the first issue, which cost about $3,000 to produce, took an enormous effort. They had to procure funds through advertising and the Business and Finance Committee, then recruit students to create content.
“We spent a good deal of time brainstorming,” Brison-Trezise said. “Because we only publish once a semester, we want to make sure the pieces are as compelling as possible.”
Gendreau focused on a profile of Gund, in part because of the recent release of the master plan in which Gund is integrally involved. Brison-Trezise wrote a story on sexual misconduct at Kenyon. They filled the remaining pages of the magazine with lighter topics such as a photo essay on hair and a story about avid crossword puzzlers.
Response to the magazine has been positive, and readers can expect more of the same in the next issue, scheduled to come out in April. However, the editors are looking to “spice up” the content and make it “less predictable.”
But they both agree that true success of the magazine will come from longevity. Brison-Trezise said, “I think what we want is to ensure that it continues as an institution and that it stays viable and good.”